Tuesday, December 15, 2009

User interfaces and online personal healthcare record web sites

I have been experimenting with the main online electronic personal medical records web sites. Mostly with Microsoft and Google's offerings. I have found both to be 'works in progress'. Microsoft's HealthVault is on the top of my list right now and the most mature and useable by normal, non-techies.

That said, the HealthVault product received a BIG negative rating mark from me today. I went into the site to add some blood pressure values and found that without notice they had modified their Silverlight based blood pressure data entry widget. I have no idea of all of the changes they made, right away just looking at the GUI you could sense a subtle change in the look. But the negative mark is give for transposing the SAVE and CANCEL button location! What DUMB move to make. It shows me that these developers still do not understand the human aspect of the user interfaces they develop and the profound changes that a change like this in a medical application could have.

On this day of the first flight of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, I can only think of the heads that would roll if a SAVE and CANCEL button were reversed on the flight deck before first flight!

A lot of work and education needs to be done in order to get electronic medical records moving forward successfully.

I have followed Microsoft's work on HealthVault for almost a year now, they are working hard to make a good product. So want to be positive and give them a lot of 'that a boys [and girls]'. But this change today is a example of the experience they need to gain.

I have using this data entry widget on a daily basis for six months now, and noticed when they converted from Adobe Flash tool to Microsoft's Sliverlight. That change, in itself, showed the same lack of experience in code updates and the effect on the application's user. They are still catching up to the speed of operation of the Flash based widget.

I am very sure that in the picture below, the two buttons shown are transposed from were they were located yesterday.


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