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Factors influencing usability of a smartphone app to reduce excessive alcohol consumption: think-aloud and interview studies

Crane, D; Garnett, C; Brown, J; West, R; Michie, S; (2017) Factors influencing usability of a smartphone app to reduce excessive alcohol consumption: think-aloud and interview studies. Frontiers in Public Health , 5 , Article 39. 10.3389/fpubh.2017.00039. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Interventions delivered by smartphone apps have the potential to help drinkers reduce their consumption of alcohol. To optimise engagement and reduce the high rates of attrition associated with the use of digital interventions it is necessary to ensure that an app’s design and functionality is appropriate for its intended purposes and target population. Aims: To understand the user experience of an app to help people reduce their alcohol consumption. Method: The app, Drink Less, contains a core module focusing on goal setting, supplemented by five additional modules: self-monitoring and feedback, identity change, cognitive bias re-training, action planning, and social comparison. Two studies were conducted, a ‘think aloud’ study performed with people using the app for the first time and a semi-structured interview study performed after users had had access to the app for at least 2 weeks. A thematic analysis of the ‘think aloud’ and interview transcripts was conducted by one coder and verified by a second. Results: Twenty-four participants, half of whom were women and half from disadvantaged groups, took part in the two studies. Three main themes identified in the data were: ‘Feeling lost and unsure of what to do next’; ‘Make the app easy to use’; and ‘Make the app beneficial and rewarding to use’. These themes reflected participants’ need for (i) guidance, particularly when first using the app or when entering data; (ii) the data entry process to be simple and the navigation intuitive; (iii) neither the amount of text nor range of options to be overwhelming; (iv) the app to reward them for effort and progress; and (v) it to be clear how the app could help alcohol reduction goals be reached. Conclusion: First time and experienced users want an alcohol reduction app to be easy, rewarding and beneficial to use. An easy-to-use app would reduce user burden, offer ongoing help and be aesthetically pleasing. A rewarding and beneficial app would provide positive reinforcement, give feedback about progress and demonstrate credibility. Users need help when first using the app and they need a compelling reason to continue using it.

Type: Article
Title: Factors influencing usability of a smartphone app to reduce excessive alcohol consumption: think-aloud and interview studies
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/fpubh.2017.00039
Publisher version: http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpu...
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright: © 2017 Crane, Garnett, Brown, West and Michie. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Keywords: APP, Digital Health, mHealth, alcohol, Think aloud, interview study, Qualitative
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Behavioural Science and Health
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1542184
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