MSc/PGDip/PGCert Health Informatics (UCL/UoM Joint Award)

Year of entry: 2022

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Course unit details:
Usable System Design

Unit code IIDS61201
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Division of Informatics, Imaging and Data Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No


This unit focuses on introducing key factors to be considered when designing and developing usable and effective systems. In order to support the design and evaluation of systems and processes Health Informaticians should understand the latest design thinking methods and the interplay of technology, people and social systems. The move to citizen-driven healthcare has highlighted the importance of co-design and co-production of health systems.  Making these systems work in a complex healthcare environment requires a knowledge of human factor, organisational and user design issues and will need to draw on skills from various fields including behavioural sciences, design and engineering.  This module will take trainees through a process of co-producing a usable system working with public representatives and present the solution to a public-patient panel for review.


The unit aims to introduce factors and design methods to develop usable and effective systems in the health context.  On completion of the module students will be able to understand how to design a usable system for a specified stakeholder. 

Learning outcomes


Category of outcome

Students should be able to:

A. Knowledge and understanding

LO1: Critically appraise methods and techniques for requirements gathering, design and user-centred evaluation and testing relevant for health systems and technologies, understanding their strengths and limitations.

LO2: Consolidate and apply knowledge of  different design approaches including guidelines and toolkits to the design of usable systems

LO3: Review and apply system-wide human factors theories (e.g. actor network theory) the  design of usable systems.

LO4: Apply the theories of behavioural change and interaction when designing usable systems

LO5: Critically understand the organisational and human factor challenges for effective use of health information systems and technologies

B. Intellectual skills

LO6:Application of appropriate design methods and techniques for a range of scenarios

LO7 Analyse situations critically to address design problems and use of digital health technologies

LO8: Identify bottlenecks to effective implementation of national and local systems


C. Practical skills

LO9: Identify usability issues and design usable systems and apply them to real-world scenarios

LO10: Critically analyse end-user acceptance of systems using HCI methods

LO11: Evaluate the relevant literature and other scientific sources, and work with others to develop usable systems/interfaces

LO12: Design usable a system and evaluate a system, produce or service assuring that stakeholder requirements have been met


D. Transferable skills and personal qualities

LO13: Work collaboratively within a team, understanding different working styles and how to contribute to discussion.

LO14: Present ideas and work in a verbal and written format

LO15: Provide and respond to feedback of peers

LO16: Work through the problem-solving cycle

LO17: Engage with a variety of stakeholders (including the public) and interpret their requirements into an informatics solution



Teaching and learning methods

This unit will be delivered in a blended format: e-Learning preparation material will impart basic and core knowledge whilst the face-to-face lectures and open discussions will introduce concrete examples and encourage attendees to draw upon their own reading and experience.  Group, problem based learning will show a deeper understanding of the area and encourage collaborative working.  Example case-studies will be drawn from University of Manchester (HeRC) and University College London research-driven projects and current NHS projects.  The F2F teaching will be delivered as 1 x three day block of workshops covering a key section

Assessment methods


Assessment Methods

Weighting (%)






Feedback methods

Formative assessment and feedback to students is a key feature of the on-line learning materials for this unit. 

Regular presentation of results to tutor and staff to elicit feedback and develop ideas/work.

Recommended reading

SHARP, H., ROGERS, Y., & PREECE, J. (2007). Interaction design: beyond human-computer interaction. Chichester, Wiley.

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 150

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Alan Davies Unit coordinator

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