“Challenges and Paradoxes of Human Factors in Health Technology Design”

March 1, 2016

Usability testing is a powerful tool for health technology design, allowing human factors professionals to gain a robust understanding of how final users of their product actually interact with the technology. Still, some challenges and paradoxes may limit the benefits of usability testing if not properly considered in the design process.

In a recent publication in the JMIR Journal of Human Factors, Drs. Morita and Cafazzo discuss the effects of the Paradox of Expertise, Paradox of Preference versus Performance, and the Paradox of Choice on the design of health technology.

“Usability testing allows human factors professionals to identify and mitigate issues with the design and use of medical technology. The test results, however, can be paradoxical and therefore be misinterpreted, limiting their usefulness. The paradoxical findings can lead to products that are not aligned with the needs and constraints of their users.”, Drs. Morita and Cafazzo explain.

In order to achieve a successful design, “…engineers and manufacturers must incorporate a gamut of [user-centered design] methods in the design process to gain a comprehensive and realistic understanding of the work domain and user constraints.” Only then will medical technology successfully target users needs and minimize the load on the users.