On March 29, we hosted the 15th webinar in our “Keeping it real” series: “How to design a study app for a real-world study”.

Jon Spinage, CTO, and Amber Kudlac, Associate Director in Real-World Evidence & Analytics, discussed how data and technology can help transform a one-size-fits-all experience into an agile environment.

In this webinar, the speakers explored how having an agile mindset and implementing adaptability, flexibility, and customization into the build of a study app leads to the creation of an optimized product, thereby adapting the experience for different participants and accommodating study changes and participant requirements.   

This webinar will help you to: 

    • Understand why and how app adaptability leads to better engagement and data capture
    • Consider inclusive design and streamlined data capture
    • Consider strategies for engagement
    • Consider flexibility and customization
    • Consider frameworks and standardization for data processing and analysis.
yellow divider line

New BlogMaximizing the potential of your digital patient-centric study: 4 steps to inclusive app design

What do we mean by inclusive design in digital patient-centric studies?

When we talk about a product that is designed “inclusively”, we mean one that allows maximum usability from the widest range of people without the need for adaptation. In the context of digital patient-centric studies, “inclusive design” is not solely a product of a robust recruitment strategy and well-defined eligibility criteria. If we want to make sure that no individual or community is left behind, we must intentionally design our products to be inclusive.

At Vitaccess, we have worked with clients to design study apps for patients who have:

  • Immune conditions that cause significant tiredness, muscle weakness, eyelid droop, or difficulty in sitting for a long period of time
  • Neuropathies that affect the ability to scroll
  • Migraines that affect the ability to look at screens for a long period of time.

Everyone has abilities and limitations to those abilities, and inclusive design of a study app means accounting for common limitations experienced by the chosen cohort of participants. In some ways, having constraints is a good thing. Designing for people who have disabilities often results in designs that benefit people universally, and ensuring that the highest number of eligible participants can contribute effectively means that recruitment, engagement, and retention levels can be maximized.

What steps can we take to design an inclusive study app for patients?

  1. Co-create with patients and disease experts.

At Vitaccess, we have an internal unit dedicated to engagement with patient representatives and key opinion leaders (KOLs). Understanding the patient experience through disease experts allows us to develop “personas” or “vignettes” – i.e., hypothetical archetypes of actual users, which act as a combined representation of the needs, desires, and preferences of people who share common traits. These can be considered in study app design to inform user journeys – in other words, how would person A experience the app compared with person B?

Gaining feedback on the study app from patients and KOLs is an ongoing process, and can be achieved in a number of ways, including:

  • In-person events
  • Focus groups

Capturing screen recordings of people using the app can additionally facilitate direct insight into the user experience.

  1. Implement an effective quality check and testing process.

Software such as assistive technology or screen readers, which can increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of people with disabilities, can be assessed in the quality assurance and testing stages of study app design.

  1. Refer to accessibility standards and resources.

Plenty of legislation exists on what is or is not compliant with accessibility standards, and researchers can refer to resources such as Microsoft’s Inclusive Design or Google’s Material Design principles.

  1. Perform translatability assessments.

At Vitaccess we have linguistic validation experts who perform translatability assessments on study apps, ensuring that source language content is effectively translated into target languages. This confirms that accessibility standards are maintained for all participants in an international study.

Take-home messages

Inclusive design is good design. Accessibility considerations should be implemented from the earliest stages and throughout the study app design process, and will benefit all stakeholders by improving user experience as well as maximizing recruitment, engagement, and retention levels.

At Vitaccess, our in-house team of product development and patient engagement experts can help you to design a study app that is tailored to your target audience. Get in touch at info@vitaccess.com to find out more.

yellow divider line


Full author profiles can be found on our Who we are page.

yellow divider line

White Paper

Patient-centric real-world evidence: benefits, uses, and the power of digital technology

Skip to content