BACKGROUNDThe number of self-monitoring apps for bipolar disorder (BD) is increasing. The involvement of users in human-computer interaction (HCI) research has a long history and is becoming a core concern for designers working in this space. The application of models of involvement, such as user-centered design, is becoming standardized to optimize the reach, adoption, and sustained use of this type of technology.OBJECTIVEThis paper aims to examine the current ways in which users are involved in the design and evaluation of self-monitoring apps for BD by investigating 3 specific questions: are users involved in the design and evaluation of technology? If so, how does this happen? And what are the best practice ingredients regarding the design of mental health technology?METHODSWe reviewed the available literature on self-tracking technology for BD and make an overall assessment of the level of user involvement in design. The findings were reviewed by an expert panel, including an individual with lived experience of BD, to form best practice ingredients for the design of mental health technology. This combines the existing practices of patient and public involvement and HCI to evolve from the generic guidelines of user-centered design and to those that are tailored toward mental health technology.RESULTSFor the first question, it was found that out of the 11 novel smartphone apps included in this review, 4 (36%) self-monitoring apps were classified as having no mention of user involvement in design, 1 (9%) self-monitoring app was classified as having low user involvement, 4 (36%) self-monitoring apps were classified as having medium user involvement, and 2 (18%) self-monitoring apps were classified as having high user involvement. For the second question, it was found that despite the presence of extant approaches for the involvement of the user in the process of design and evaluation, there is large variability in whether the user is involved, how they are involved, and to what extent there is a reported emphasis on the voice of the user, which is the ultimate aim of such design approaches. For the third question, it is recommended that users are involved in all stages of design with the ultimate goal of empowering and creating empathy for the user.CONCLUSIONSUsers should be involved early in the design process, and this should not just be limited to the design itself, but also to associated research ensuring end-to-end involvement. Communities in health care-based design and HCI design need to work together to increase awareness of the different methods available and to encourage the use and mixing of the methods as well as establish better mechanisms to reach the target user group. Future research using systematic literature search methods should explore this further.
Majid, S., Reeves, S., Figueredo, G., Brown, S., Lang, A., Moore, M. & Morriss, R. (2021). The extent of user involvement in the design of self-tracking technology for dipolar bisorder: Literature review. JMIR Mental Health, 8(12), pp.e27991.
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