National Academy of Medicine

Designing Health Literate Mobile Apps

By Jordan Broderick, Theresa Devine, Ellen Langhans, Andrew J. Lemerise, Silje Lier, Linda Harris
January 28, 2014 | Discussion Paper

As mobile devices become more popular mobile health applications (mHealth apps) present opportunities to improve health and wellness. However, poorly designed mHealth apps can contribute to the challenges many people have understanding and acting on health information—challenges that are exacerbated for users with low health literacy. The authors of this discussion paper call for app developers to build “health literate apps” that apply usability and health literacy strategies throughout the development process. The paper offers a set of strategies for developers and a case study to demonstrate how the strategies can be effectively applied in the development process.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and not necessarily of the authors’ organizations, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies). The paper is intended to help inform and stimulate discussion. It is not a report of the NAM or the National Academies. Copyright by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.