Performance Improvement 2007. How Can the Online "My Family Health Portrait" Tool Be Improved?



The United States Surgeon General has an online program, "My Family Health Portrait" (from that helps people record their family health history and display the information visually. This study assessed how well the Web site functioned. The study included usability testing with an early version of the software, an assessment of compliance with Federal requirements for product accessibility for people with disabilities, and a post-launch survey of users. The software tool was developed by the Communications and Public Liaison Branch of the National Human Genome Research Institute. The study identified changes that could improve the software program.

The study concluded that a clearer explanation of its purpose was needed for the tool; for instance, some participants expected a risk assessment at the end. The tool also needed more descriptive navigation support, particularly once participants completed the initial process of entering health history information for their immediate family. Usability test participants made a number of specific recommendations: 1) add a "don't know" option for the deceased status of relatives; 2) during the initial process of entering immediate family members, make it possible to "go back" to family members previously entered in order to make changes; 3) make the order of relatives on different screens consistent; 4) fix the process for adding family members (aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews) so that it is not error-prone; 5) reconsider the request for weight and height information as it was a deterrent for some female participants; 6) make the language used to describe the "Save" process less technical and confusing and more intuitive; and 7) explain the purpose of the "Save My Health Information as Another Relative."

Report Title: National Family History Day
Agency Sponsor: NIH, National Institutes of Health
Federal Contact: Bartlett, Maggie, 301-594-0632
Performer: Lynn Baumeister; Silver Spring, MD
PIC ID: 8364

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"PerformanceImprovement2007.pdf" (pdf, 717.63Kb)

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