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JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2013 Sep 4;1(2):e18. doi: 10.2196/mhealth.2706.

Development of a Smartphone App for a Genetics Website: The Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Online Genetics Database (ALSoD).

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1
King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, London, United Kingdom.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The ALS Online Genetics Database (ALSoD) website holds mutation, geographical, and phenotype data on genes implicated in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and links to bioinformatics resources, publications, and tools for analysis. On average, there are 300 unique visits per day, suggesting a high demand from the research community. To enable wider access, we developed a mobile-friendly version of the website and a smartphone app.

OBJECTIVE:

We sought to compare data traffic before and after implementation of a mobile version of the website to assess utility.

METHODS:

We identified the most frequently viewed pages using Google Analytics and our in-house analytic monitoring. For these, we optimized the content layout of the screen, reduced image sizes, and summarized available information. We used the Microsoft .NET framework mobile detection property (HttpRequest.IsMobileDevice in the Request.Browser object in conjunction with HttpRequest.UserAgent), which returns a true value if the browser is a recognized mobile device. For app development, we used the Eclipse integrated development environment with Android plug-ins. We wrapped the mobile website version with the WebView object in Android. Simulators were downloaded to test and debug the applications.

RESULTS:

The website automatically detects access from a mobile phone and redirects pages to fit the smaller screen. Because the amount of data stored on ALSoD is very large, the available information for display using smartphone access is deliberately restricted to improve usability. Visits to the website increased from 2231 to 2820, yielding a 26% increase from the pre-mobile to post-mobile period and an increase from 103 to 340 visits (230%) using mobile devices (including tablets). The smartphone app is currently available on BlackBerry and Android devices and will be available shortly on iOS as well.

CONCLUSIONS:

Further development of the ALSoD website has allowed access through smartphones and tablets, either through the website or directly through a mobile app, making genetic data stored on the database readily accessible to researchers and patients across multiple devices.

KEYWORDS:

ALSoD; Web-bases; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; app; bioinformatics; database; frontotemporal dementia; genetics; mobile website

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