Regulators and developers from across the EU, the Middle East and Baltic countries gathered together at the Autumn 2015 Medical Device School, in London. In just 50 minutes, in addition to exposing the fundamental importance of Human Factors, I outlined the key steps they are expected to take along the development journey. Concluding with a Q and A segment, attendees commented:
“For me, one of the most important sessions of the school”
“I particularly liked that human factors was covered in detail”
For the April 2016 session of the School, the organisers asked me to include two sessions. Delegate feedback about the whole Autumn school asked for more interactive elements, so my second session would give them practical experience of several of the key steps along their usability journey. With that in mind, we would focus on something that everyone would be familiar with and allowed them to get to grips with applying concepts immediately.
As before, my first session started by explaining why Human Factors is important, before moving on to share what is involved in a good Usability programme for device development. Thought provoking images underlined steps on the journey, interwoven with stories gathered from experiences in the field. At the climax of an account of one usability study, you could feel the collective wince as I described a patient’s long term practice with Type A needles (which are supposed to be single use). To finish, participants attained an insight into how all of this fits together with other paths in development.
“Great insight into the detail involved and how I can get started”
“Brilliant and easy to talk to. Really good interactive activities”
A quick leg stretch and freshening of coffee mugs later, we dived straight into putting this newfound approach to work. Over the course of three group activities, the room was plunged into the world of making a cup of tea. Sounds straightforward? It was. Until, that is, they became exposed to the challenges faced by someone with impaired vision and arthritis, walking a while in their shoes. How difficult it became to perform an everyday task!
“A great way to get inside the heads of our users and understand things from their point of view”
“Workshops were very energetic and welcomed”
“Excellent, very well paced, good practical demonstrations”
This newfound sense of place enabled them to work on defining User Needs and extending that knowledge towards risk analysis, teasing out some of the less obvious use related risks. When it came to ideas for ways to mitigate these problems, creativity and appreciation for a different view of the world resulted in some unusual solutions.
The conversation continued over lunch. Delegates were talking about how they could use what they’d just learned when they got back to the work environment.
“I’d like to steal your first workshop, because it’ll explain to our teams why and how we can think like the people we’re making it for”
“I got a better understanding of how to apply this to manage my risks”
“I know now what we should be doing, and who to call for expert help”
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