Young adults with spina bifida often have cognitive difficulties. As a result, young adults with disabilities are facing challenges with respect to housing, education, relationships and vocation which increases risk of unemployment.
The aim is to describe a method to develop a smartphone application together with young adults with spina bifida as an assistive technology for cognition.
In a Participatory Action Research approach, young adults (n = 5) with spina bifida were individually interviewed with Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM). The participants' restrictions in everyday life activities, identified by COPM, were discussed in a focus group formed by the young adults and the result was analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Developing the application the principles of Human-Centered-Design and Universal Design was followed.
An application made for iOS with a focus on usability and worthiness, done by creating a clear and intuitive interface, with a calendar function useful for example to initiate and plan social activities was developed.
The method seems useful when the outcome from the project, a beta version of an application for iOS Smartphone, was achieved in agreement with the participants. The study highlight the importance of involving individuals with disabilities when developing smartphone applications.