Enhancing the Usability of a Mobile App for Process Evaluation in a Participatory Ergonomics Healthcare Intervention
Monitoring of workplace intervention processes in real-time can identify factors influencing intervention success or failure while they can still be modified if necessary. The aims of this study are to describe a process to assess and (where necessary) improve functionality and usability of a process evaluation mobile app. The app was developed for the research study “Safety and Health through Integrated, Facilitated Teams” (SHIFT), an evaluation of the CPH-NEW Healthy Workplace Participatory Program in public sector healthcare institutions. App users are members and co-facilitators of labor-management health and safety committees, internal program champions, other managers, and researchers. The app records four “functions:” meetings held, attendance and attendee feedback; project-related chats; and time spent on project activities. Post-meeting feedback surveys cover participant engagement, group dynamics, and usefulness of the intervention at each step. Pilot tests were conducted across combinations of device specifications to assess both functionality and usability. Functionality problems were fixed as they were documented. The average System Usability Scale scores for seven student testers were similar between the two interfaces: 72.9 for the mobile app and 72.5 for the website, both corresponding to “good” usability. Development of a mobile app requires substantial effort and personnel time which may not be apparent at the start of the project. Communication between researchers and the app developer was challenging at times. Conceptual and mental models of the specifications do not necessarily correspond due to differences in fields, experience, and priorities.
KeywordsMobile applications Usability testing User-experience design
This research was funded by Grant Number U19-OH008857, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH/CDC). The research team thanks the students and end-user volunteers who tested the mobile application and website.
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