A Comparison of Intended and Real Use of a Research Web Health Portal and its Implementation

Mikael Elf, Hans Rystedt, Ingela Skärsäter, Barbro Krevers


Participatory design (PD) projects involve prospective users as co-designers in a process where the design object emerges through several iterations. However, the result of such a process can only partly anticipate how the future real users will use the designed object. For this reason, its actual use needs to be investigated. In e-business it is commonplace to use web metrics and utilise the data generated for re-design in order to optimise sales. Web health portals have other aims, such as providing relevant and accurate health information, and giving possibilities for social support. The present study investigated the relationship between intended use and real use in two web-based health support systems in order to explore the conditions for redesign. The dependency between intended use and real use was found to be weak. Rather, the real use was dependent on 1) the context of use and 2) the needs or interest of the users. We conclude that redesign should be based on continuous use of web metrics collected in natural settings and by involving users on a recurring basis. While a web health portal must have an agenda it is important to adapt thing design to use design, why redesign in essence will become an adaptation to user needs.


Intended Use; Real Use; Redesign; Web Health Support; Web Metrics

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::::::::::::::  eJHI - electronic Journal of Health Informatics - ISSN 1446-4381  ::::::::::::::

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