The importance of user experience in developing online mental health interventions
When assessing the merits of online mental health solutions there are clear advantages in terms of the positive clinical outcomes they yield. However, we here at SilverCloud advocate that another significant aspect should be given consideration namely the user’s experience of their treatment. Insights into user experience can and should be utilised to continuously inform and improve how online interventions are delivered, something that SilverCloud are committed in doing.
Why user experience is so important
The understanding and acknowledgement of the clients’ experiences as experts in their own care is crucial. Exploring users’ experiences, perceptions and satisfaction with interventions can only further serve to enhance online interventions as these factors are linked to improved functioning, clinical outcomes, and improved attrition rates (Ankuta and Abeles, 1993). A study into user experience (n=281) was conducted as part of our recent RCT to assess users’ acceptance and satisfaction with their online supported treatment for depression (Space from Depression).
The ability to access their treatment whenever, wherever was one of the most liked aspects by users.
One of the key features of SilverCloud is the integration of a human supporter. In the study 72% reported feeling well supported and said that the inclusion of a Supporter was one of the most liked features.
Users found the program easy to use and reported the interactive elements of the programme to be one of the best aspects.
44% felt it was better or much better than previous treatments they had received.
When asked to describe their experience of their programme in three words - a third of users felt their programme was effective and life changing.
On completion of their programme more than half of users had a hopeful/positive outlook for the future because of their programme. With two thirds feeling that it would have a long-term positive effect on their lives.
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 A randomized controlled trial of an internet-delivered treatment: Its potential as a low-intensity community intervention for adults with symptoms of depression. Behaviour Research and Therapy 2015;75:20-31. Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005796715300450