Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Using "USEtool": Usability Evaluation Method for Quality Architecture In-Use

Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Using "USEtool": Usability Evaluation Method for Quality Architecture In-Use

Article excerpt


The main priority of Malaysian healthcare design quality is to organize an informational domain of a patient-oriented care design by patient experience to usable environment. The usability evaluation is an appropriate qualitative research design dealing with a process concerning the understanding of the user and context of use. This paper provides strategies for evaluating quality architecture in use from user experience and approaches for analyses of applicable qualitative data. Case studies have been conducted to explore the usability of three replacement hospitals in Peninsular Malaysia using "USEtool" evaluation method introduced by Hansen, Blakstad, and Knudsen (2011). It is a five-stage evaluation process focusing on the following questions: for what, what, where and whom, why, and lastly, the final report as an action plan and input for the improvement of a building quality environment design in use. The process of data analysis is based on thematic analysis principles using NVivo 9. The findings indicate that (1) the quality of care is the positive users' experience feedback on the usability of physical environment design that fulfils their needs and expectations, (2) there is a strong relationship between the usability physical environment criteria and overall patient satisfaction, and (3) the usability evaluation is useful for benchmarking and creating comparative databases, which optimally accommodates the needs of users and acts as a learning feature for improving the existing or future design.

Keywords: healthcare physical environment, qualitative method, thematic analysis, usability evaluation method

1. Introduction

1.1 Usability of Healthcare Design

Hospital is a complex design and its purpose is a value to design quality, which is to satisfy users on their positive experience by meeting their needs and expectations either by physical or psychological (Dilani, 2010; Lee, 2011; Bishop, 2008; Ulrich et al., 2004; Harón, Hamid & Talib, 2012). Moreover, its facility interrelates with functions that must accommodate the constant movement of people with physical ability and ease of use. Those factors are the main driver and reflection of effectiveness, efficiency of service delivery as well as contribute to patient health outcomes (Lee, 2011). Therefore, the planning and design of hospitals need to focus on creating spaces and environment for human-based facilities (Nawawi, 2006; Mohamad, 2010). However, in the local context, according to Aripin (2010) most of the surveys are related to the quality or value of healthcare design using Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE), which has been carried out not noticeably on the patients, staff and visitors but more on the building equipment and services. In addition, feedback from the interview with the medical planner from the pilot study shows that POE will be carried out after they get a complaint from a client (hospital) or end user (occupant) if the facilities do not function properly. In contrast, usability is an extension and improvement of POE but emphasizes on the user experience and perspective, and the main criteria in evaluating the ability of design measured based on their own experience (Alexander, 2008).

1.2 Usability Concept and Evaluation in Built Environment

The study of usability emerged from a diverse field and based on some views it was first developed in the 1950s in Human Computer Interaction and is widely known in relation to applications within User Centred Design (UCD), Usability Engineering (UE) and user experience (UX), and associated with the friendliness criteria (Fenker, 2008; Gulliksen, 2006). The usability research in built environment is associated with the International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB) Task Group 51 ?Usability of Buildings 2005?, Workshop Will - ?Usability of Workplaces 2-2008? and ?Usability of Workplaces 3-2010?.

The CIB group is established to apply usability concepts and provide a better understanding of the user experience in buildings and workplaces. …

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