Design requirements for a digital aid to support adults with mild learning disabilities during clinical consultations: a qualitative study with experts

Ryan Colin Gibson, Matt-Mouley Bouamrane, Mark Dunlop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Adults with mild learning disabilities (MLDs) face a plethora of obstacles when accessing effective health care. Central to many of these barriers is communication, with medical practitioners often remaining untrained on how to interact with patients who have learning disabilities (LDs). To date, research on how to promote this communication has largely centered on the development of low-tech aids. Objective: The objective of this study was to assess the feasibility of utilizing tablet technologies to promote communication between general practitioners and patients with MLDs. We achieved this by identifying a set of design requirements from experts in LDs. Methods: A set of design guidelines was formed during a 2-phase process. Phase 1 involved conducting a series of requirements-gathering interviews with 10 experts in LDs-the protocol of which emerged from the results of a separate scoping review. The interviews were subjected to a framework analysis to discern the key requirements discussed by the experts, and these were embedded within a technology probe. In phase 2, this probe was presented to a subset (n=4) of the experts during a round of usability studies, and the feedback received was used to update the requirements identified in phase 1. Results: An initial set of design requirements has been produced that may assist in the development of clinical Alternative and Augmentative Communication technologies for adults with MLDs. Factors that must be considered range from the health, physical and cognitive needs of stakeholders, to the more individual needs of users. Conclusions: The experts involved in the study were optimistic about the proposed app. They believe that such technologies can help to alleviate time constraints and promote communication by presenting information in a form understood by both practitioners and patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere10449
Number of pages19
JournalJMIR Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2019


  • learning disabilities
  • clinical consultations
  • assistive and augmentative devices
  • assistive technologies


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  • Euan Minto Prize

    Alkhurayyif, Yazeed Ahmed A (Recipient), Almaghairbe, Rafig H Guma (Recipient), Kheirbakhsh Abadi, Aydin (Recipient), Smith, Lauren (Recipient), Davies, Steven (Recipient), Foster, Catherine (Recipient), Nicol, Emma (Recipient), Goodfellow, Martin (Recipient), Canning, Cheryl (Recipient) & Gibson, Ryan Colin (Recipient), 2018

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)


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