User Experience Report

Ulster University

''The surface was very comfortable and quite sensual a bit like reflexology''*

* Ulster University User Experience Report

4. Method

The company supplied a shower tray unit and a sample of the soaping agent used for the non-slip German test standards.

The shower tray unit was secured over the current shower tray and outlet of the male changing room (1D102) on Floor D of the Podiatry clinic, Ulster University, Jordanstown campus. A safety support in the form of a Zimmer frame was provided for subjects and situated beside the tray should it be required.

A rig was designed and built by the engineering department at Ulster consisting of a jet, reservoir and pump to simulate flowing soapy shower water. The reservoir was a container that held at least 20L of water and was filled from the shower supply itself. The temperature was set to approx. 25-30oC and measured with a thermometer. A small motorised pump was connected by a hose from the reservoir to the shower tray surface and a flow rate set to approx. 6L a min simulating the flow rate of the German tests.

The soaping agent used was a non-ionic surfactant (Triton X-100) diluted with water to a concentration of 1 g/L and was added to the reservoir by the Chief Investigator (CI) prior to testing. The concentrate volume was pre-prepared in syringes for addition to the reservoir and matched that of the German test standards.

25 subjects who use showers as their main method of hygiene were recruited from the University staff and student population (age range 18-70 yrs) via email shot and screened for pre-existing musculoskeletal (MSK) sources of foot pain, skin allergy to soap products or an open foot wound by the CI prior to testing. Only subjects without clear sources of pre-existing MSK foot pain, allergies or wounds and who consented to the testing procedure were tested.

The study protocol was peer reviewed and approved by the Research Governance Filter Committee of Ulster University.

The pre-test procedure was as follows:

1) The reservoir was filled with warm shower water to 20L volume and the temperature measured with a thermometer to ensure a temperature of 25-30°C.

2) Using gloves the pre-measured volume of surfactant was added to the reservoir using a disposable syringe and the water mixed.

3) The shower tray surface was cleaned using Trionic wipes

4) Wash basins containing warm water and towelling roll were placed in the 3 cubicles in the changing room for subject use post testing

The testing procedure was as follows:

1) The subjects were taken from the waiting area on floor D into the changing room by the CI and allocated a cubicle.

2) Each subject was required to remove their socks and shoes and roll-up their clothing to the knees, the CI checked for any open wounds, cuts, abrasions on the feet and for any sources of foot pain. Provided none were found, the subjects were given a consent form to sign and completed the pre-test section of the questionnaire.

3) If any subject was found with foot pain or an open wound they would be precluded from testing and directed to the Podiatry reception on Floor B, Block 1 (1 floor below the testing area) where the receptionist will offer the individual a free appointment in the Podiatry student clinic should they wish to be seen.

4)Each consented subject was taken individually to the shower unit to stand on the tray surface. The pump was switched on and water flowed over the surface from the reservoir. The subject was required to simulate foot movements in a shower by standing for 1 min, walking on the spot for 1 min and half circle turns for 1 min under the supervision of the CI.

5) On completion of testing the pump was switched off and the CI provided some towelling roll for the subject to dry their feet prior to them returning to their cubicle. The CI then wiped the tray surface with a Trionic wipe prior to collecting the next test subject.

6) On returning to their cubicle the subject bathed their feet in warm water to remove any soap residue, dried with towelling roll and put on their socks and shoes. They then completed the post-test questions of the questionnaire.

7) On completion, the questionnaires were collected by the CI prior to leaving the test area and subjects were given a lunch voucher for their participation.

8) All subjects attended the testing procedure only once and the total time for testing was 10-15 minutes per subject.

9) The questionnaires were stored in a locked cabinet in room 1D115 and accessed only by the CI. All statistical data were stored on a password-protected laptop and available only to the CI and the statistician.

Strategy for data analysis:

This was a small-scale study for descriptive purposes only and involved a convenience sample of 25 participants.

The outcome being measured was user experience of an innovative non-slip shower tray surface. The questionnaire included both closed and open questions. The closed questions related to product comfort, safety and desirability and Likert scales that are ordinal level measurements were used.

Analysis of responses to the closed questions involved descriptive statistics: frequencies and percentage summaries for the categories of each question. This category (ordinal) data was also presented as bar charts.

Cross-tabulation was undertaken to investigate the association between key variables e.g. question 4 concerning previous experience of slips or falls whilst showering and question 7 concerning confidence in the surface preventing slips or falls.

A Chi Square statistical test of association was precluded due to the small sample size (each cell in the crosstabs table must have an expected frequency of at least 5 for the Chi Square test to be valid).

The data from the open questions was analysed by applying qualitative data analysis techniques to identify reported issues and recurring themes.

Table of Contents

  • Sample - Frequencies and percentages
  • Sample - Perception of shower tray
  • Descriptive statistics bar charts
  • Pre and post-test comments