Seeing the forest without the trees

A while back, I posted a video of how regimen creation is done in Ankhos. In my recent visits, we have decided to almost completely gut that portion of the  UI.

We were using tree widgets, the kind you find when you navigate  file systems on some operating systems. Instead, we are going with the automatically-populated textbox that displays not only drug and procedure names but regimen names, as well.

I think some of the reason we went with the tree paradigm in the beginning was my own ignorance of how chemo regimens are prescribed. The PAs and MDs know what they are looking for when they search for a regimen. They are not ‘exploring’ all of the breast cancer regimens searching for the right one.

I, on the other hand, did not. I assumed that because I had to explore to find a relevant regimen, that the user would too. I think this is an important lesson and a very productive UI improvement that will save them time.

Another lesson here is that I was only able to learn this by performing usability inverviews on-site with the future users of the system. Scrutinizing every click and mouse movement they made, how long they hovered over certain things and trying to ascertain what aspects of the UI seemed to confuse them. Not scientific by any means, but productive.

I find it hard to imagine a large software/EMR company being able to have the close interaction and trust that one can engender with a small engineering team

We are near the end of our annealing user sessions and the home stretch is ahead for completion of phase 1 of Ankhos.  I am very excited as are all of the users at COS. They even have their fancy new long-battery-life Acer laptops!

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