Accepted for/Published in: JMIR mHealth and uHealth
Date Submitted: May 19, 2020
Open Peer Review Period: May 19, 2020 - Jul 1, 2020
Date Accepted: Jul 26, 2020
(closed for review but you can still tweet)
Design and Usability Evaluation of Mobile Voice-added Food Reporting for the Elderly: Randomized Controlled Trial
Advances in voice technology have raised new possibilities for applications related to daily health maintenance. However, the usability of such technologies for older users remains unclear and requires further investigation.
We designed and evaluated two innovative mobile voice-added apps for food intake reporting, namely voice-only reporting (VOR) and voice-button reporting (VBR). Each app features a unique interactive procedure for reporting food intake. With VOR, users verbally report the main contents of each dish, while VBR provides both voice and existing touch screen inputs for food intake reporting. The relative usability of the two apps was assessed through the metrics of accuracy, efficiency, and user perception.
The two mobile apps were compared in a head-to-head parallel randomized trial evaluation. A group of fifty-seven adults aged 60-90 (male=12; female=45) was recruited from a retirement community and randomized into two experimental groups, i.e., VOR (n=30) and VBR (n=27). Both groups were tested using the same set of seventeen food items including dishes and beverages selected and allocated to present distinct breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals. All participants used a 7-inch tablet computer for the test. The resulting data were analyzed to evaluate reporting accuracy and time efficiency, and system usability scale (SUS) was used to measure user perception.
For the eight error types identified in the experiment, the VBR group participants were significantly more error-prone, related to the tasks required in use of screen-touch buttons. The highest error rates in the VOR group were due to incomprehensible reporting speech (6.7%), while the highest error rates in the VBR group were related to failure to make required button taps (10.3%). The VOR group required significantly less time to complete food reporting. The overall subjective reaction of the two groups based on SUS surpassed the benchmark and were not significantly different.
Experimental results show that VOR outperformed VBR, suggesting that voice-only food input reporting is preferable for elderly users. The voice-added apps offer a potential mechanism for the self-management of dietary intake tool by elderly users. Our study contributes an evidence-based evaluation of prototype design and selection under a user-centered design (UCD) model. The results provide a useful reference for selecting optimal user interaction design. Clinical Trial: International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial Registry ISRCTN36710750; http://www.controlled-trials.com/ISRCTN17335889/17335889.
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