Developing a Web-Based App to Assess Mental Health Difficulties in Secondary School Pupils: Qualitative User-Centered Design Study.
BACKGROUND: Secondary schools are an ideal setting to identify young people experiencing mental health difficulties such as anxiety or depression. However, current methods of identification rely on cumbersome paper-based assessments, which are lengthy and time-consuming to complete and resource-intensive for schools to manage. Artemis-A is a prototype web app that uses computerized adaptive testing technology to shorten the length of the assessment and provides schools with a simple and feasible solution for mental health assessment. OBJECTIVE: The objectives of this study are to coproduce the main components of the Artemis-A app with stakeholders to enhance the user interface, to carry out usability testing and finalize the interface design and functionality, and to explore the acceptability and feasibility of using Artemis-A in schools. METHODS: This study involved 2 iterative design feedback cycles-an initial stakeholder consultation to inform the app design and user testing. Using a user-centered design approach, qualitative data were collected through focus groups and interviews with secondary school pupils, parents, school staff, and mental health professionals (N=48). All transcripts were thematically analyzed. RESULTS: Initial stakeholder consultations provided feedback on preferences for the user interface design, school administration of the assessment, and outcome reporting. The findings informed the second iteration of the app design and development. The unmoderated usability assessment indicated that young people found the app easy to use and visually appealing. However, school staff suggested that additional features should be added to the school administration panel, which would provide them with more flexibility for data visualization. The analysis identified four themes relating to the implementation of the Artemis-A in schools, including the anticipated benefits and drawbacks of the app. Actionable suggestions for designing mental health assessment apps are also provided. CONCLUSIONS: Artemis-A is a potentially useful tool for secondary schools to assess the mental health of their pupils that requires minimal staff input and training. Future research will evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of Artemis-A in a range of UK secondary schools.