Refining the content and design of an alcohol reduction app, Drink Less, to improve its usability and effectiveness: A mixed methods approach

Claire Garnett*, Olga Perski, Susan Michie, Robert West, Matt Field, Eileen Kaner, Marcus R. Munafò, Felix Greaves, Matthew Hickman, Robyn Burton, Jamie Brown

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Digital interventions have the potential to reduce alcohol consumption, although evidence on the effectiveness of apps is lacking. Drink Less is a popular, evidence-informed app with good usability, putting it in a strong position to be improved upon prior to conducting a confirmatory evaluation. This paper describes the process of refining Drink Less to improve its usability and likely effectiveness. Methods: The refinement consisted of three phases and involved qualitative and quantitative (mixed) methods: i) identifying changes to app content, based on findings from an initial evaluation of Drink Less, an updated review of digital alcohol interventions and a content analysis of user feedback; ii) designing new app modules with public input and a consultation with app developers and researchers; and iii) improving the app's usability through user testing. Results: As a result of the updated review of digital alcohol interventions and user feedback analysis in Phase 1, three new modules: 'Behaviour Substitution', 'Information about Antecedents' and 'Insights', were added to the app. One existing module - 'Identity Change' - was removed based on the initial evaluation of Drink Less. Phases 2 and 3 resulted in changes to existing features, such as improving the navigational structure and onboarding process, and clarifying how to edit drinks and goals. Conclusions: A mixed methods approach was used to refine the content and design of Drink Less, providing insights into how to improve its usability and likely effectiveness. Drink Less is now ready for a confirmatory evaluation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number511
JournalF1000Research
Volume10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Garnett C et al.

Keywords

  • Alcohol
  • Behaviour change
  • Development
  • Digital
  • Drink Less app
  • Refinement
  • Smartphone app

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