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Currently accepted at: JMIR Cancer

Date Submitted: Jun 19, 2019
Open Peer Review Period: Jun 7, 2019 - Jul 26, 2019
Date Accepted: Oct 17, 2019
(closed for review but you can still tweet)

This paper has been accepted and is currently in production.

It will appear shortly on 10.2196/15008

The final accepted version (not copyedited yet) is in this tab.

Usability of a smartphone app aimed at adolescents and young adults during and after cancer treatment: A qualitative study

  • Signe Hanghøj; 
  • Kirsten A. Boisen; 
  • Maiken Hjerming; 
  • Abbey Elsbernd; 
  • Helle Pappot; 



Adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer patients are seldom involved in the process of testing cancer related apps, thus, knowledge about youth specific content, functionalities, and design, is sparse. As a part of a co-creation process of developing the smartphone app Kræftværket, AYAs with cancer experience participated in a usability think-aloud test of a prototype of the app.


The aim of this study was to explore the results of a think-aloud test administered to see how the prototype of the app Kræftværket was used by AYAs in treatment for cancer and in follow up, and to investigate strengths and weaknesses of the app.


A total of 20 AYA cancer patients aged 16-29 years (n=10 on treatment, n=10 in follow up) were provided with the first version of the co-created smartphone app ‘Kræftværket’ during a 6-week test period (April-May 2018). After the test period, n=15 participated in individual usability think-aloud tests. The tests were video recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using a thematic analysis approach.


The thematic analysis led to the following themes presented with subthemes in brackets: Navigation (Intuition, Features, Buttons, Frontpage, Profile), Visual and graphic design (Overview, Text and colours, Photos, Videos, YouTube), and Usefulness (Notifications, Posts, Adds). The analysis pointed to gender differences as female participants seemed to be more familiar with parts of the app. Moreover, the app seemed to be more relevant to AYAs in treatment in terms of tracking symptoms and searching information.


For AYAs to use a youth-oriented cancer app, it is crucial that it contains relevant and targeted content, which cannot be found in other apps. AYAs are were especially pleased with the ability to track symptoms and activities and for videos presenting cancer relevant tips by other AYAs with cancer experience. Notifications are needed to remind AYAs to use the app. Moreover, usability testing is crucial during the app developing process to improve the app according to the needs of the target audience. Clinical Trial: The study was not based on a trial.


Please cite as:

Hanghøj S, Boisen KA, Hjerming M, Elsbernd A, Pappot H

Usability of a smartphone app aimed at adolescents and young adults during and after cancer treatment: A qualitative study

DOI: 10.2196/15008


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