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, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 821–832 | Cite as

User-centred app design for speech sound disorders interventions with tablet computers

  • Mateja GačnikEmail author
  • Andreja Istenič Starčič
  • Janez Zaletelj
  • Matej Zajc
Long Paper


Traditional speech and language pathology practice (SLPP) faces challenges delivering effective and timely therapy due to long waiting lists, the need for regular practice outside the clinic and a lack of children’s motivation to engage in persistent practice. Technology has untapped potential to address these issues and improve SLPP. This paper describes the design of a tablet app for delivering technology-enhanced therapy for children with speech sound disorders and investigates the impact of the use of apps on SLPP. The initial design was informed by a nation-wide survey of speech-language pathologists (SLPs). The quantitative analysis disclosed that even though SLPs positively perceive mobile technology, they do not currently fully exploit it in their practice due to a lack of apps in their native language and the limited usefulness of apps in foreign languages. Using a user-centred design process, a multidisciplinary team created three prototypes and a final version of an app that has been tested in real therapeutic sessions during everyday practice and informed by feedback from SLPs and children. The observation analysis is presented based on an adaptation of Koole’s FRAME model. The qualitative findings indicate that SLPs identify mobile apps as enabling greater mobility, allowing new therapeutic approaches, creating possibilities for practice outside the therapeutic setting and increasing children’s motivation, supporting greater persistence to practise in the context of the therapy.


Speech-language pathology Speech sound disorders Children User-centred design Tablet game 



The project ‘The creative way to practical knowledge: Learning with the mobile terminal is a play’ was co-financed by the Slovene Ministry of Education, Science and Sport and the European Union through the European Social Fund.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of PrimorskaKoperSlovenia
  2. 2.Centre for Communication, Hearing and Speech PortorožPortorožSlovenia
  3. 3.Faculty of Civil and Geodetic EngineeringUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia
  4. 4.Institute of Psychology and EducationKazan Federal UniversityKazanRussia
  5. 5.Faculty of Electrical EngineeringUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia

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