An amusing short film illustrating the importance of user-centred design – important for patient safety too

A few weeks ago colleagues at the UCL Interaction Centre were invited to attend a viewing of some short films created by students taking UCL’s MSc course in Human-Computer Interaction with Ergonomics.

The students had been given a brief, in their first week on the course, to create a short video aimed at a school-age audience and the class was reporting back, sharing their films and picking a winner. All the films were nicely put together, impressive given the three day time limit, but this film ‘Why buttons go bad’ was outstanding.

In under two minutes the film-makers (Lucy Hughes, Alistair Wood, Jesper Garde, Tianbo Xu and Philipp Hund) humorously conveyed the need for engineers and designers to consider the end-user when creating a new product – succinctly answering the question ‘what is human-computer interaction (HCI)?’. You can read more about the film here.

A consideration of HCI is important whenever someone needs to interact with a machine, and CHI+MED is particularly interested in how this can best be achieved in a medical setting, for example with infusion pumps delivering chemotherapy. How can improved design make medical devices safer? An illustrative example of the kind of problem that CHI+MED is seeking to address can be found here.


The National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) has produced ‘a guide to the design of electronic infusion devices‘. Good examples of potential problems and suggested solutions can be found on page 18 (p26 of the 96 page PDF) which looks at numeric input keypads, and pages 49-73 (51-76) which consider the software design underpinning the use of infusion devices

Patient Safety Week – 15-21 November 2010
The NPSA and Patient Safety First are hosting a series of free interactive webinars on a variety of patient safety topics. See also Patient Safety First’s ‘How to’ guide on ‘Implementing Human Factors in Healthcare‘.


Further reading

  • CHI+MED has its own ‘chimedsafety‘ YouTube channel where you can view our own videos as well as those we’ve bookmarked.
  • Find out more about the CHI+MED project.
This entry was posted in CHI+MED people, videos and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s