Systematic and iterative development of a smartphone app to promote sun-protection among holidaymakers: design of a prototype and results of usability and acceptability testing

Angela M Rodrigues , Falko Sniehotta, Mark A Birch-Machin, Patrick Olivier, Vera Araújo-Soares

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background: Sunburn and intermittent exposure to ultraviolet rays are risk factors for melanoma. Sunburn is a common experience during holidays, making tourism settings of particular interest for skin cancer prevention. Holidaymakers are a volatile populations found at different locations, which may make them difficult to reach. Given the widespread use of smartphones, evidence suggests that this might be a novel, convenient, scalable, and feasible way of reaching the target population.

Objective: The main objective of this study was to describe and appraise the process of systematically developing a smartphone intervention (mISkin app) to promote sun-protection during holidays.

Methods: The iterative development process of the mISkin app was conducted over four sequential stages: (1) identify evidence on the most effective behavior change techniques (BCTs) used (active ingredients) as well as theoretical predictors and theories, (2) evidence-based intervention design, (3) co-design with users of the mISkin app prototype, and (4) refinement of the app. Each stage provided key findings that were subsequently used to inform the design of the mISkin app.

Results: The sequential approach to development integrates different strands of evidence to inform the design of an evidence-based intervention. A systematic review on previously tested interventions to promote sun-protection provided cues and constraints for the design of this intervention. The development and design of the mISkin app also incorporated other sources of information, such as other literature reviews and experts’ consultations. The developed prototype of the mISkin app was evaluated by engaging potential holidaymakers in the refinement and further development of the mISkin app through usability (ease-of-use) and acceptability testing of the intervention prototype. All 17 participants were satisfied with the mISkin prototype and expressed willingness to use it. Feedback on the app was integrated in the optimization process of the mISkin app.

Conclusions: The mISkin app was designed to promote sun-protection among holidaymakers and was based on current evidence, experts’ knowledge and experience, and user involvement. Based on user feedback, the app has been refined and a fully functional version is ready for formal testing in a feasibility pilot study.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere112
JournalJMIR Research Protocols
Volume6
Issue number6
Early online date12 Jun 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017

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