Chronic pain is a significant health issue that negatively affects the quality of life of many individuals around the world and its prevalence is increasing each year especially among the older population. Researchers believe that chronic pain is a leading cause of disability which consequently might cause job loss, economic problems, and social isolation. Up to 88% of chronic pain patients have other comorbidities such as depression, anxiety, cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases, diabetes mellitus, and cancer, thus, it is considered as an independent risk variable for mortality. There are more than 6,000 mobile apps for chronic pain for different conditions such as diabetes, migraines, asthma, vision and hearing loss, osteoarthritis, anemia, and depression. The general purpose of current apps is to monitor and acquire information about a specific physical condition. However, recent studies highlighted that chronic pain is not only biological but also psychosocial. Therefore, embedding the biopsychosocial metrics in cure solutions dramatically affects the efficiency of chronic pain management. To the best of our knowledge, there is no effective tool or app that (1) assesses the biopsychosocial elements of chronic pain; and (2) monitors patient outcome using biometric data indicating the autonomic nervous system in response to provider care and self-directed interventions. HealtHQB (HQB) Technologies Inc. has developed and commercialized a mobile app that collects biodata from a wearable device (Biostrap) and integrates it into psychosocial metrics and trait assessments to deliver comprehensive and ongoing real-time assessments and to recommend relevant self-directed interventions. In this research project, I aimed to evaluate the user experience (UX) of the HQB mobile app. Therefore, I conducted a qualitative research methodology to 1) evaluate the effectiveness and usability of the HQB app by focusing on app design, content, and its intervention algorithm 20 To identify the app issues as well as broken interactions and to recommend appropriate design solutions based on the UX insights and considering the UI and user interaction design adequacy 3) To create HQB user personas following the evaluation results. The UX evaluation results revealed that the equitability and accessibility of the HQB app should be improved. Besides, there are 44 design issues including UX, UI, Content, and Interaction issues which require re-design and enhancements. Moreover, the user persona of the app should be revised based on the users' characteristics and expectations. Finally, I have provided recommendations such as design solutions and enhancements for all the issues and areas that need improvement or revisions.
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Thesis advisor: Fisher, Brian
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