mHealth Technology Experiences of Middle-Aged and Older Individuals With Visual Impairments: Cross-Sectional Interview Study

Soyoung Choi, Md Refat Uz Zaman Sajib, Jenna Manzano, Christian Joseph Chlebek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Current mobile health (mHealth) technology is predominantly designed with a visual orientation, often resulting in user interfaces that are inaccessible to visually impaired users. While mHealth technology offers potential for facilitating chronic illness management and enhancing health behaviors among visually impaired older populations, understanding its usage remains limited. Objective: This qualitative research aimed to explore the mHealth technology experiences of middle-aged and older individuals with visual impairments including the accessibility and usability issues they faced. Methods: The qualitative exploration was structured using the mHealth for Older Users framework. Cross-sectional interviews were conducted via Zoom between June 1 and July 31, 2023, using an interview protocol for data collection. A thematic analysis approach was employed to analyze the transcribed interview scripts. Results: Of the 7 participants who took part in the Zoom interviews, 3 were men and 4 were women, with ages ranging from 53 to 70 years. Most participants adopted mHealth apps and wearable devices for promoting health. They exhibited 3 distinct adoption patterns. Seven themes were emerged from the perceived challenges in using mHealth technologies: (1) a scarcity of accessible user manuals, (2) user interfaces that are not visually impaired-friendly, (3) health data visualizations that are not accessible, (4) unintuitive arrangement of app content, (5) health information that is challenging to comprehend, (6) cognitive overload caused by an excess of audible information, and (7) skepticism regarding the accuracy of health records. mHealth technologies seem to positively affect the health and health management of participants. Conclusions: Design considerations for mHealth technologies should consider individuals' disabilities and chronic conditions and should emphasize the importance of providing accessible manuals and training opportunities when introducing new mHealth solutions.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere52410
Pages (from-to)e52410
JournalJMIR Formative Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • aging
  • mobile health
  • older adults
  • technology
  • visual impairment
  • wearables
  • wearable
  • vision
  • visual
  • qualitative analysis
  • health behavior
  • mHealth
  • mHealth technology
  • digital technology
  • medical application
  • application
  • app
  • applications
  • usage
  • well-being
  • cross-section interview
  • interview
  • interviews
  • tracking
  • health data
  • symptom monitoring
  • monitor
  • monitoring
  • symptom
  • symptoms
  • physical activity
  • walking
  • routine
  • mobile phone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'mHealth Technology Experiences of Middle-Aged and Older Individuals With Visual Impairments: Cross-Sectional Interview Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this