Background: User involvement in the development of health care services is important for the viability, usability, and effectiveness of services. This study reports on the second step of the co-design process.
Objective: The aim was to explore the significant challenges in advancing the co-design process during the requirements specification phase of a mobile Internet service for the self-management of physical activity (PA) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods: A participatory action research design was used to involve lead users and stakeholders as co-designers. Lead users (n=5), a clinical physiotherapist (n=1), researchers (n=2) with knowledge in PA in RA and behavioral learning theories, an eHealth strategist (n=1), and an officer from the patient organization (n=1) collaborated in 4 workshops. Data-collection methods included video recordings and naturalistic observations.
Results: The inductive qualitative video-based analysis resulted in 1 overarching theme, merging perspectives, and 2 subthemes reflecting different aspects of merging: (1) finding a common starting point and (2) deciding on design solutions. Seven categories illustrated the specific challenges: reaching shared understanding of goals, clarifying and handling the complexity of participants’ roles, clarifying terminology related to system development, establishing the rationale for features, negotiating features, transforming ideas into concrete features, and participants’ alignment with the agreed goal and task.
Conclusions: Co-designing the system requirements of a mobile Internet service including multiple stakeholders was a complex and extensive collaborative decision-making process. Considering, valuing, counterbalancing, and integrating different perspectives into agreements and solutions (ie, the merging of participants’ perspectives) were crucial for moving the process forward and were considered the core challenges of co-design. Further research is needed to replicate the results and to increase knowledge on key factors for a successful co-design of health care services.
JMIR Publications , 2015. Vol. 4, no 3, e111
eHealth; participatory design; rheumatoid arthritis; user involvement; video observations