Category: Technology


User-Centered Design of a Technology-Based Treatment Support System for CBT of Depression

Saturday, November 18
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Location: Sapphire Ballroom O & P, Level 4, Sapphire Level

Keywords: Technology / Mobile Health | Depression
Presentation Type: Symposium

Technologies, such as Internet websites and mobile apps, are increasingly being used to improve mental health and treatment practices. A large number of such resources exist, with substantial evidence supporting that they can be efficacious. Evidence is also emerging that such resources have little impact when deployed in routine care settings. One reason for the discrepancy between the availability of and evidence for such resources and their impact is their design. Design typically occurs top-down, with experts specifying features consistent with traditional models of treatment. Thus, most resources try to get people to do what experts believe is beneficial, and have paid less attention to what users want, or how to fit tools into the fabric of patients’ lives and clinicians’ workflow. 

Technology design, however, is often informed by User-Centered Design (UCD) practices, which include systematic and iterative processes of evaluation and design. At its core, UCD focuses on a collaboration between designers and stakeholders to provide stakeholders with low effort ways to inform, contribute to, and interact with technologies during formative processes. This presentation will describe the use of UCD methods for the design of a technology-based treatment support system for cognitive-behavioral therapy of depression. Patients (n = 13) undergoing treatment of depression and therapists (n = 11) providing cognitive-behavioral treatment for patients with depression were recruited to participate in needs assessments and design activities. Interviews and sketches were analyzed using thematic content analysis. As a result of stakeholder input, significant features of the system were designed to address barriers (e.g., inconsistent attendance, adherence, and recall) and facilitators (e.g., goal setting, feedback on symptom change) of successful treatment. This presentation will demonstrate how UCD practices can inform technologies for mental health and discuss implications for using technology for mental health more generally, making it easier for patients to take cognitive-behavioral therapy with them outside of the session.  

Stephen Schueller

Assistant Professor
Northwestern University


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User-Centered Design of a Technology-Based Treatment Support System for CBT of Depression

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