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Community engagement for user-centered design of a physical activity promoting mobile health (mHealth) application

Thursday, September 13, 2018 — Poster Session IV

3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
FAES Terrace


  • JN Ceasar
  • MR Andrews
  • SE Claudel
  • K Tamura
  • VM Mitchell
  • A Brooks
  • T Dodge
  • S El-Toukhy
  • N Farmer
  • K Middleton
  • M Sabado-Liwag
  • M Troncoso
  • G Wallen
  • TM Powell-Wiley


Background: Despite the need for developing effective mHealth-enabled interventions to improve cardiovascular health, the role of community engagement in developing and promoting user-centered design of mHealth tools targeting African American (AA) women remains extremely understudied. Objective: To engage community members in exploring user acceptability and optimization of a culturally-tailored physical activity (PA)-promoting mHealth application (app) by employing behavior theory-driven analysis of qualitative data. Methods: 16 overweight/obese AA women were recruited from low-income Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas, given commercially-available fitness trackers and a culturally-tailored, PA-promoting app for 20 days. The app provided motivational messages, interactive educational modules, and daily self-assessments. We conducted focus groups at a local church to discuss participants’ experiences with the PA-promoting app and fitness tracker. We analyzed the transcripts and identified emerging themes. Results: Participants (mean age=62.1 years, BMI=35.5 [kg/m2]) had an average daily step count of 7359 (SD=2201). Five themes regarding app usability and adoption emerged: 1) technical difficulties, 2) generational differences, 3) relationship with community, 4) social support, and 5) preferred features. Participants emphasized the need to optimize automation, increase educational material, and connect with community resources (e.g., cooking classes, exercise groups). Conclusions: Using community input, we will modify the PA-promoting app to increase user relatability, satisfaction, and adoption by incorporating local PA resources and images representative of the cohort. Theory-driven qualitative data analysis may be useful in promoting health equity as it facilitates user-centered design of mHealth tools and interventions, increasing likelihood of target user acceptance and intervention success.

Category: Health Disparities