Product development phases
The concept study “Watchman” was created as a fictitious, manufacturer-independent project to illustrate a typical process of new product development at Use-Lab. The process was exemplified by the new development of a patient monitor.
The first phase of the user-centered design process included studying literature and expert reviews, as well as analyzing competing devices on a matrix of flexibility in design and compact form. In order to define the use environment and the corresponding user groups, we visited a hospital and performed a contextual inquiry. This also allowed us to elicit requirements and wishes of typical potential users.
In the subsequent conception phase, the analysis results and user requirements were realized in an initial design. During this phase we had to take a close look at various technical and ergonomic aspects before implementing them and ask ourselves several questions. These included things like: Do users need a holder for the operating table? Can they read the screen from their regular working position? Is the technical implementation of a plug-in system of individual modules possible? What safety measures and comfort functions can we implement?
To evaluate the design, we invited our defined user group to work with the resulting low-fidelity prototypes thus integrating our target audience into the iterative design process.
Before moving on to the final product, we created elaborate, realistic visualizations of the designs and interactions. Experts and end users evaluated these visualizations in terms of safety, usability and, of course, aesthetics and perceived usefulness. Such visualizations can be reproduced in the 3D printer as high-fidelity prototypes in order to record the first hands-on experiences of potential end users.
A summative usability evaluation was the last step of the user-centered design process. This was carried out entirely by Use-Lab, from the creation of the test protocol, through the recruitment, execution and evaluation of the test session, to the final documentation.
The evaluation confirmed that an effective and safe product had been developed that would meet the expectations of the users and could be integrated into the hospital use environment.