User Interface Design

VHA Health Informatics Human Factors Engineering (HFE) reviews mobile applications to ensure the user interface (UI) design adheres to human interface design best practices and principles.

A good design allows the user to easily and intuitively complete tasks, without having to learn new conventions, or to think about where to find information or how to operate the mobile application (App). An App that is efficient, effecitve and satisfying to the user will likely be used more often and not abandoned after the first use.

What is assessed?

The following is a partial list of some examples of key categories and criteria assessed in the Human Factors Mobile App UI Compliance Review.

  • Consistency: Is terminology used consistently throughout the application?
  • Consistency: Are layout and content presentation consistent throughout the App?
  • Sound: When sound is inherent to App functioning (e.g., video or audio clip), can the user adjust volume levels based on their preference?
  • Errors: Do error messages plainly and precisely describe the problem and how to recover?
  • Readability: Are all menu items short enough to avoid truncation when displayed on the App's target device?
  • Readability: Is all text large enough to be easily read?

The complete criteria is posted on the link below, under "References."

What is the process?

Simply put...

  • Project teams refer to the HFE UI Design Criteria when the app is at the beginning stages of development, such as requirements analysis, and incorporate the best practices into the App design. A link to the criteria appears below, under "References."
  • Project teams contact HFE to inquire about Usability Testing services that can occur during development of the App. A link to the HFE website appears below (under "References") and contains contact information.
  • After the App has completed the OI&T Verification and Validation (V&V) review and been approved to move forward for the final Mobile Health certifying body reviews, HFE performs the UI Design Compliance Review.

Use of multiple methods, formative usability testing and an end-stage UI compliance review, provides for comprehensive and reliable findings.


Mobile Application (App) User Interface Design Summary Report Template and Detailed Criteria

HFE programs page for the Usability Confirmation program with contact information