Objective: The Dietary Intake Monitoring Application (DIMA) is an electronic dietary self-monitor developed for use on a personal digital assistant (PDA). This paper describes how computer, information, numerical, and visual literacy were considered in development of DIMA. Methods: An iterative, participatory design approach was used. Forty individuals receiving hemodialysis at an urban inner-city facility, primarily middle-aged and African American, were recruited. Results: Computer literacy was considered by assessing abilities to complete traditional/nontraditional PDA tasks. Information literacy was enhanced by including a Universal-Product-Code (UPC) scanner, picture icons for food with no UPC code, voice recorder, and culturally sensitive food icons. Numerical literacy was enhanced by designing DIMA to compute real-time totals that allowed individuals to see their consumption relative to their dietary prescription. Visual literacy was considered by designing the graphical interface to convey intake data over a 24-h period that could be accurately interpreted by patients. Pictorial icons for feedback graphs used objects understood by patients. Practice implications: Preliminary data indicate the application is extremely helpful for individuals as they self-monitor their intake. If desired, DIMA could also be used for dietary counseling.
- Health literacy
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