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Military Health System

Usability Lab

The Defense Health Agency (DHA) develops mobile apps and websites that help service members, veterans and their families deal with and find out more information on: 

  • Anger, anxiety, depression, and other common psychological health issues
  • Commonly asked questions and concerns about everyday health
  • Assisting loved ones and dependents with special needs
  • General Medical and Physical Readiness (immunizations, physical fitness planners, etc.)

In order to make these applications and webpages more accessible, Usability Testing gets feedback from individuals and how they use a product with the goal of improving the user experience. It is the most effective way to design products that users find easy-to-use and helpful.

In the Usability Lab, we can test and evaluate a product at every stage of the development process. By volunteering to test with the Usability Lab, you help designers and developers refine and improve products before they’re released.

What’s a Usability Lab Like?

Most Usability Lab tests are simple, straight forward and completely remote. All you’ll need is access to a computer. In the event  that an in-person test is needed, we have a facility set up at Joint Base Lewis–McChord, in Washington State. Testing can involve any number of methods to gather user information, such as:

  • Usability Testing - Observe users interacting with site
  • Participatory Design - Users define what they expect from site
  • Card Sorting- Users assist in organizing site content
  • Small Surveys - Collect supplemental and quantitative data
  • Focus Groups - Direct end-user opinions regarding product

If you participate in a test session at the Usability Lab, there are two ways you can give your input:

  • When doing a test remotely, you’ll be contacted by the Usability Lab manager, who will provide you with the details of the study and what will be asked of you in an email. This is the most common way we conduct testing.
  • If in person, you’ll be greeted in the reception area by the usability specialist you’ll be working with and led to a testing room. Each room holds one to 15 participants, depending on the technology being tested.

In both cases, you’ll basically “try out” a mobile app or website (either individually or in groups) on a specially outfitted mobile device or your own computer. As you review the product, a usability specialist will ask you questions about your experience. Giving honest and open responses is key to the testing process! Don’t worry, you won't be hurting anyone’s feelings by telling us what you think during the test! 

The total time spent in a test session ranges from 30 minutes to an hour and half.

You may also participate in a “focus group,” a guided discussion about how you use technology in general. Developers use the information from focus groups to help them create new technologies or improve existing ones.

Get Volunteer Opportunity Information Today!

Usability Lab Volunteer Form

Usability Lab Volunteer Form

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    DHA Usability Lab Refines Beneficiaries Digital Experience

    Article
    12/1/2021
    The DHA Usability Lab is a comprehensive program that evaluates digital health technologies across the Department of Defense by observing and collecting feedback from service members, veterans, beneficiaries and health care providers.

    The DHA Usability Lab is a program that evaluates digital health technologies across the Department of Defense by observing and collecting feedback from service members, veterans, beneficiaries and health care providers.

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    Last Updated: October 17, 2022
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