St Andrews HCI Research Group

DentAnx: An iPhone App

Alice G Herbison

Supervisor – Tom Kelsey


The design and implementation of DentalAnx: an iPhone application to measure dental anxiety and pain

In the University of St Andrews academics in Medicine developed a 5 item Modified Dental Anxiety Scale (Humphris et al., 2005) which has considerable psychometric support (the most common international measure for this construct) behind it. the concept from the client was to design a smart phone application that generates a profile for a patient (either giving a diary entry over time at regular intervals) or provide the patient a feedback screen with details of how rare their dental anxiety level is. The research team has norms generated from 10000 UK residents which has been published and is a ‘highly accessed’ article.
In the end, this project followed the user experience design process taught in the HCI MSc to design and implement a UI prototype for a dental anxiety iPhone application. Dental anxiety is measured by a five-item questionnaire, which, along
with other features, provided a suitable digital adaptation design challenge. Contextual inquiry and analysis was conducted (including client, user, literature and visual design research) which generated feature ideas, such as a pain logger, and evidence for requirements. Sketching and prototyping the initial design lead to an interactive myBalsamiq artefact evaluated by all parties involved (users, client and domain experts). Suggestions and problems found influenced the UI as it was translated into a Phonegap prototype supported by Framework7. In-depth usability tests, paper prototypes and further discussions with domain experts produced more design iterations. The final prototype has a consistent user experience, follows iOS 7 guidelines, includes overall branding and provides the client with a full UI that can be further implemented if desired.