HEALTH INFORMATION PORTALS: HOW CAN WE IMPROVE THE USER’S SEARCH EXPERIENCE?
Health information portals (HIP) are now common place. Governments and other health agencies are
using HIPs extensively to reduce costs and distribute information more effectively. Generally, HIPs
are not very technically sophisticated specifically in terms of options for improving searching. There
are many ways in which searching and retrieving relevant information can be improved. This paper
presents an exploratory study which investigated five HIPs. Each HIP offered a range of features and
functionality to assist with searching. Our research explored the features and functionality of each
HIP. Through usability evaluations we compared the response of users to each HIP and identified
users’ preferences for improved searching. We found that HIPs with improved search functionality
and other features that assisted searching were better received by the users. Users regarded these
portals as easier to understand, easier to use, required fewer steps in retrieving information and were
more likely to say they would return. Comments from users are provided to illustrate further the
importance of providing effective functionality. The paper concludes with recommendations for Health
Information Portal builders on what is needed to improve the user search experience.
Fisher, Julie; Burstein, Frada; Manaszewicz, Rosetta; and Lazarenko, Kate, "HEALTH INFORMATION PORTALS: HOW CAN WE IMPROVE THE USER’S SEARCH EXPERIENCE?" (2009). ECIS 2009 Proceedings. 315.