Usability and usefulness of a mobile health app for pregnancy-related work advice: mixed-methods approach

Monique van Beukering*, Adeline Velu, Liesbeth van den Berg, Marjolein Kok, Ben Willem Mol, Monique Frings-Dresen, Robert de Leeuw, Joris van der Post, Linda Peute

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Pregnant women are often unaware of the potential risks that working conditions can cause to them and their unborn child. A mobile health (mHealth) app, the Pregnancy and Work (P and W) app, developed by a multidisciplinary team and based on an evidence-based guideline for occupational physicians, aims to provide advice on work adjustment during pregnancy. Objective: This study evaluates the usability of the mHealth P and W app and the perceived usefulness of the work advice, the main goal of the app, by potential end users. Methods: A total of 12 working pregnant women participated in think aloud usability sessions and performed 9 tasks. All think aloud sessions were recorded, transcribed, and coanalyzed. The usability problems were rated for their severity in accordance with Nielsen severity scale. The completion rates and time taken for completion of tasks were registered. In addition, participants were questioned on demographics and user characteristics and were asked to evaluate the value of the app by filling in the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory (IMI) score and the System Usability Scale (SUS) questionnaire. Results: In total, 82 usability problems with a severity ≥1 were identified, of which 40 had severity ≥3. The main usability problems concerned the interpretation of terminology used in the app’s questionnaires and difficulties in finding and understanding the work advice. Furthermore, 10 out of 12 participants were able to open the work advice page in the app. Only 7 out of these 10 participants understood and intended to follow the work advice. The overall mean IMI score was relatively high (5 out of 7), indicating that the participants did indeed value the use of the app. This IMI score corresponded to the overall mean SUS score (68 out of 100) and the mean grade given to the P and W app (7 out of 10). Conclusions: This think aloud usability study showed that the information provided in the P and W app was considered valuable by the end users, working pregnant women, and it meets their needs; however, usability issues severely impacted the perceived usefulness of the work advice given in the app.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere11442
Number of pages13
JournalJMIR Mhealth and Uhealth
Issue number5
Early online date29 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

The authors would like to thank all the pregnant participants who participated in the TA sessions and the employees of the obstetric care facilities.
This pilot study received funding from ZonMw, the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development. This project is part of the Pregnancy and Birth Program.


  • EHealth
  • mHealth
  • Mobile phone
  • Occupation
  • Occupational exposure
  • Pregnancy
  • Qualitative research
  • Work


Dive into the research topics of 'Usability and usefulness of a mobile health app for pregnancy-related work advice: mixed-methods approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this