Development of a Multidimensional App-Quality Assessment Tool for Health-Related Apps (AQUA)

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Published Nov 4, 2020
Teresa O'Rourke Rüdiger Pryss Winfried Schlee Thomas Probst



A multitude of health-related mobile applications is available to the public in app stores. Many of these apps were not developed by health professionals and do not keep what they promise. To facilitate a safe handling and use of such apps, it is important to assess their quality in a standardized way. Some instruments for app quality assessment exist, although they have some limitations, which we want to improve on with this new assessment tool.


The objective of this paper is to introduce a new multidimensional criteria-based tool for the quality assessment of health-related apps.


Based on existing app-quality assessment tools and guidelines for evaluating health-related app-quality, items were constructed to assess objective and subjective app-quality. A pretest in form of cognitive testing was conducted with six participants and some items were optimized.


An expert and a user version of AQUA were developed in English and German language. The expert version consists of 31 items in the seven dimensions Usability, User Engagement, Content, Visual Design, Therapeutic Quality, Security and Information. The user version consists of 34 items and additionally includes the dimension Impact.


AQUA is a brief multidimensional app-quality assessment tool that can be used for the quality assessment of health-related and mental health-related apps by experts and app-users.

How to Cite

O’Rourke, T., Pryss, R., Schlee, W., & Probst, T. (2020). Development of a Multidimensional App-Quality Assessment Tool for Health-Related Apps (AQUA). Digital Psychology, 1(2), 13–23.


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Article Details


mHealth, health-related apps, digital health, quality assessment, evaluation

Original Article