Given the impact optimal usability can have on medical devices, intragenic errors and patient safety, this research may increase uptake of Connected Health devices within Healthy Communities. It may influence health and innovation policy. It relates to Sustainability (Digital Futures) where technology has the potential to shape future standards.
The usability of a device is of vital importance. Usability is a significant predictor for determining the uptake or adoption of a device or software application amongst its target user population . Sub optimal usability is the main reason why several technologies have not been widely adopted in the past. In medical settings, clinician-friendliness of devices are imperative given counter intuitive machine interfaces can have a fatal impact on patient lives and indeed healthcare staff. For this reason, the FDA, MHRA and other regulatory bodies have put in place statutory mechanisms that enforce medical device manufactures to validate the usability of their devices before they are introduced into routine healthcare. However, the current standard usability testing protocols, which are empirical, use self-rated Likert and semantic differential scales which are presented in the form of subjective qualitative surveys and given to a small sample of users.
To review state of the art usability testing protocols and current usability standards.
To compare subjective and objective metrics as well as quantitative and qualitative approaches to user research.
To propose a new methodology for capturing and quantifying the user experience.
To trial this new methodology to record data from a population of users.
Utilize the data collected to develop new statistical models of which the industry can adopt to objectively quantify the usability of devices in disciplines such as medical device manufacturing, aviation, web design, games design and mobile computing.
This PhD proposal will look to define metrics that best discriminate between good and bad user experiences. This may also involve an evaluation of including objective psyho-physiological measurements (biometrics) derived from wearable sensors and eye tracking metrics that perhaps can be used to capture a more complete picture of the user’s experience and satisfaction level when interacting with a device or software application. The PhD researcher can then use their proposed method to acquire data from a range of users to assess changes/improvements in individual performance, building statistical models and probability distributions. These new models informing international guidelines development for objective quantification of device usability. This may have a significant impact on international usability standards and policies. Working partly in a Living-Lab setting which is a real test bed and an experimentation environment where users and producers can co-create innovations. The living lab allows for different innovation methods, such as user evaluation, to be applied in collaboration with various stakeholders to find and evaluate new solutions.
The supervisors have significant experience in New Product Development (Magee), usability testing (Bond, Boyd, Magee), training on medical devices (Magee, Bond) and design thinking methodologies (Boyd, Magee).
If the University receives a large number of applicants for the project, the following desirable criteria may be applied to shortlist applicants for interview.
The University offers the following awards to support PhD study and applications are invited from UK, EU and overseas for the following levels of support:
Full award (full-time PhD fees + DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).
This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £15,000 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.
Part award (full-time PhD fees + 50% DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).
This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £7,500 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.
Fees only award (PhD fees + RTSG for 3 years).
This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.
The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £ 15,009 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fee’s component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided). For Non-EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK. This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.
Due consideration should be given to financing your studies; for further information on cost of living etc. please refer to: www.ulster.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/postgraduate-research/fees-and-funding/financing-your-studies
The PhD training programme and regular supervision contacts have provided the direction and support necessary to ensure that I deliver a quality thesis in a timely manner.I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience of working at Ulster University and feel it has put me in a better position to sustain a full time career as an artist and academic in the years to come.
Friday 7 February 2020
Either week commencing 9 or 16 March 2020
At the centre of the civic evolution in Belfast
When applying for this PhD opportunity please quote reference number: