User-Centered Design of A Novel Risk Prediction Behavior Change Tool Augmented With an Artificial Intelligence Engine (MyDiabetesIQ): A Sociotechnical Systems Approach

Cathy Shields, Scott Cunningham, Deborah J Wake, Evridiki Fioratou, Doogie Brodie, Sam Philip, Nicholas Conway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
65 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Diabetes and its complications account for 10% of annual health care spending in the United Kingdom. Digital health care interventions (DHIs) can provide scalable care, fostering diabetes self-management and reducing the risk of complications. Tailorability (providing personalized interventions) and usability are key to DHI engagement/effectiveness. User-centered design of DHIs (aligning features to end users’ needs) can generate more usable interventions, avoiding unintended consequences and improving user engagement. Objective: MyDiabetesIQ (MDIQ) is an artificial intelligence engine intended to predict users’ diabetes complications risk. It will underpin a user interface in which users will alter lifestyle parameters to see the impact on their future risks. MDIQ will link to an existing DHI, My Diabetes My Way (MDMW). We describe the user-centered design of the user interface of MDIQ as informed by human factors engineering. Methods: Current users of MDMW were invited to take part in focus groups to gather their insights about users being shown their likelihood of developing diabetes-related complications and any risks they perceived from using MDIQ. Findings from focus groups informed the development of a prototype MDIQ interface, which was then user-tested through the “think aloud” method, in which users speak aloud about their thoughts/impressions while performing prescribed tasks. Focus group and think aloud transcripts were analyzed thematically, using a combination of inductive and deductive analysis. For think aloud data, a sociotechnical model was used as a framework for thematic analysis. Results: Focus group participants (n=8) felt that some users could become anxious when shown their future complications risks. They highlighted the importance of easy navigation, jargon avoidance, and the use of positive/encouraging language. User testing of the prototype site through think aloud sessions (n=7) highlighted several usability issues. Issues included confusing visual cues and confusion over whether user-updated information fed back to health care teams. Some issues could be compounded for users with limited digital skills. Results from the focus groups and think aloud workshops were used in the development of a live MDIQ platform. Conclusions: Acting on the input of end users at each iterative stage of a digital tool’s development can help to prioritize users throughout the design process, ensuring the alignment of DHI features with user needs. The use of the sociotechnical framework encouraged the consideration of interactions between different sociotechnical dimensions in finding solutions to issues, for example, avoiding the exclusion of users with limited digital skills. Based on user feedback, the tool could scaffold good goal setting, allowing users to balance their palatable future complications risk against acceptable lifestyle changes. Optimal control of diabetes relies heavily on self-management. Tools such as MDMW/ MDIQ can offer personalized support for self-management alongside access to users’ electronic health records, potentially helping to delay or reduce long-term complications, thereby providing significant reductions in health care costs.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere29973
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJMIR Human Factors
Issue number1
Early online dateNov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2022


  • diabetes mellitus
  • digital health intervention
  • eHealth
  • artificial intelligence
  • user-centred design
  • human factors
  • think aloud
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • EHealth
  • Human factors
  • Digital health intervention
  • Think aloud
  • User-centred design
  • Artificial intelligence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics


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