Author Archives: Theo Mandel

Continued Usability Problems in Patient-Doctor Communication

Yet another stumbling block in the ongoing struggle to build Electronic Medical Records (EMRs), Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and the effort to improve patient-doctor communication – people don’t know their own anatomy!! A study of patients and members of the public has shown that most lack even basic knowledge of human anatomy. The research, featuredContinue Reading

Tufts Summer Institute on Web Strategies for Health Communication

An interesting course on healthcare web strategies and usability. For more information, contact: Lisa Neal Gualtieri, Ph.D. Adjunct Clinical Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine Blog on health: Editor-in-Chief, eLearn Magazine, Blog on education: Phone: 781-861-7373 Email: Enroll in the Tufts Summer Institute on Web Strategies for Health Communication,, toContinue Reading

Research Paper – Real or Imaginary: The effectiveness of using personas in product design

Good academic article on using personas in product design View Article

The Future of Doctor-Patient Interaction in Healthcare

Interesting video on YouTube of Microsoft Surface and the healthcare application Amalga. “Captured at HIMSS09, one of the core developers for Microsoft Amalga walks through the application. The health care industry has a complete aspect of new technologies and processes to see in the future. The PHR product Microsoft HealthVault is also featured.” As aContinue Reading

National Healthcare Initiative and Usability

Big Challenges Await Health Records Transition David Blumenthal (the new National Coordinator for Health IT) and Mark Leavitt (the chair of their certification commission) are suggesting in the Wall Street Journal (4/22/2009) that user experience be included in the certification criteria for electronic health records (EHRs) that will be eligible for $17 billion in federalContinue Reading

What makes a “User Experience expert”?

Good summary of what is a “User Experience” expert. Read the follow-up comments and posts your own comments.

A Pop-Up Ad That

A Pop-Up Ad That

Solution, or Mess? A Milk Jug for a Green Earth

Who says you can’t improve on years of well-established tradition? Wal-Mart and Costco have adopted a new gallon-sized milk container that looks to save the companies lots of money. However, there may be some usability issues they’ve overlooked! A New York Times article describes the following impressive improvements in business metrics: * 180% higher utilizationContinue Reading

T-Mobile Designs More Usable Phone Bills!

“Historically phone bills have been as bland as a tin of condensed soup but T-Mobile saw an opportunity to make its bills more valuable as a regular interface between its brand and its customers.” Good article about improving the readability and usability of one of those things we take for granted as being difficult-to-use –Continue Reading

The Employable Web Designer

Nice article from Andy Rutledge, titled “The Employable Web Designer. He describes the necessary skills and traits for a successful career in Web design. The article briefly addresses usability, but at least they are included as necessary skills: Usability & Affordance

Psychology: The Crowd Within

“A battle of ideas is going on inside your mind” From the, an interesting article about problem solving behavior” “Until now, psychologists have assumed that when people make a guess, they make the most accurate guess that they can. Ask them to make a second and it should, by definition, be less accurate. IfContinue Reading

UW Medical Center using surgical checklist to improve safety

Good article on the use of checklists in healthcare to reduce errors during surgery. Here’s a taste: Wednesday, WHO officials said preliminary results show the checklist nearly doubled patients’ chances of receiving proven standards of surgical care and substantially reduced complications and deaths. “It seems totally obvious,” Flum says. “They’ve been doing this in aviationContinue Reading

What the Internet is doing to our brains: Is Google Making Us Stupid?

Good historical article on how technology changes our lives and how we work. Very informative story about Friedrich Nietzsche, who bought a typewriter in 1882, and the changes that came about in his writing style as a result of using this new technology. Similarly, the author, Nicholas Carr, discusses how Internet technology, such as Google,Continue Reading

Lazy Eyes: How we read online

Fun, somewhat tongue-in-cheek article about reading/browsing online vs. paper. He uses Jakob Nielsen’s writings as examples and goes from there. Worth a read on Slate (Aricle by Michael Agger).

Dealing with Too Much Technology!

Good article in the NY Times about how technology companies are starting to deal with the loss of productivity from too much technology – e-mail, cellphones and instant messaging – being the biggest distractions. Some of the biggest technology firms, including Microsoft, Intel, Google and IBM, are banding together to fight information overload. Last weekContinue Reading

User Experience and the Elderly

Sometimes you have to protect users from themselves so they do no harm. Here’s a real-world example of creating a faux user experience that helps users remain safe and at home. Here’s an example: There’s a bus stop located outside the Benrath Senior Centre in Dusseldorf. People occasionally walk up to the stop and standContinue Reading

101 Five-Minute Fixes to Incrementally Improve Your Web Site

More advice about improving the design and usability of your website. Major categories include: Copywriting Usability Search Engine Optimization Accessibility Design Legal View the article

12 steps to stellar software design

Practitioners can always use good advice. David Crow, usability adviser at Microsoft Canada, and Jay Goldman, president of Radiant Core in Toronto, speaking at the Free Software and Open Source Symposium at Seneca College in Toronto last month, offered a 12-step program for getting back on track, along with some recommended reading. View the article

Continental Airlines Turns Mobile Phones Into Boarding Passes

More new technology ideas to improve real-world usability! Road-weary travelers (and everyone traveling these days) no longer enjoy the air travel experience. Companies must diligently look for new ways to use technology to improve the user experience of their common tasks. This may be one of those new ideas. View the article

Starbucks customers stampede website – Be Careful What You Ask For!

Hundreds of coffee-obsessed consumers chimed in moments after Starbucks launched a Web site asking customers to pitch changes the company should make to revive its struggling US business. Be careful what you ask for – You may get overwhelmed by incoming traffic. Or, it may turn out to be a great marketing idea! View theContinue Reading