App development process
PeerPAL is a specially programmed app created as part of the project. In order to develop a user-friendly and intuitive app, with the involvement of the target group, a focus group is used. The target group, people with aphasia, should be given an active role in the design of the app. By having as divergent a discussion as possible, weak points in the app should be identified and remedied as early as the development process. In terms of content, the focus group serves to address questions about the technical implementation as well as to discuss the design and content of the app. To launch the research project “Peer-to-peer support: digital networking in aphasia to improve quality of life”, a virtual design thinking workshop (Fig.1), offered by TRIO (Transfer und Innovation Ostbayern), was held on four mornings in January 2021. Based on feedback, the prototype (Fig.2) is revised and further developed. The resulting smartphone app will then be tested in everyday life by people with aphasia as part of a feasibility study. Finally, a comprehensive efficacy trial is planned in a randomized pretest-night control group design with follow-up testing at three and six months. The app is programmed by the project’s technical staff. It will be released as open source software after the project period to give companies and developers the opportunity to further develop the app privately as well as commercially.