NHS IT systems fail due to lack of User-Centred Design?

Very interesting report at Contractor UK about Richard Granger, the former Director of IT at the NHS. He is, apparently, “ashamed” of some of the NHS IT systems and quite damning of some their contractors. Of particular note is the comment that one system:

isn’t useable (sic) because they have been building a system with Fujitsu without listening to what the end users want.

I kind of assumed that User-Centred Design would be at the forefront of NHS IT directives (I can’t imagine a situation where understanding the context of use is more important than in the high-pressure, on-the-go, constantly-interrupted environment of the NHS). However, this seems to be far from the truth.

Read the whole report: Granger ‘ashamed’ of NHS IT systems

Links for week ending 20 April 2007

My favourite checkbox

A refreshingly honest checkbox that brought a smile to my face (from the rather splendid Quicksilver):

Superfluous visual effects checkbox in Quicksilver

Is this the linguistic equivalent of a fairy door?

Taking a tumble

I’m not a prodigious blogger, as my stupendously lame output over the last few months will testify. It’s not that I don’t want to, or even that I don’t think about what I could write about. I just spend too much time thinking about the details and how I should write a post. My expectation of myself is that I should always try to write something reasonably substantial and at least mildly interesting. At the moment, I have more than 30 unpublished posts that are essentially collections of notes that I’ve never found the time to expand on as fully as I’d like to. Basically, I find it hard to find the time to achieve the sort of blog that I really want to have.

I am, however, quite taken by the idea of Tumblelogs. These are just short, sharp stream-of-consciousness type blogs. There is no expectation of sitting down and writing an article. It’s more of a scrapbook of observations, thoughts and links. I guess it’s kind of half way between Twitter and a real blog. Since starting my Tumblelog, Sensorytumble, I’ve been surprised how easy it is to engage with the concept. This is all helped by the fact that it automatically pulls in my del.icio.us bookmarks and Twitter ramblings. I’m encouraged to post as well, because I know that it’ll have to be brief and that actually publishing something is achievable. And that makes it much more fun!

Users are revolting!

A report that has very interesting implications for the usability market in the future:

A lack of user-friendly technology in the marketplace is exacerbating a digital divide in the workforce between those who can use technology effectively and those who can’t and is likely to provoke a backlash among users, according to a new Technology Predictions for 2007 report from consultancy Deloitte…

Google Co-op search for user experience

I’ve been playing around with Google Co-op and created a custom user experience search engine. There are around 75 sites indexed at the moment, but please let me know if you’d like to contribute a URL.

In the meantime, have a play…

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I'm Stuart Church, a user experience consultant with Pure Usability in Bristol, UK. Sensorydrive is my personal blog and covers user experience design, information architecture, product design, psychology, research methods, perception and pretty much anything else that takes my fancy! You can find out a bit more about me if you want...