Competition wins for CHI+MED’s “Microwave racing” video
Developed as part of CHI+MED’s public engagement work Dr Dominic Furniss’ popular “Microwave racing” video shown below won ‘Best Thought Piece’ at CHI2011’s video showcase event and has won joint third place in the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) “What is Human Factors?” YouTube video contest.
This video has been used in a variety of ways to inform people about human factors issues, whilst entertaining them. Dominic has used it with colleagues at UCL to teach graduate students about human-computer interaction. It has also been used in school outreach programmes by scientists from Queen Mary’s cs4fn (Computer Science for Fun) project, and appears on their website.
This video also featured in an earlier blogpost: How easy is it to enter the right numbers on a syringe pump? (22 December 2010).
The race is loosely based on a mock example of usability testing, a method commonly used in HCI (human-computer interaction) to evaluate devices, software or websites. Using four examples of an everyday device – the microwave oven – users are asked to do the same task. How easily they’ll be able to do this depends on how well the device has been designed. Usability testing gets people to use the devices so that the designers can find any problems with their interaction. The design of any machine or device is a crucial factor in determining whether or not it’s easy to use, but the end-user (the human factor) has to be taken into consideration early on in the design, planning and testing rather than just at the end.
Dominic’s video has a serious message – what if the user is a nurse and the machine is a chemotherapy pump? These are complex pieces of equipment, made by different manufacturers with different sets of instructions, that are used under stressful conditions by busy people caring for many patients. If you press the wrong button on your microwave you get cold food. If you press the wrong button on a chemotherapy pump you could kill or harm your patient.
How can the design of these pumps, and other interactive medical devices, reduce the likelihood of an error occurring and even help to block errors that are made in use? This is what the CHI+MED project is finding out – you can discover more on our website about our project and the different types of research (psychology, computer science, human factors) that are involved.
Photo credit: CHI2011. Dr Dominic Furniss (right) receiving his award for ‘Best thought piece’ at CHI2011’s video showcase event.
HFES YouTube contest
This is part of HFES’ outreach programme to raise awareness of the importance of human factors in design: “Since the founding of our profession, we have discussed, debated, and lamented the fact that many people are unaware of, do not understand, and/or do not appreciate the human factors/ergonomics profession, not to mention those who practice it.”
CHI2011 video showcase
“The videos track is a forum for human-computer interaction that leaps off the page: vision videos, reflective pieces, humor, novel interfaces, studies, and anything else that is a good match for the moving image and relevant to HCI.”
- Video resources for schools
CHI+MED has a YouTube channel and we’ve featured some of our videos on our website with some background information on how these videos can be used in school ICT (Information and Communication Technology) classes to demonstrate aspects of computer science and interactive design.
- CHI+MED – about our work
Our work is multidisciplinary drawing on understanding from device design, human cognition, the situations in which interactive medical devices are used, and how we can best engage with the different people involved in order to increase patient safety (device designers, nurses, patients, the people who buy the devices for the NHS to use, regulatory authorities etc.)