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Usability analysis: Six quick and dirty user-focused design methods resulting in better user satisfaction and cost savings

Thursday, October 11, 2012 — Poster Session IV

2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Natcher Conference Center, Building 45




  • S. M. Ward
  • D. A. Bennett
  • L. R. Long
  • G. R. Thoma


As part of its mission, the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications (LHNCBC), a research and development division of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), develops and supports a number of information systems. We have implemented several methods to engineer usability into our projects, to ensure that our development efforts meet the actual needs of users, and to realize cost savings during the development process. These include: 1) establishing a low cost, portable usability lab, 2) low-fidelity ad-hoc prototyping, 3) involving user advocates early in the design process, 4) no-cost participant recruiting methods, 5) tactical outreach to target audiences, and 6) observing actual use by the development team. These techniques have helped us gain insight into the needs of our users, reduce development costs, avoid the implementation of unnecessary features and functions, expedite design decisions, and increase usage and user satisfaction. We may be contacted for additional information or to discuss potential projects at:

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