User Interface Design Recommendations for Fitting Smartphone Applications to Persons with Parkinson


This work arises from the need to fit one of the latest technological tools to persons with Parkinson.

Previous research has explored how to adapt some technological devices to this group of persons. However, little has been done to adapt touch interfaces and even less to smartphones. In this work we document the research done in order to study the impact of Parkinson disease (PD) in the interaction with a smartphone, and present as well a set of recommendations to fit it to persons with Parkinson.

The research followed in the first stage a user-centered design (UCD) process. It started with a literature review focused on the symptoms of PD, followed by a series of interviews to complement it with more practical information about the actual effects of PD symptoms on people’s lives and ended with four usability experiments in order to test the assumptions about how PD would affect the use of the smartphone made in the earlier phases.

Moreover, the interviews were analysed using an innovative methodology in HCI, Grounded Theory. Although this methodology had its origin in social sciences more than 40 years ago, it was only a few years ago that it started to be an adopted practice in HCI. The usability experiments were conceived in an attractive game-like design and benefited from an automated analysis.

This work was done in the scope of the REMPARK project, an European funded project to develop a smartphone-based Personal Health System with detection, response and treatment capabilities for management of PD.


Author: João Cevada

Type: MSc thesis

Partner: Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto

Year: 2012