Durham Opening Doors recently published the results of their Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) Software Usability Scale (SUS) survey, providing what has been called “a Yelp for HMIS software”.

We’re thankful to the Durham Continuum of Care (CoC) for their leadership in the HMIS field, and for conducting and sharing this survey—which has served as a valuable tool for CoCs looking to compare notes on HMIS software. We’re also honored to see the overwhelmingly positive response to our software Clarity Human Services, with an SUS Score of 76 based on 47 user responses.

Screenshot from the HMIS usability survey shows the list of different HMIS software and their corresponding rank overall, number of survey responses, percent total survey responses, number of CoCs, number of states, maximum SUS score, minimum SUS score, average SUS score, and median SUS score. Screenshot shows that Clarity Human Services was ranked second with an average SUS score of 76. However, note that the HMIS software ranked first was determined from a total of 3 survey responses, while Clarity Human Services was ranked second based on 47 survey responses.

This screenshot of the survey results is from the HMIS System Usability Survey by Durham Opening Doors.

 

About the System Usability Scale

According to Usability.gov, the System Usability Scale (SUS) is a quick, reliable tool for measuring software usability. It consists of a 10-item questionnaire with 5 response options for respondents, ranging from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree. It was originally developed in 1986 and has since become an industry standard to evaluate a wide variety of products and services.

 

Purpose of the HMIS Usability Survey

In October 2016, Durham Opening Doors saw a need for an objective review of HMIS software usability. As a result, they produced this survey using the System Usability Scale and invited users from CoCs across the country to complete the survey.

Since the survey’s completion, results have been published online for the public to use, along with raw survey data and a video guide for interpreting SUS results. While the survey is not endorsed by HUD or other Federal Partners, the wide distribution of this survey has allowed for a comprehensive evaluation of various HMIS software.

 

Significance for Clarity Human Services

We designed Clarity Human Services with usability and the user experience at the forefront of its development. We aim for every user to feel confident using HMIS. Technology shouldn’t be a burden but rather an effective, easy-to-use tool for connecting with clients and coordinating housing and services. HMIS should empower users to focus more on their clients, not their software.

HMIS usability survey results for Clarity Human Services by Bitfocus. Screenshot shows high scores for all 10 questions, such as ease of learning the system, desire to use the system frequently, and level of confidence using the system. Responses ranged from 3.64 to 4.28, with 5 being the highest number. Total SUS score is 75.7, with n (number of respondents) being 47.

This screenshot of the Clarity Human Services survey results is from the HMIS System Usability Survey by Durham Opening Doors.

With this goal in mind, our team has been greatly encouraged by Durham’s positive third-party review of Clarity Human Services HMIS usability. Furthermore, the usability of Clarity Human Services is largely informed by our users and their feedback, so we’re glad to see the fruits of this partnership between our team and our users. We couldn’t do what we do without you, so thank you!