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Background on Usability Testing

Usability Studies / Usability Testing involves watching users interact with a prototype or tool. This is a type of qualitative user testing.

Qualitative User Testing is based on observations of a small group of participants. The goal is to identify frequently recurrent, major problems, with the user interface and improve these.

Whenever feasible and practical, prospective user interface designs for OpenMRS should undergo usability testing. It is also advised that production code regularly (e.g. monthly) undergoes usability testing so that it can continuously be improved.

Observation is more objective than inquiry. The key part to reliable usability testing is to observe how a user acts. It is more objective to watch how a user acts, than to ask what a user things. Quite often how someone thinks, and how they act are different.

Let's learn how they act. This is done by usability tasks.

Test real wold scenarios: Task based user testing asks the user to perform real-world tasks using your prototype. Such as

  • Register a patient
  • Order Metoprolol 100mg PO BID"
  • Review last week's labs

Task based usability testing will reveal where in a task a single user gets stuck, and which parts they find easy.

By testing the same task with 3-5 users its becomes very apparent what the major usability problems are that should be fixed.

Once these are fixed, test the new prototype on 3-5 new users, until major problems are avoided.


Getting Started

Setting up a UX Testing Lab

See this article to get started.

Finding test users

See this document for further details.

Two Scripts to choose from

There are two usability testing scripts available.

The Full Length Guide, is designed for formal usability tests. The user may test a large feature or several features at once. Such a test may take 10 to 60 minutes.

The Abbreviated Guide, is designed for conducting very quick usability tests. This is helpful when working with a busy clinician in clinic and we need to test a single or small feature. Such a test may take 2 minutes to 10 minutes.

Consent & Recording Release Form

Please complete the consent & recording release form for each participant. 

These should be stored on site.

Upload & review completed usability studies

To be discussed in more detail over Slack / e-mail.

Advise from the field

Read and share insights from people who have done this before



Links & Resources

See the OpenMRS Wiki Usability Testing Links & Resources page for all resources.

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