User centred development of a smartphone application for wayfinding in a complex hospital environment

Frank Smolenaers, Tim Chestney, Jenny Walsh, Simon Mathieson, Daniel Thompson, Mehmet Gurkan, Stuart Marshall

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearch

1 Citation (Scopus)


Finding where to go within a hospital environment can be difficult and frustrating for patients and visitors leading to complaints, missed appointments and inefficiencies. We iteratively developed and tested a navigation application for smartphones, to augment existing wayfinding strategies. The “PowerNav” smart phone app uses indoor location and movement tracking, enabled by low energy Bluetooth beacons (BLE) mounted on the ceiling of hospital corridors. No IT infrastructure is required. A prototyping stage of the interface with user input was followed by a rapid phase user-centred design process involving naïve and experienced users. This culminated in the naturalistic observation of users with the app and ongoing data collection of user experience. The partnering of a public health service and a private developer proved to be a successful venture. Future work will involve accessibility features for visually impaired users and support of additional languages. We believe that future integration of the app with public transport and other travel information will also improve the utility and create a patient centred approach to appointment management from the receipt of the letter to attending the appointment.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 20th Congress of the International Ergonomics Association (IEA 2018) - Volume I
Subtitle of host publicationVolume I: Healthcare Ergonomics
EditorsSebastiano Bagnara, Thomas Alexander, Riccardo Tartaglia, Yushi Fujita, Sara Albolino
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9783319960982
ISBN (Print)9783319960975
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventInternational Association of Ergonomics Societies Congress 2018 - Florence, Italy
Duration: 26 Aug 201830 Aug 2018
Conference number: 20th (Proceedings)

Publication series

NameAdvances in Intelligent Systems and Computing
ISSN (Print)2194-5357
ISSN (Electronic)2194-5365


ConferenceInternational Association of Ergonomics Societies Congress 2018
Abbreviated titleIEA 2018
Internet address


  • Design
  • Hospital
  • Navigation
  • Wayfinding

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