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I am working on an app which junior doctors will use for clinical pathways, these clinical pathways are currently presented as flow chart diagrams which I'm not too keen on. I think there's a better way to present them so from a usability perspective how else do you think I can present these flow chart diagrams in my app so they are easy to see and navigate.

  • Out of curiosity, why are flowcharts inherently not usable? In much of medical literature, clinical pathways are already presented in flowchart format. Representing it as such in a decision support system would seem at first glance intuitive? – Ming K Jul 4 '13 at 22:19
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Present in steps, based on the flow - like a decision tree. For example:

Does the patient have xxx?

-Yes- -No-

Where Yes and No would take you to subsequent steps.

If you follow this pattern (speaking from experience) - please consider the following things:

  • sometime expert users will just need reminders, and will find navigating an entire flow tedious - provide a way for them to see the entire chart
  • flows will never cover every case - provide a way out, or an esclation, if the user's option is not available
  • watch out for 'loops' - if a user follows the same 2 steps in the same order, twice in any one flow then you the user is stuck. Again, provide a way out.

IMO - the trickiest thing is not the UI, it is writing the flows and testing them - they can get very complex. Make sure to put significant usability test time into your authoring tool as well as your front end.

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  • Many thanks for your answer, really appreciate it. – Imran Azad Nov 19 '11 at 13:52

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