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Am J Health Behav. 2016 Jul;40(4):461-71. doi: 10.5993/AJHB.40.4.8.

User-centered Design of a Texas WIC App: A Focus Group Investigation.

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School of Family and Consumer Sciences, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX, USA.
School of Family and Consumer Sciences, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX, USA.
School of Social Work, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX, USA.



The purpose of this research was to conduct the first stages of a user-centered design of a smartphone app designed to improve health behaviors among participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in Texas.


Focus groups explored facilitators and barriers to health behaviors, current use of apps, and desired features in a WIC app.


Facilitators to improve health behaviors included access to information, support from healthcare practitioners and family, and implementation of strategies. Current app use themes included texting/chatting, accessing information, tracking/locating, planning/scheduling, sharing, and gaming. Frequencies of key themes within and across groups were used to inform app prototype design. Mock-ups of 15 prototype features were developed based on themes of facilitators and currently used app features. Participants agreed that having all features combined into a single WIC app would be convenient and provide trustworthy information from WIC.


The enthusiasm of focus group participants for a comprehensive WIC app suggests that this initiative is timely, and that an app has potential to improve health behaviors. Future research should continue the user-centered design process through further evaluation of prototype features, incorporating cultural preferences at every step.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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