Remote synchronous usability testing of public access defibrillators during social distancing in a pandemic

Hannah Currie, Adam Harvey, RR Bond, Justin Magee, D Finlay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)


Public access automated external defibrillators (AEDs) represent emergency medical devices that may be used by untrained lay-persons in a life-critical event. As such their usability must be confirmed through simulation testing. In 2020 the novel coronavirus caused a global pandemic. In order to reduce the spread of the virus, many restrictions such as social distancing and travel bans were enforced. Usability testing of AEDs is typically conducted in-person, but due to these restrictions, other usability solutions must be investigated. Two studies were conducted, each with 18 participants: (1) an in-person usability study of an AED conducted in an office space, and (2) a synchronous remote usability study of the same AED conducted using video conferencing software. Key metrics associated with AED use, such as time to turn on, time to place pads and time to deliver a shock, were assessed in both studies. There was no difference in time taken to turn the AED on in the in-person study compared to the remote study, but the time to place electrode pads and to deliver a shock were significantly lower in the in-person study than in the remote study. Overall, the results of this study indicate that remote user testing of public access defibrillators may be appropriate in formative usability studies for determining understanding of the user interface.
Original languageEnglish
Article number14575
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Early online date26 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished online - 26 Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


  • Usability testing
  • cardiology
  • AEDs
  • medical devices
  • data analysis
  • digital health
  • User-Computer Interface
  • Pandemics
  • Humans
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation/methods
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest/therapy
  • Physical Distancing
  • COVID-19
  • Defibrillators/classification
  • Time Factors
  • User-Centered Design


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