By now, you have realistically linked the potential of mHealth to your Desired Results, and started to conduct a Landscape Analysis to learn how mHealth might be applied within the actual setting. Next up: defining the target population. Too often, mHealth efforts fail because the designers did not really understand the people who would actually use the tool or service.
Working with members of the target audience from the beginning will validate the mHealth concept’s viability. End users must be involved throughout the planning and design process to ensure the mHealth solution is appropriate and usable for the intended purpose. Ideally, the concept is generated by members of the target population; whether or not that is the reality, the questions outlined in this section will help you conduct formative research and determine whether the concept is worth pursuing. The following steps will help you see your prospective effort through the eyes of your target audience(s).
- Define the Target Audience
- Explore Technology Access & Mobile Use of Target Audience
- Conduct Formative Research with Members of the Target Audience
Once you work through the key considerations, you will have a clear sense whether your program’s mHealth concept is an appropriate solution for the intended end user and whether you should pursue next steps in developing the solution. If you have a complete logic model and strong evidence to support need and demand for the mHealth solution, then you have a validated mHealth concept, and you are ready to continue forward with Solution Design & Testing.
THE EXPERTS SAY...
“Involving end users in the concept design is a best practice. When developing a product, you want to make sure it’s relevant, useful, and that users will get some benefit from using it, otherwise they won’t use it.” – James BonTempo, CCP (with Jhpiego at the time of the interview)
“[MedicMobile is] a strong supporter and user of human-centered design, which is an approach to making sense of the human element in innovation projects. It starts with an ethnographic perspective, seeing circumstances through the user's eyes. We then have structured steps at each stage of the design process. First, you start talking to users about an idea you have, for example during in-depth interviews or while shadowing them at work. When you have a sketch or prototype which describes your proposed program, go back to users and ask them about it again. You do this in multiple iterations. The idea is to create a feedback loop that will improve your project in cycle after cycle.”– Isaac Holeman, Medic Mobile