A Mobile Patient-Reported Outcome Measure App with Talking Touchscreen: Usability Assessment

Marlies Welbie*, Harriet Wittink, Marjan J. Westerman, Ilse Topper, Josca Snoei, Walter L.J.M. Devillé

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: In the past years, a mobile health (mHealth) app called the Dutch Talking Touch Screen Questionnaire (DTTSQ) was developed in The Netherlands. The aim of development was to enable Dutch physical therapy patients to autonomously complete a health-related questionnaire regardless of their level of literacy and digital skills. Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the usability (defined as the effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction) of the prototype of the DTTSQ for Dutch physical therapy patients with diverse levels of experience in using mobile technology. Methods: The qualitative Three-Step Test-Interview method, including both think-aloud and retrospective probing techniques, was used to gain insight into the usability of the DTTSQ. A total of 24 physical therapy patients were included. The interview data were analyzed using a thematic content analysis approach aimed at analyzing the accuracy and completeness with which participants completed the questionnaire (effectiveness), the time it took the participants to complete the questionnaire (efficiency), and the extent to which the participants were satisfied with the ease of use of the questionnaire (satisfaction). The problems encountered by the participants in this study were given a severity rating that was used to provide a rough estimate of the need for additional usability efforts. Results: All participants within this study were very satisfied with the ease of use of the DTTSQ. Overall, 9 participants stated that the usability of the app exceeded their expectations. The group of 4 average-/high-experienced participants encountered only 1 problem in total, whereas the 11 little-experienced participants encountered an average of 2 problems per person and the 9 inexperienced participants an average of 3 problems per person. A total of 13 different kind of problems were found during this study. Of these problems, 4 need to be addressed before the DTTSQ will be released because they have the potential to negatively influence future usage of the tool. The other 9 problems were less likely to influence future usage of the tool substantially. Conclusions: The usability of the DTTSQ needs to be improved before it can be released. No problems were found with satisfaction or efficiency during the usability test. The effectiveness needs to be improved by (1) making it easier to navigate through screens without the possibility of accidentally skipping one, (2) enabling the possibility to insert an answer by tapping on the text underneath a photograph instead of just touching the photograph itself, and (3) making it easier to correct wrong answers. This study shows the importance of including less skilled participants in a usability study when striving for inclusive design and the importance of measuring not just satisfaction but also efficiency and effectiveness during such studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere11617
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalJMIR Formative Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


  • EHealth
  • MHealth
  • Physical therapy specialty
  • Qualitative research
  • Surveys and questionnaires


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