University of Twente Student Theses


Usability testing of a virtual reality intervention and possibilities of wearables for treatment in forensic mental healthcare

Vuong, P.T. (2021) Usability testing of a virtual reality intervention and possibilities of wearables for treatment in forensic mental healthcare.

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Abstract:Background: Treatment of offenders in forensic mental healthcare is complex. Forensic psychiatric patients have often low treatment motivation, suffer from multiple disorders, and have low education skills. Virtual reality (VR) and wearables may be able to improve treatment because of its potential to increase motivation and engagement. Therefore, a VR intervention “Triggers&Helpers” application is being developed in a participatory development process with input from different stakeholders. However, little is still known about suitable methods for the development of VR, such as usability testing. In addition, the use of wearables has been studied with the “Triggers&Helpers” application. Objective: The three research goals are to identify (1) points of improvements in the existing “Triggers&Helpers” application according to therapists, (2) positive points and points of improvements of the usability of VR according to outpatients and (3) possible ways of using wearables with the “Triggers&Helpers” application. Methods: The first usability test and interview were conducted online with five therapists to gain positive, negative and points of improvements about the dashboard of the “Triggers&Helpers” application. The usability test consisted of multiple tasks, which the therapist had to fulfil in the dashboard. During the usability test, the think aloud method was used. The second usability test and interview were conducted with five outpatients to gain first impressions about the “Triggers&Helpers” application and the usability of VR. The VR set with the “Triggers&Helpers” application, and the wearable Empatica E4 were used. The Empatica E4 was used to monitor physiological data, such as the heart rate and tension level of outpatients. Results: Usability tests with therapists resulted in fifteen usability issues that could be divided into five categories, namely login, new template, settings virtual character, settings location, and saving templates issues. Usability tests with outpatients resulted in eight usability issues that could divided in three categories, namely VR device, observation in VR, and moving in VR issues. With the data of the Empatica E4, a table was provided, which displayed the heart rate and tension level that was recorded per scenario. Identified peaks of tension level were related to an occurrence, which means something happened in the VR simulation. Conclusion: The results of both qualitative studies provided insights into the points of improvements of the “Triggers & Helpers” application and the use of VR according to therapists and outpatients. The use of a wearable could have an added value in treatment as an interoceptive awareness tool, together with the “Triggers&Helpers” application. Wearables are a promising tool to use to increase the interoceptive awareness of patients, but more research is needed before integrating wearables in treatments in the forensic mental healthcare.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:TNW: Science and Technology
Programme:Health Sciences MSc (66851)
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