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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Usability of a Mobile Phone App Aimed at Adolescents and Young Adults During and After Cancer Treatment: Qualitative Study

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BACKGROUND: Adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer patients are seldom involved in the process of testing cancer-related apps. As such, knowledge about youth-specific content, functionalities, and design is sparse. As a part of a co-creation process of developing the mobile phone app Kræftværket, AYAs in treatment for cancer and in follow-up participated in a usability think-aloud test of a prototype of the app. Thus, the app was initiated, created, and evaluated by AYAs with cancer experience.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to explore the results of a think-aloud test administered to see how the prototype of the app Kræftværket was used by AYAs in treatment for cancer and in follow-up, and to investigate the strengths and weaknesses of the app.

METHODS: A total of 20 AYA cancer patients aged 16 to 29 years (n=10 on treatment, n=10 in follow-up) were provided with the first version of the co-created mobile phone app Kræftværket during a 6-week test period (April-May 2018). After the test period, 15 participated in individual usability think-aloud tests. The tests were video-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using a thematic analysis approach.

RESULTS: The thematic analysis led to the following themes and subthemes: navigation (subthemes: intuition, features, buttons, home page, profile), visual and graphic design (subthemes: overview, text and colors, photos, videos, YouTube), and usefulness (subthemes: notifications, posts, adding). The analysis identified gender differences in app utilization-female participants seemed to be more familiar with parts of the app. The app seemed to be more relevant to AYAs receiving treatment due to app functions such as tracking symptoms and searching for relevant information. Lack of notifications and incorrect counting of posts were perceived as barriers to using the app.

CONCLUSIONS: Usability testing is crucial to meet the needs of the AYA target audience. AYA cancer apps should preferably be relevant, targeted, and unique, and include a tracking function and AYA-produced videos. Notifications and correct marking and ordering of posts are critical to make apps engaging and dynamic. Further research is recommended to evaluate the Kræftværket app with the input of more AYAs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJMIR cancer
Volume6
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)e15008
ISSN2369-1999
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2020

ID: 60921620