University Hospital of Lille - EVALAB

EVALAB is a usability lab devoted to usability engineering of New Information Technologies in Healthcare. It is located on the campus of the University Hospital of Lille, France.

For the tests run in the usability lab, a panel of participants in the project observe the entire test session: project manager, user representatives, designer of the application, technician in charge of the re-engineering process, and a usability engineer. The session is completely recorded, using 4 synchronized videotapes. After the session, a debriefing involving all the participants allows to identify which parts of the activity must be precisely analyzed. This analysis is then performed by the usability engineer. Relying on the 4 videotapes, tasks and events are then logged with The Observer Video-Pro.

View of an experimental room: a physician is interviewing a patient and records the relevant data on his computer: the general situation and the man-machine dialog are exhaustively recorded.
View of the main experimental room from the control room (through the one-way mirror).

For field tests using portable labs, the procedure is slightly different. During the observation period, tasks and events are logged with Pocket Observer on a handheld device (HP iPaq). In parallel, the man-machine dialog is recorded with the portable lab. Then at the end of the session, a refined analysis is performed using the videotapes and The Observer Video-Pro. Data from live observation and post-hoc observation are then compared and/or combined.

View of the experimental rooms 1 and 2 from the control room: the facilitator is observing and guiding the current experiment from behind the one-way mirrors and/or relying on his control screens.
View of a portable lab: a scan converter is linked to the laptop and to a mini camcorder, a microphone records all the comments of the user, so that the entire man-machine dialog is recorded. This portable lab is used in the hospital units to assess new applications such as electronic medical and nursing records using mobile devices (example: laptop installed on the nurse’s cart).

For presentations purposes, video highlights are produced as MPEG-1 clips. In quantitative studies, summary statistics (task completion times, error rates) are exported to Excel and next to SPSS for hypothesis testing.


CERIM - Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches en Informatique Médicale
Faculté de Médecine
Université de Lille 2
1, Place de Verdun
F-59045 Lille Cedex
France [in French]