Evaluating a Budgeting App for Users with Cognitive Impairments
My Money Counts is a proposed visual money management and budgeting application for people with cognitive impairments. This project aimed to observe participants using My Money Counts and, based on these observations, to evaluate the app in terms of usability and engagement. This study also aimed to compare the observed evaluations with participants’ self-reported views for both usability and engagement. A third goal of the project was to explore participants’ views on spending and saving money.
My Money Counts is currently in development at IADT in collaboration with the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) and Saint John of God Carmona Services. It aims to provide a visual money management and budgeting application to support independence and self-determination in vulnerable groups. The primary target user group are people with intellectual disabilities, although people with a range of other cognitive impairments may also benefit. In February, ten adults with an intellectual disability came to IADT to test My Money Counts at its existing stage of development. The participants were observed using the app to complete tasks related to budgeting and money management, and based on these observations data was collected concerning usability and engagement in My Money Counts. Usability assesses how easy an interface is to use while engagement is a measure of interest and likeability. This data was investigated qualitatively and quantitively to provide a thorough overview of user issues with My Money Counts. Based on these findings, suggestions for improvement were made. After testing, the participants were asked for their views on ease of use and likeability. These views were compared to the observed usability and engagement data to explore the possibility, suggested in previous research, that views expressed by this user group in usability testing may be excessively positive owing to a naturally friendly disposition. A focus group discussion about money management also took place to explore participants views about spending and saving money. The results of this research project will inform ongoing development of My Money Counts.
Significant usability issues were identified with My Money Counts in its current form, mainly relating to difficulties with budget creation, navigation, password management and accessibility. However, engagement was moderately positive indicating good potential for its future adoption by the target user group. The comparison of observed evaluations with participants’ assessments revealed that although observed usability was poor, participant assessment of usability was positive. Observed engagement was moderately positive while participants reported their engagement levels as very positive. Focus group findings suggest that the participants have a good understanding of the need to save money but may have difficulty checking change and shopping independently.