Objectives: Economic decision-support tools can provide valuable information for tobacco control stakeholders, but their usability may impact the adoption of such tools. This study aims to illustrate a mixed-method usability evaluation of an economic decision-support tool for tobacco control, using the EQUIPT ROI tool prototype as a case study.
Methods: A cross-sectional mixed methods design was used, including a heuristic evaluation, a thinking aloud approach, and a questionnaire testing and exploring the usability of the Return of Investment tool.
Results: A total of sixty-six users evaluated the tool (thinking aloud) and completed the questionnaire. For the heuristic evaluation, four experts evaluated the interface. In total twenty-one percent of the respondents perceived good usability. A total of 118 usability problems were identified, from which twenty-six problems were categorized as most severe, indicating high priority to fix them before implementation.
Conclusions: Combining user-based and expert-based evaluation methods is recommended as these were shown to identify unique usability problems. The evaluation provides input to optimize usability of a decision-support tool, and may serve as a vantage point for other developers to conduct usability evaluations to refine similar tools before wide-scale implementation. Such studies could reduce implementation gaps by optimizing usability, enhancing in turn the research impact of such interventions.