Design and evaluation guidelines for mental health technologies

Gavin Doherty, David Coyle, Mark Matthews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

98 Citations (Scopus)


It is increasingly recognised that technology has the potential to significantly improve access, engagement, effectiveness and affordability of treatment for mental health problems. The development of such technology has recently become the subject of Human–Computer Interaction research. As an emerging area with a unique set of constraints and design concerns, there is a need to establish guidelines which encapsulate the knowledge gained from existing development projects. We present an initial set of design guidelines extracted from the literature and from a series of development projects for software to support mental health interventions. The first group of guidelines pertain to the design process itself, addressing the limitations in access to clients in mental healthcare settings, and strategies for collaborative design with therapists. The second group considers major design factors in the development of these technologies, including therapeutic models, client factors, and privacy. The third group concerns conduct of the evaluation process, and the constraints on evaluating mental healthcare technologies. We motivate and explain these guidelines with reference to concrete design projects and problems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-252
Number of pages10
JournalInteracting with Computers
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Mental health
  • Design guidelines
  • Design process
  • Clinical evaluation
  • Psychotherapy

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