Understanding and Reducing the User Burden
The use of interactive technologies to improve health and in families has grown dramatically over the last two decades. However, there are many reasons why people still do not adopt or quickly abandon different types of health technologies, and families have begun resisting various types of technology. In my research, my students and I have been seeking to understand and characterize the reasons why people abandon otherwise potentially useful computing systems and design ways of reducing various user burdens to improve outcomes for technology use in health and families. We have been working toward a model of user burden in computing systems that consists of six constructs: 1) difficulty of use burdens, 2) physical burdens, 3) time and social burdens, 4) mental and emotional burdens, 5) financial burdens, and 6) privacy burdens. In this talk, I will first give an overview of this model and describe several formative studies that contributed toward our understanding the various burdens of interactive technologies. I will then describe the design and evaluation of six different applications my lab has developed in which we have sought to reduce user burden. These applications target areas such as improving sleep behaviors, helping parents track developmental progress, helping families manage screen time, helping the visually impaired with exercise, and helping people identify health-based triggers through self-experimentation. Finally, I will discuss future directions in helping to understand, evaluate, and reduce the user burden of interactive technologies for health and families.