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

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


Objective: 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.

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

Results: 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.

Conclusions: 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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Food Assistance / organization & administration*
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mobile Applications*
  • Software Design
  • Texas
  • Young Adult