Integrating The User Into The Formative Stages of Medical Device Usability Design: A Speculative and Collaborative Approach

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This article discusses a PhD study based in a healthcare design lab at Monash
University (Health Collab). The research interrogates how design methods can contribute to improving medical device usability, through a project re-designing cochlear implant (CI) systems, collaboratively with Cochlear Ltd. This practice is informed by existing usability design methods that are driven by human factors engineering and promoted by regulators. The research aims to augment these existing approaches with experience design methods, integrating the ‘contextual push’ of users alongside the ‘technology push’ of engineering driven development together into a framework for design. Through the creation and discussion of speculative design probes, situated within co-design workshops, this framework provides a way to collaborate with medical device users.
These methods explore enhancing the efficacy of these collaborations within the formative stages of development, providing opportunities to challenge the conceptualization of how entire devices and interfaces are used; rather than just
changes to labels, packaging, and training.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)863-872
Number of pages10
JournalThe Design Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • medical devices
  • Co-design
  • speculative design probes
  • formative development

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