User-centered prototype development of a customizable digital performance profile for occupational therapy practice

Maximilian Berghammer, BSc

Master Digital Healthcare, St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences 2019

Aim and Research Question(s)

The aim of this master thesis is to develop a digital and customizable performance profile mockup, which could enable the client to improve his/her performance-capacity, regardless of symptoms, diagnosis or age.

  • Which occupation-related content do occupational therapists consider particularly relevant and should therefore be included in a digital customizable occupational performance profile?
  • How high is the satisfaction, on a scale from one to ten, with the user-centered design of the prototype rated?


“Occupation” means dealing with a specific task. It is a central term in occupational therapy and leads to social participation. If a person loses participation in meaningful activities, for example due to illness, this can lead to dissatisfaction or imbalance [1]. In occupational therapy, a performance profile is used to record activities, related to the context factors and role performance of a client. Since each person has to be addressed individually, a digital performance profile for occupational therapy practice is needed that allows the possibility of customization for the client.


A mixed method design with the aim of technical development was carried out, using a user-centered design method and involving occupational therapists as experts. First, 110 occupational therapists (seven men, 102 women, one unknown gender) were asked about their user needs as part of an online survey URS. In a primary interactive interview UCD1, five occupational therapists were able to try out a first developed mock-up and give feedback. Based on the comments and remarks, the first mockup was developed into the final mockup and evaluated in a second interactive round of interviews UCD2.

Results and Discussion

The most important occupation-focused content of a digital, customizable occupational profile are importance, satisfaction and execution of the activity. The evaluation of a standardized measuring instrument also indicates good to excellent user friendliness. Suggestions for improvement were derived from the two interview rounds, which is why the question of satisfaction with the user- centered design was rated 9.8 out of 10 points (SD = 0.44).

In the online demand survey, 94% (n = 103) rated the importance of occupation-focused content very high or high. It could be that only people took part who felt this topic to be generally important. The areas importance, satisfaction and execution of the activity could have been rated the highest, as these terms are also used in common occupational therapy assessments. The question of whether therapists would offer their clients digital survey instruments was answered differently. This allows conclusions to be drawn that occupational therapists may have little digital experience and thus may not yet see the advantages in practice.


For further development, the final mockup can now be programmed into an application and examined in the form of a study supported by client application. The results of this research work serve as a basis for this.


[1] Granse, M. le, Hartingsveldt, M. van, & Kinèbanian, A. (2019). Grundlagen der Ergotherapie (5. Aufl.). Georg Thieme Verlag KG.