Chinese version of the Mobile Health App Usability Questionnaire: translation, adaptation, and validation study

Yi Shan*, Meng Ji, Wenxiu Xie, Rongying Li, Xiaobo Qian, Xiaomin Zhang, Tianyong Hao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Background: The usability of mobile health (mHealth) apps needs to be effectively evaluated before they are officially approved to be used to deliver health interventions. To this end, the mHealth App Usability Questionnaire (MAUQ) has been designed and proved valid and reliable in assessing the usability of mHealth apps. However, this English questionnaire needs to be translated into other languages, adapted, and validated before being utilized to evaluate the usability of mHealth apps. Objective: This study aims to improve, further adapt, and validate the Chinese version of the MAUQ (C-MAUQ; interactive for patients) on Left-handed Doctor, one of the most popular “reaching out to patients” interactive mHealth apps with chatbot function in China, to test the reliability and cross-cultural adaptability of the questionnaire. Methods: The MAUQ (interactive for patients) has been translated into Chinese and validated for its reliability on Good Doctor, one of the most influential “reaching out to patients” mHealth apps without chatbot function in China. After asking for the researchers' approval to use this Chinese version, we adjusted and further adapted the C-MAUQ by checking it against the original English version and improving its comprehensibility, readability, idiomaticity, and cross-cultural adaptability. Following a trial survey completed by 50 respondents on wenjuanxing, the most popular online questionnaire platform in China, the improved version of the C-MAUQ (I-C-MAUQ) was finally used to evaluate the usability of Left-handed Doctor through an online questionnaire survey (answered by 322 participants) on wenjuanxing, to test its internal consistency, reliability, and validity. Results: The I-C-MAUQ still retained the 21 items and 3 dimensions of the original MAUQ: 8 items for usability and satisfaction, 6 items for system information arrangement, and 7 items for efficiency. The translation problems in the C-MAUQ, including (1) redundancy, (2) incompleteness, (3) misuse of parts of speech, (4) choice of inappropriate words, (5) incomprehensibility, and (6) cultural difference-induced improper translation, were improved. As shown in the analysis of data obtained through the online survey, the I-C-MAUQ had a better internal consistency (ie, the correlation coefficient between the score of each item and the total score of the questionnaire determined within the range of 0.861-0.938; P < .01), reliability (Cronbach α= .988), and validity (Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin=0.973), compared with the C-MAUQ. It was effectively used to test the usability of Left-handed Doctor, eliciting over 80% of informants' positive attitudes toward this mHealth app. Conclusions: The I-C-MAUQ is highly reliable and valid for Left-handed Doctor, and suitable for testing the usability of interactive mHealth apps used by patients in China. This finding further confirms the cross-cultural validity, reliability, and adaptability of the MAUQ. We identified certain factors influencing the perceived usability of mHealth apps, including users' age, gender, education, profession, and possibly previous experience with mHealth apps and the chatbot function of such apps. Most notably, we found a wider acceptance of this new technology among young Chinese female college students who were more engaged in the interaction with health care chatbots. The age-, gender-, and profession-induced preference for new digital health interventions in China aligns with the findings in other similar studies in America and Malaysia. This preference identifies areas for further research on the social, cultural, and gender adaptation of health technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere37933
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJMIR Formative Research
Volume6
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2022. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Keywords

  • Chinese version of MAUQ
  • cross-cultural adaptability
  • improved translation
  • mHealth app
  • mobile phone
  • reliability
  • stability
  • usability
  • validity

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