Understanding and improving through mobile technology users’ experience of bladder training
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In 2018, 20.1% of the worldwide population was affected by the Overactive Bladder (OAB) condition. Although treatable, it remains undertreated and undiagnosed. Since mobile health applications are increasingly being used to support people during self-managed treatment, a smartphone could be the ideal technology for an OAB mobile health application. This research aims to investigate whether a mobile health application could be an appropriate tool to help people suffering from OAB symptoms increase their adherence to self-managed treatment and raise awareness of symptoms. The research conducted in this thesis began with a detailed literature review, followed by requirements gathering interviews with healthcare professionals and co-design interviews with people suffering from OAB symptoms (end-users). Based on the literature review and requirements gathering findings, a first application prototype was designed and developed. As part of an iterative design process, interviews were later carried out with the same two stakeholder categories to evaluate the prototype and understand how the user interface and the interaction with the functions can be improved. Following the prototype interview findings and a second development phase, the application was evaluated during a short field study of nine days with end-users. The study aimed to understand whether using the application in a real-life context has an impact on how end-users view it and if the application contains any outstanding usability issues. Following the short field study findings and a third development phase, a six weeks uncontrolled field study was conducted with end-users. The aim was to determine whether the application has the potential to raise awareness of symptoms and help people adhere to self-managed treatment. The research presented in this thesis is the first known attempt of investigating how a mobile health application could actively support people suffering from a sensitive condition such as OAB. This investigation uniquely involved people suffering from OAB symptoms in the design and evaluation studies. This thesis provides contributions to the Human-Computer Interaction field by showing that gender is an important factor that needs to be considered when gathering design ideas with people suffering from a sensitive health condition. This thesis also makes design recommendations, that could potentially be applied to other mobile health applications for sensitive health conditions. Moreover, it demonstrates that a mobile health application has the potential to help people adhere to OAB self-managed treatment and raise awareness of symptoms.