Guerrilla usability on the cardiology floor

My school in Puerto Rico did not have a User Experience, HCI or Human Factors program when I studied there, so I did what I could to strong-arm my software engineering master’s degree into a UX learning extravaganza.

Me and a team designed a whole-floor status dashboard for the nurses of Centro Cardiovascular in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. The goal of this design was to confidently catch up the staff with the status and requirements of a large number of patients. Here’s how the design evolved after iterative cycles of heuristic evaluations and usability tests…


Running the usability test drove these UI revisions was an intense and exhausting experience. I schlepped two laptops around the town of Rio Piedras and almost left one on the bus. One of the participant nurses had to run off mid-test because her patient was coding.

I learned many things during that project… like how to ‘coding’ means something entirely different for nurses. More importantly though, nobody died, and I learned a lot about writing code to bring your own design to life.