Sep
01
2009
0

Its not you, its me

Dont worry, its not your fault

Don't worry, its not your fault

Yesterday I received an e-mail from a beta tester, Jeff Duarte, who was having trouble with one of my calculators.  He said that he didn’t really understand how to use a particular calculator.  My response was:

The problem is not you, its me.  :)  If I designed my calculator better you wouldn’t have any questions.

Seriously – sorry Jeff, its my bad.  My goal is to make these calculators so easy and intuitive to use that no workers’ compensation professional would have any trouble figuring out how to use them.  If you don’t figure out how to use it just by looking at it, I designed it wrong. [1] Getting feedback is a very important and instructive process for me.  It lets me figure out what works for people and what doesn’t.

The good news is that Jeff”s suggestions have given me an idea on how to make two calculators easier to use and for two entirely new features!

So, send me an e-mail if you have an idea on how I can make a calculator more intuitive, easier to use, or just plain work better!

The problem is not you, its me.  :)  If I designed my calculator better you wouldn’t have any questions!
  1. Photo courtesy of TreMichLan.  Terrible pun – all me! []
Aug
12
2009
4

Verify!® Social Security Number Validator

Social Security Number Validator powered by Verify!

Social Security Number Validator powered by Verify!(R)

As promised!  A new calculator!

Well, check out my new social security number online search tool, powered by Verify.com.  It has some pretty cool features.  You can Verify!®:

  • whether a social security number is in a valid format
  • what year a social security number was issued
  • in what state the social security number was issued
  • whether the person to whom the social security number has passed away
Aug
10
2009
0

Have you taken the EAMS Survey?

EAMS: Your filing is not just rejected, its terminated

It is strongly encouraged you take the EAMS survey

The Division of Workers’ Compensation has posted a link to an EAMS survey.  I noticed a lot of fliers around the Oakland District office of the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board for this survey in the last few weeks.

Having taken the survey, I’m not optimistic its going to do anyone any good.  My problem with the survey is the inherent question bias.

Several of the survey questions deal with the availability and efficacy of EAMS training resources.  Take it from someone who actually designs software user interfaces – if people don’t like the user interface or the way your software works, they will either not use it or try to find ways around it.  The only viable solution is to design a system that doesn’t need a lot of training and explanation.

This is really shows the engineering perspective on the problem.  Once engineers have designed the system, its up to the user to read the manual and figure it all out.  The problem is not sufficient education, training, and understanding.  People are not suddenly going toembrace EAMS because now they understand how it works.

While its more work to comb through open ended responses from users, at least those answers will be more representative of their opinions.  Take the final question, for example:  “Please identify the top 3 improvements that you would like to see in EAMS . Please choose three and rank them in order of priority.”  Your only choices are:

  • Completing the OCR forms (formatting issues)
  • Completing the OCR forms (ambiguity re: required information)
  • Completing the OCR forms (technical issues)
  • Document processing times at the WCAB offices
  • WCAB clerks’ lack of knowledge regarding EAMS
  • Availability of EAMS information and documents when appearing at the WCAB for hearings.
  • Procedural inconsistencies amongst WCAB offices
  • Too much paper
  • Too few forms available online
  • Cover sheet / Separator Sheet
  • Limited availability of EAMS Access for external users
  • Limited amount of information available on public search
  • Assistance with EAMS forms from DWC call center
  • Other

This can’t possibly be an exhaustive list of user concerns with EAMS.  What other EAMS related issues do you perceive?

Jun
24
2009
5

New Ogilvie Calculator Feature!

PDRater workers compensation calculators - so easy a cat can use them!

PDRater workers' compensation calculators - so easy your cat can use them!

What’s that?  You haven’t memorized ALL of the FEC ranks to go with each of the 2005 Permanent Disability Rating Schedule body parts? [1]

Why didn’t you say so?   (Actually, someone did ask for an easy way to look up the FEC ranks back on April 1).

I’ve been working on an easy way to allow a user to look up and quickly insert the FEC rank for the affected body part.  I finally got around to building it a few days ago and launched it this morning.  Please give it a shot and let me know what you think.

Here’s all you need to do to perform your very own Ogilvie calculation:

  1. Go to the permanent disability calculator page. (If you haven’t already signed up for free, this is a good time.)
  2. Click “Ogilvie” Diminished Future Earning Capacity Calculator
  3. Type in the FEC rank OR click “FEC Rank (1-8)” and click on the injured body part.  It will look up the FEC rank and insert it for you.
  4. Type in the “Whole Person Impairment”
  5. Type in the “Post Injury Earnings of Applicant”
  6. Type in the “Post Injury Earnings of Similarly Situated Employees” OR click the link to obtain some information from the EDD Labor Market Information Division (LMID) and US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

If you can think of a way for me to make this calculator even easier, please let me know. [2]

  1. You’ve only had four years, right? []
  2. Photo courtesy of Vicki’s Pics []

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