That time we conducted usability testing with family caregivers on a medical education website

Project Context


Uba Backonja
Weichao Yuwen
Asuka Takano
UW student team

My Role

User Researcher
Project Manager


Caregivers of Young Children with Arthritis
UW Professor

Time Frame & Constraints

January 2019 through September 2019
Technological Illiteracy

Project Breakdown



There is a lack of user-oriented resources for hard-to-reach caregivers of young children living with a chronic condition who may not have access to sleep interventions.

As a result, an interdisciplinary UW team developed a web-based sleep intervention to support families of children with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) using the iterative process, user-centered research, and design.

Figure 1: The orginal design of the e-learning medical website interface Sleep Innovations for Preschoolers with Arthritis (SIPA) was developed, prior to our involvement, through participatory design.


Research Process

Our team of UW graduate students used various mixed user-centered research methods to gather quantitative and qualitative data to identify the various medical health products’ paint points.

Since our study focused on usability, our team used the System Usability Scale (SUS) in the Post-Study Questionnaire. I created project plans, screener surveys, and scripts for in-person and online usability testing rounds to prepare for the user-testing.


Our team of UW students conducted usability testing to identify usability factors that affect the user’s experience on the SIPA interface.  We used the Affinity Diagramming method to analyze our usability testing research and then used a Severity scale to organize our observations and insights further.

The Dumas and Redish Severity scale ranks usability issues by:
Level 1) Prevents task completion
Level 2) Creates significant delay and frustration
Level 3) Problems have a minor effect on usability
Level 4) Subtle and possible enhancements or suggestions

Figure 2: I assisted with in-person user testing sessions in a controlled lab setting as well as over online Zoom sessions.



After our UW team analyzed the first round of usability testing, we provided stakeholders with a report that included an executive summary, research findings, and recommendations. Additionally, I helped facilitate the research debrief meeting with stakeholders and participated in the “How Might We…” design session with designers.
Once the designers implemented our research findings into the updated interface design of SIPA, I then voluntarily led a smaller research team through the second round of usability testing, iterating the study to include the “Post-Study System Usability Questionnaire (PSSUQ),” then facilitated the ten study sessions with the caregiver participants.

Figure 3: I helped facilitate the affinity diagramming session to analysize the caregiver usability testing sessions.



By the end of the project, our team collaboratively reported our findings in an academic research paper. Our piece highlighted the importance of finding ways to engage hard-to-reach end-users, such as caregivers, to create and evaluate solutions through the participation of remote study sessions.
Our research findings support our approach’s efficacy, which could be modified for other behavioral health interventions into tailored family-centered mHealth programs for children with various chronic illnesses to improve access and dissemination of care.

Figure 4: I collaborated with designers and stakeholders to help implement the research findings into a updated product design iteration then conducted a second round of user testing on the SIPA interface.