Observations from OMR test

As explained in an earlier post. I had made a concept which was based on community newspaper where the proposals are published in a newspaper and people can voice their opinion by answering questions at the bottom of the page. These are simple Yes / No question marked by filling the appropriate circles. These slips are then cut and deposited in a box containing a mobile phone which detects the answers and uploads them to the server to be published on the web page.
To test this concept and the interactions that people will have. I created a feedback form for our hospital and asked similar kind of questions and left some space for suggestions. These forms were kept at the receptionist and she handed them over to the patients once they are done with their appointment. There were a pair of scissors to cutout the form and a box to drop them in. I had instructed the nurse not to explain anything to the patients and to observe whether they can figure everything out. To see if they are able to fill in the form as intended, if they are cutting it as indicated. If they are not able to understand or cannot read then what do they do? Do they ask someone else for help? All these things will help me in deciding on the form and visual instruction design of the form.
Picture of a hospital service feedback form which was sent for testing the concept

Picture of a hospital service feedback form which was sent for testing the concept

Below are few of the feedback slips that we received from the patients.
There are many interesting observations that I found from these feedback form relating to the usability as well as it brought up some other subjective issues relating to this type of interaction.
1. The very first thing is that the slip is not cut as intended. There might be few different reasons for this. As you can see in the pictures above the 'cut here' marks of the scissors and dashed lines are not printed properly. They are quite easy to be missed. The slip is cut all the way across with the questions besides the filled answers. This was not intended for few different reasons. If the slip is as long as the width of the newspaper page it becomes difficult to be carried around to be deposited in the box. People will end up folding it in different places which will affect the readability of the slip by the program in the phone. Shorter slip could be easily placed inside a pocket or a wallet without folding. The other reason being that the questions and answers are separated once the slip is cut providing privacy and secrecy of the answers provided by a citizen.
2.  For the optical mark recognition to work the size and position of the answer slip has to be consistent in each case. It can vary to some extent but not much. Here we can see in the second picture that the slip is not cut at the right place on the top. This will provide the problem while inserting it in the box. In similar way the margin left at the bottom of the page is not consistent given rise to same issue.
3. There were few people who had given subjective feedback as seen in the first picture. The interesting part is that when they wrote some comment / suggestion they disclosed their names and made signatures. There was no instruction / guideline given about whether to keep the answer slip anonymous or not. People might not be as sensitive about disclosing their identities as we might think. Again, this was a very small context and the patients knew the doctor personally, so it wasn't a big issue. But this aspect has to be looked into, to know whether disclosing identity will be a good thing or it could be used against the people.
4. Two of the respondents had copied their subjective comments to the word. This suggests that there was some interaction between these two people, it provoked them to talk to each other and decide onto the response. This is good in a way that this type of system will bring out the issues in public to discussed and critically looked into. But this could also lead into a negative way of influencing others' opinion in different means like threatening / bribing etc. So, this brings the subject of whether the person's interaction with the service should be in privacy or in a public gathering where he/she might be prone to be influenced.
But, as I have mentioned in the post about discussion with Vinay. I have decided to move away from newspaper based system for various reasons. And will talk about the other concept of referendum box.

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