Designing mobile applications to support mental health interventions

Mark Matthews, Gavin Doherty, David Coyle, John Sharry

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


The advent of mobile technology has brought computing to a wide range of new
contexts, some of which are highly sensitive and place new constraints on the
designer. In this chapter we discuss issues related to the design and evaluation of
mobile software for sensitive situations where access to the end-user is extremely
restricted. We focus on the specific example of technological interventions that
support adolescents in mental health care settings. We examine the practical and
ethical constraints placed on access to end-users and contexts of use, and how this
may affect approaches to design and evaluation. General design recommendations for
this area are described. We consider approaches to iterative design with mental health
care professionals, and how research on technological and therapeutic aspects may
proceed in tandem. We identify methods that can be used when conducting evaluation
in these limited situations and describe a methodology for maximising the value of
such evaluation. By way of illustration, we present the design and evaluation of a
mobile phone-based "mood diary" application designed for use in clinical situations
by adolescents undergoing mental health interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Research on User Interface Design and Evaluation for Mobile Technology
EditorsJoanna Lumsden
PublisherIGI Global
ISBN (Print)159904871X
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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