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User-centered Design of a Texas WIC App: A Focus Group Investigation

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Objective: The purpose of this research was to conduct the first stages of a user-centered design of a smartphone app designed to improve health behaviors among participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in Texas. Methods: Focus groups explored facilitators and barriers to health behaviors, current use of apps, and desired features in a WIC app. Results: Facilitators to improve health behaviors included access to information, support from healthcare practitioners and family, and implementation of strategies. Current app use themes included texting/chatting, accessing information, tracking/locating, planning/scheduling, sharing, and gaming. Frequencies of key themes within and across groups were used to inform app prototype design. Mock-ups of 15 prototype features were developed based on themes of facilitators and currently used app features. Participants agreed that having all features combined into a single WIC app would be convenient and provide trustworthy information from WIC. Conclusions: The enthusiasm of focus group participants for a comprehensive WIC app suggests that this initiative is timely, and that an app has potential to improve health behaviors. Future research should continue the user-centered design process through further evaluation of prototype features, incorporating cultural preferences at every step.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Family and Consumer Sciences, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX, USA 2: School of Family and Consumer Sciences, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX, USA. [email protected] 3: School of Social Work, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2016

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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