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Stories & Snapshots

‘True Usability Is Invisible’: Epic Celebrates World Usability Day

World Usability Day sessions encourage Epic staff to design intuitive software

World Usability Day, observed annually on November 14th, highlights the importance of creating services and products that are simple to access and use. This year, the global theme was “Design for the Future We Want.” Keeping this topic in mind, Epic held its 8th annual World Usability Day event, with sessions focused on how design impacts users’ experiences and how each person on a project team is responsible for usability.

This year’s keynote speaker was Dr. Joyce Lee, “Doctor as Designer,” a physician, designer, and researcher at the University of Michigan. As an Epic physician builder, Lee shared her insight on how Epic can improve physician workflows and health outcomes. She explained the importance of designing software that intuitively guides users toward doing the right thing.

“True usability is invisible,” Lee said. “It fades into the background. The advent of the EHR means that we can apply what we learn from research to clinical practice much more quickly, but we need to do so in a way that’s intuitive and clear for clinicians.”

The importance of design choices and their effects on users was prevalent throughout sessions. For example, a session titled “Designing Our Ripple Effects” discussed how to better foresee and understand the impacts of a design before it is released, and then redesign using this new knowledge to achieve the desired impact. The session “KO’d by Kindness” explored strategies for improving end user understanding and conveying constructive criticism to create better user experiences.

“At Epic, we aim to celebrate what we’ve done so far to create good user experiences while learning what we can all do to continue to improve,” said Natsuko Suzuki, the Epic user experience designer who coordinated the event. “Our software should be a tool that keeps the patient at the heart. By making our products simple to use, we try to help our users focus on caring for their patients.”