Public defence in Usability Research, M.Sc. (Tech) Mari Tyllinen

Public defence from the Aalto University School of Science, Department of Computer Science
Doctor's hat

Title of the thesis: Process for Usability Evaluation for Selecting an Information System in Public Procurement - Measuring Usability of Health and Social Welfare IS 

Doctoral student: Mari Tyllinen
Opponent: Prof. Christian Nøhr, Aalborg University, Denmark
Custos: Assistant Professor Johanna Viitanen, Aalto University School of Science, Department of Computer Science

Thesis available for public display 10 days prior to the defence at:

Usability evaluation when selecting an information system in public procurement: case in social welfare and healthcare 

Dissatisfaction among social welfare and healthcare professionals with their information systems (IS), and their usability, has been a recurring topic in recent years. In Finland, the topic is timely due to a recent organizational reform which merges several regions into new counties, necessitating the implementation of new common IS. Usability should be a focus already during the procurement of these systems. The procurement of IS for public organizations in the EU and elsewhere is governed by relevant laws. In the diverse social welfare and healthcare environment the factors influencing usability, and its evaluation during procurement are not simple. 

This dissertation studied the use of usability as a selection criterion when procuring an IS for a public organization. Although there are several established methods for usability evaluation during the development of IS, the procurement context imposes different requirements on these methods, and no established practices exist. 

The dissertation presents three usability scoring methods facilitating comprehensive comparison of IS usability in procurement from different user perspectives. The dissertation describes how these methods were applied in a social welfare and healthcare IS procurement and details the entire usability evaluation procedure. Additionally, a phased model is presented for planning and implementing a usability evaluation for procurement. The research contributes new scientific knowledge on usability scoring in IS procurement, particularly in complex environments like social welfare and healthcare. 

The findings are applicable in both public and private sectors when procuring IS. The developed usability evaluation methods and a sample usability scoring framework are presented. Additionally, the proposed phased model aids in planning usability evaluation. Procuring organizations can benefit from the results to better understand crucial factors, even if external experts conduct the actual evaluation. The dissertation indicates that usability scoring can help narrow IS alternatives and contribute to the final scoring in procurement. Careful consideration is necessary when selecting evaluation methods and their scoring to align with procurement objectives.

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