Diabetes, Heuristic evaluation, Mobile health, Patient self-management, Usability evaluation



  1. Georgsson, Mattias MSc, RN
  2. Staggers, Nancy PhD, RN
  3. Weir, Charlene PhD, RN


Mobile health platforms offer significant opportunities for improving diabetic self-care, but only if adequate usability exists. Expert evaluations such as heuristic evaluation can provide distinct usability information about systems. The purpose of this study was to complete a usability evaluation of a mobile health system for diabetes patients using a modified heuristic evaluation technique of (1) dual-domain experts (healthcare professionals, usability experts), (2) validated scenarios and user tasks related to patients' self-care, and (3) in-depth severity factor ratings. Experts identified 129 usability problems with 274 heuristic violations for the system. The categories Consistency and Standards dominated at 24.1% (n = 66), followed by Match Between System and Real World at 22.3% (n = 61). Average severity ratings across system views were 2.8 (of 4), with 9.3% (n = 12) rated as catastrophic and 53.5% (n = 69) as major. The large volume of violations with severe ratings indicated clear priorities for redesign. The modified heuristic approach allowed evaluators to identify unique and important issues, including ones related to self-management and patient safety. This article provides a template for one type of expert evaluation adding to the informaticists' toolbox when needing to conduct a fast, resource-efficient and user-oriented heuristic evaluation.