Susan Dybbs - Picking Your Neurosurgeon's Brain


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When designing complex systems for highly specialized users, traditional research methods may not do the best job uncovering details of the user's mental model and related information. In this talk, I'll discuss how I used participatory design methods with surgeons to design an inter-operative telemedicine system. I'll highlight best practices and offer a healthy dose of blood, guts and gore (rated PG 13).

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  • Hi I am susan dybbs, currently an interaction design at cooper.\nAnd today i’m gong to talk a little bit about methods used to design complex systems for highly specialized users.\n
  • How many of you know how to do an Endoscopic Endonasal Approach nto resect a tumor?\nYay. Me either.\nWe as designers and researcher often work on products and systems for a highly specialized user group. \nand we are not the expert in these domains\n
  • Instead we must ramp up on the user’s needs, goals, aspirations, pain point work arounds, terminology, information needs all with in our schedule and hopefully budget.\nHow do we do that?\n
  • Often times I’ve found that traditional research methods such as observation and interviewing, fall short in the area. \n
  • Endoscopic Endonasal Approach It is a minimally invasive brain surgery were, rather than approaching the brain from an opening in the top of the skull as in a traditional craniotomy, the surgeons use an endoscope, or a small camera and light, to access the brain through the nose. \nThis was one of many surgeries That i observed during a project designing an inter-operative telemedicine system for a client.\nThrough countless hours in the OR and Procedural rooms we gain insight into\nWorkflow and overall process or procedure\nInteractions between people\nBut what we lacked was\nunderstanding around the nuance information and related needs\nAs well as the cognitive aspect of the surgeons’ work.\n
  • As you might imagine, as with other highly paid specialist, recruit surgeons is a little difficult. \nWhen you do get an interview, there is often enough time to get into the nitty gritty details that you need to design such a systm.\nbut more importantly. \nhow do we even know the right questions. \nThere is a level of expertise require even to have those conversations.\n\nWhat do we do?.\n\n\n
  • In this case, my colleagues and i used participatory design in the design phase in order to fill in those gaps.\nAnd what i mean by that is that the end users, in this case surgeons, were actively creating the product with low fidelity prototype.\n
  • Designing a telemedicaine system that will support surgeons during an procedure is a daunting task even for a design.\nWhen we asked our participant to create their ideal system and tell us how they would use it, we gave them a kick start with pre-created created materials. \nThese were paper cut outs of information such as such as previous surgeries, patient imaging such as an mris, and picture representing video feeds of endoscopes and room views.\nWe also gave the doctors plenty of blank paper and pen so they could write in any missing elements.\n\nAnd as they created we asked them to think aloud.\n\n\n
  • There strong similarities existed in the results even across specialities. What was interesting was not only what was included but what was left out..\nWe were surprise that information specifically described in interviews as a need was excluded.\n\n
  • For example. In this mock up you can see two large images dominating the design. One represents a live video fee of procedure the other of patient scans. \nWhat you don’t see is video of the OR room even though it was mentioned in our interviews. \nthis was consistent across all of our sessions.\n\n\n
  • Another similar example of absence was around patient information. \n While in a few interviews we had, the participants told us about reading lengthy reports. Yet none of the omitted all of those content chunks\n\n
  • When doing participatory design sessions, I am continually impress by the power of physicality.\nRather than spending energy visualizing as they would if interviewed, participants can focus on content. Placing information on paper and ponder its importance.\nAdditionally\nthe act of creating is a catalyst for conversation\nThe inspires conversation that we may not have had the knowledge to otherwise have. \n\n
  • \nalready had enough info from observations to have a base line materials to start from\nHad several areas we knew we wanted to test\nparticipant talks through as they construct, we were able to ask questions and gain more understanding than a formal interview\nFormate is rough and impermanent to avoid blocking up or saying designers\n
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  • Susan Dybbs - Picking Your Neurosurgeon's Brain

    1. 1. picking yourneurosurgeon’s braSusan DybbsUser Research FridayNovember 2010
    2. 2. perfusionists, counterpulsationdevices, sonar, resection,ventricular assist devices,endoscopes, double lumen tubes,cardiologists, stent, cath lab,minimally invasive, charge nurse,endoscopic endonasal approach,ulcerative colitis,neurophysiologist, femoral artery,
    3. 3. needs, goals, opportunities,artifacts, framing, aspirations,work arounds, vocabulary,motivations, brand affinity,terminology, struggles,information needs, levers,preferences, pain points,environments, capabilities,contexts behaviors, workflows,mental models, domain
    4. 4. gaps in traditional methods
    5. 5. The blindness of observations
    6. 6. The failure of interviews
    7. 7. participatory design
    8. 8. Enabling participation
    9. 9. The importance of absence
    10. 10. Artifact as catalyst
    11. 11. What made this effective?‣ Starting with pre-created created materials‣ Reduce cognitive load‣ Rough impermanent formate‣ Think aloud