UK-based UX design and development agency, Sigma, has been selected by health app evaluation and advisor organisation, ORCHA, to improve usability and accessibility of their health apps.
ORCHA provides review, accreditation services, reports and advice to developers, detailing what can be done to better meet the needs of health and care providers, including connecting them with specialists in the fields where help is needed.
After noticing that a high proportion of apps fail because of usability criteria, it formed a partnership with Sigma.
WHY IT MATTERS
Through the collaboration, both organisations aim to make the health app ecosystem more inclusive and accessible, as these are key criteria for the health and care industry.
The aim is to ensure functionality of health apps is perceivable, usable and well-understood by all users, including those with impaired vision, hearing loss or deafness, motor difficulties or neurodivergent conditions.
It will also train and coach app vendors and developers to embed inclusive thinking into the research and development cycle and share insights to assist the wider digital health tech and academic research community.
This will include researching and prototyping new health app concepts, and supporting business case development through feasibility user research and testing.
THE LARGER CONTEXT
Over the course of the coronavirus crisis, digital health apps have become increasingly embedded in our standard healthcare provisions, which has caused experts to caution the need for regulation. MobiHealthNews recently covered how different countries are tackling the need for the regulation of health apps.
Last year, ORCHA partnered up with the Dutch Foundation for Mental Health (MIND) to support their efforts to create an app signposting platform.
ORCHA's founding CEO, Liz Ashall-Payne, will be speaking at the HIMSS & Health 2.0 European Digital Event (7-11 September 2020).
ON THE RECORD
Hilary Stephenson, managing director at Sigma, said: “We have been increasing our work and campaigning in the field of tech accessibility, particularly in health and life science research. Working with ORCHA gives us the opportunity to reach more people, to help raise awareness of inclusive design and start to build a community of practice that values accessibility and user experience. We can’t wait to help app developers, patients and clinicians take a more user-centred approach to digital health.”
Paul Davies at ORCHA said: “The health app sector is full of growth and possibility for helping people to live healthier lives, manage their conditions more effectively and provide useful information to clinicians and healthcare practitioners. But to truly harness those benefits, it is vital that developers, manufacturers and vendors have a clearsighted understanding of how to ensure accessibility and inclusivity. By partnering with Sigma, we will be able to act as real advocates and advisors in driving the industry forward.”