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J Biomed Inform. 2014 Jun;49:198-205. doi: 10.1016/j.jbi.2014.02.011. Epub 2014 Feb 26.

Tree testing of hierarchical menu structures for health applications.

Author information

  • 1Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education, School of Medicine, University of Washington, WA, USA. Electronic address: tle23@uw.edu.
  • 2Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education, School of Medicine, University of Washington, WA, USA.
  • 3Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems, School of Nursing, University of Washington, WA, USA.
  • 4Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education, School of Medicine, University of Washington, WA, USA; Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems, School of Nursing, University of Washington, WA, USA.

Abstract

To address the need for greater evidence-based evaluation of Health Information Technology (HIT) systems we introduce a method of usability testing termed tree testing. In a tree test, participants are presented with an abstract hierarchical tree of the system taxonomy and asked to navigate through the tree in completing representative tasks. We apply tree testing to a commercially available health application, demonstrating a use case and providing a comparison with more traditional in-person usability testing methods. Online tree tests (N=54) and in-person usability tests (N=15) were conducted from August to September 2013. Tree testing provided a method to quantitatively evaluate the information structure of a system using various navigational metrics including completion time, task accuracy, and path length. The results of the analyses compared favorably to the results seen from the traditional usability test. Tree testing provides a flexible, evidence-based approach for researchers to evaluate the information structure of HITs. In addition, remote tree testing provides a quick, flexible, and high volume method of acquiring feedback in a structured format that allows for quantitative comparisons. With the diverse nature and often large quantities of health information available, addressing issues of terminology and concept classifications during the early development process of a health information system will improve navigation through the system and save future resources. Tree testing is a usability method that can be used to quickly and easily assess information hierarchy of health information systems.

Published by Elsevier Inc.

KEYWORDS:

Information system evaluation; Usability methods; User–computer interface

PMID:
24582924
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC4058398
Free PMC Article
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