Dear Research Community,
In early March, 2014, a survey was sent out by the UBC Office of Research Services (ORS) to the research community asking for feedback on research administration at UBC. The Office of Research Services was focused on gauging its efficiency, productivity, capacity and ability to support the UBC research strategy. The results of the survey were very positive but pointed out a need to improve the usability of the RISe system. These results came subsequent to a survey conducted by the Office of Research Ethics in the spring of 2013, which also indicated a need to make RISe more user-friendly. Also feedback received by the HELP desk has also been collated and added to the list of identified usability issues.
In the fall of 2013 the RISe team and its governing business group, prioritized usability (identified by system users) issues to be resolved. The subsequent upgrades to the RISe system were released in April 2014. Some of the issues include resolving:
- The cluttered look of the human ethics application was addressed by giving users the ability to control the look of the form by allowing them to hide guidance notes at their convenience.
- The difficulty users faced in locating an existing Post Approval Activity (PAA) was addressed by giving users one-click access to the existing PAA.
- The troubles users were having in locating the ‘Submit’ button has been addressed with the introduction of a new, larger, highlighted ‘Submit’ button on a study’s homepage.
- The difficulties users felt in understanding the overall application process has been addressed with a new, clear diagram of the various stages that an application goes through once it has been submitted.
- The need for communication between users and the system has been addressed with a new notification box located on each user’s homepage that can be opened and closed at the user’s preference.
A visual demonstration of the changes listed above can be seen in new online video tutorials on the RISe website under the Tutorial and Guides section’s ‘Usability updates’.
The RISe team will continue to work together with the Office of Research Services and the Office of Research Ethics to address further pain points and users’ concerns. The second phase of enhancing the RISe system’s usability will focus on implementing the same upgrades into both the Animal Care and Biosafety modules. This will be rolled out in the fall of 2014.
Some of the areas identified in the recent ORS survey that the RISe team plan to address in future phases, include:
- Offering clearer instructions to users on RISe and its various modules, including the sending out of instructions in the various notifications that require user action.
- Making it easier for users to locate studies and provisos issued by ethics boards.
- Creating a better integration between different modules within RISe.
- Offering simpler instructions on how to submit an amendment or renewal for a Conflict of Interest declaration.
- Making users more informed about what kinds of things they should consider prior to starting a human ethics, animal care or biosafety application.
In addition, the RISe team will also be conducting focus groups in the fall to discuss and prioritize the topics above, as well as how we can work to bring the UBC research community a better and efficient research system.
We are actively recruiting for these focus groups now. Please consider spending 90 minutes with us to give your input. If you’d be interested in participating, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
ORS greatly values your feedback as we strive to build the most effective and usable system possible!
Martin Kirk PhD
Director, Office of Research Services