Mobile app prototype for bipolar disorder management
User Experience, Information Architecture, Usability Testing

Our semester-long project for MHI2004 Human Factors and Change Management was to iteratively develop and evaluate a personal mobile health application for addictions and mental health. We explored interventions for bipolar disorder (BPD) and created a prototype mobile application for the self-management of BPD, named Spectrum.

Environmental Analysis

To understand the needs of people with BPD, we conducted literature reviews, market analyses and an interview with an individual with BPD. Many existing mental health applications aimed at BPD were not BPD-specific. One group member interviewed a personal contact living with BPD, which gave us a unique personal perspective of the impact of the disorder. Through this user needs assessment, we identified several themes.

Areas of Opportunity

Emotional Awareness
From our research, individuals with BPD can better anticipate their episodes and emotional triggers by regularly recording their moods and routines.

Social Support
Being able to immediately seek support from trusted family members and doctors may help to prevent an overwhelming episode. Because individuals with BPD can be impacted socially and in their day-to-day lives, legal and employment resources would also potentially be useful.

In general, it was found that users of mental health applications value discretion and the privacy of their health information.

Target Audience
Individuals with BPD with strong social support, who are currently trying to manage their symptoms.

Wireframes & Prototypes

We first established our information architecture and application flow. We then sketched out our ideas for the main screen and menus.

We sketched our initial user interfaces and created paper wireframes before adapting them into an interactive, medium fidelity prototype in PowerPoint. For example, we improved the main screen of our initial PowerPoint prototype (left) on the next iteration based on results from a heuristic analysis (centre) and usability testing (right).

The evolution of our day tracker screen from our first iteration to post-testing, elaborating on our mood tracker concept.

Usability Testing

Using our PowerPoint prototype, we conducted usability testing at the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation’s Human Factors labs. We produced usability scenarios and took comprehensive time-stamped notes on participant feedback, expressions, and navigation. We analyzed our results to identify the severity of usability issues and what to improve or keep for the final iteration.

January-April 2014