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Nurses perceptions of a user friendly interface

posted on 31.01.2017, 00:03 by Alshafai, Fatimah
Introduction: The successful implementation of clinical information systems depends to a large extent on its usability. Usability can be achieved by a strong focus on interface quality. With a focus on improving the quality of patient care, growing numbers of clinical information systems have been advertised as being "user-friendly". However, the term "user-friendly" may not be quite accurate and in some circumstances could be misleading. Within a clinical setting, an interface designed as easy to use could be difficult to use, disappointing and time consuming for health professionals. Reviewed literature did not provide sufficient answers for how nurses describe an easy to use interface, therefore this study sought to explore nurses' perceptions about user-friendliness features in end-user interfaces and provide designers with some guidelines when designing end-user interfaces for nurses. In order to utilise clinical information systems to their greatest capacity, usability issues should be addressed by designers and also users and in their own terms to help discover the drawbacks encountered when trying to use these systems. Besides drawbacks, it is equally important to emphasise end-user interface features that users value to help guide systems designers in clinical information systems design processes. This research aimed to identify and categorise the characteristics that make end-user interface easy to use as perceived by nurses. The research question was: what are the most important features in the end-user interface that make it user-friendly. Research Method: A quantitative descriptive design was utilised to identify the characteristics of "user-friendly' end-user interfaces as perceived by nurse users at Saudi Aramco Medical Services Organisation (SAMSO) in Saudi Arabia. Data were collected via anonymous questionnaire that was emailed by the nursing informatics department at SAMSO to all nurses in clinical and administrative roles and the total number of nurses was 1096. A total of 370 responses were received, resulting in a net response rate of 33.8 %. The data was collected during a period of eight weeks from June 18th 2013 until August 20th 2013. Results: The findings of this study indicated that the most important factor in end-user interface design for nurses was usefulness of the end-user interface followed by ease of use, then interface flexibility and lastly, visual designs. Among the features of end-user interfaces, saving time for patient care, was the feature that nurses reported they appreciated the most (74.5% ), followed by enhancement of work efficiency (72.6% ). The study found that nurses believed that end-user interfaces must be designed to enhance communication between different health disciplines e.g. the use of one integrated end-user interface for all health professionals. The study results highlight deficits within the clinical information systems and the end-user interfaces. Common areas of dissatisfaction with the clinical information systems were: non-intuitiveness, time-consuming, redundancy, complicated accessibility, rigidity, irrelevance, lack of meaningful use of information, and deficiency of efficient and reliable search tools. Conclusion: The study identifies features of a user-friendly interface as perceived by nurses and user engagement is recommended in design, implementation and post implementation. The characteristics of user-friendly interfaces identified in this study should be prioritised when designing end-user interfaces for nurses and the characteristics of the users themselves should also be considered. The study recommends the use of identified characteristics as an evaluation tool to help evaluate the clinical information systems either prior to system purchase or as a baseline to redesign of an existing end-user interface.


Principal supervisor

Virginia Plummer

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Nursing and Midwifery

Campus location



Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences