Life science research requires critical evaluation of data handling and analytical software usability. We present the results of semi-structured interviews which provide insight into the effects of bioinformatics software usability on life science research. Results from our study confirm much of the prior anecdotal evidence of standalone bioinformatics software usability. More importantly, we show that usability issues and life scientists’ lack of expertise in applying computational methods to biological research is limiting their research objectives and contributing to researchers’ reliance on computational experts to conduct their research.

Sarah Morrison-Smith, Christina Boucher, Andrea Bunt, and Jaime Ruiz. 2015. Elucidating the role and use of bioinformatics software in life science research. In Proceedings of the 2015 British HCI Conference (British HCI ’15). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 230-238. DOI:

 author = {Morrison-Smith, Sarah and Boucher, Christina and Bunt, Andrea and Ruiz, Jaime},
 title = {Elucidating the Role and Use of Bioinformatics Software in Life Science Research},
 booktitle = {Proceedings of the 2015 British HCI Conference},
 series = {British HCI '15},
 year = {2015},
 isbn = {978-1-4503-3643-7},
 location = {Lincoln, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom},
 pages = {230--238},
 numpages = {9},
 url = {},
 doi = {10.1145/2783446.2783581},
 acmid = {2783581},
 publisher = {ACM},
 address = {New York, NY, USA},
 keywords = {bioinformatics software, data-driven research, qualitative study},