This study explored the usability of a new Internet-based educational program of disease-specific information, self-management strategies and social support for adolescents with hemophilia.
A comprehensive eight-module educational website was developed, based on results of an in-depth needs assessment. The website was tested for usability, using qualitative methods that included semi-structured, audio taped interviews and observation by a trained observer. To determine the usability and intuitiveness of the user interface of the “Teens Taking Charge: Managing Hemophilia Online” intervention, testing occurred in three cycles (4 participants per cycle). Participants were asked to work through standardized parts/features of the program, with changes to the prototype made after each cycle. Thematic analysis using a collaborative and iterative process was used to organize data into categories that reflected the emerging themes.
A purposive sample of twelve adolescents (range 12–18 years, mean 15.4 years) was recruited from a Canadian tertiary care center. All of the participants had access to a computer at home and felt comfortable using the Internet. Teens responded positively to the content, appearance and theme of the website (promoting self-management in youth with hemophilia). Subjects thought that it was easy to navigate, use and understand. Overall, they felt the content was appropriate and geared to meet the unique needs of adolescents with hemophilia. The multi-media components (videos, animations and quizzes) were thought to enrich the experience and make the program appealing. Adolescents provided ideas on how the website user-interface could be improved in terms of its usability (navigation, format and layout). Minor changes to the website user-interface were made and tested after the first and second cycles of testing. No further problems were identified in final cycle of testing. At the teens' suggestion, additional social media elements were added (discussion board, “ask the expert” section) to build in elements of support and increase interactivity. Most participants felt this program would be helpful prior to transition of care and beyond.
Usability testing was the crucial first step in ensuring the acceptability and ease of use of “Teens Taking Charge: Managing Hemophilia Online”. Findings from this study were used to refine the website prototype. A pilot study is underway to determine the feasibility of using a randomized controlled trial to study the Internet-based self-management program.
Breakey: Baxter Bioscience: Research Funding, Salary Support. Ignas:Baxter Bioscience: Salary Support.