Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

The Healthy Hearts Project: Development and evaluation of a website for cardiovascular risk assessment and visualisation and self-management through healthy lifestyle goal-setting

Rogers, Imogen, Grice-Jackson, Tom, Ford, Elizabeth, Howat, John, Salimkumar, Remya, Frere-Smith, Kat, O’Connor, Nicola, Bastiaens, Hilde, van Marwijk, Harm (2023) The Healthy Hearts Project: Development and evaluation of a website for cardiovascular risk assessment and visualisation and self-management through healthy lifestyle goal-setting. PLOS Digital Health, 2 (11). Article Number e0000395. E-ISSN 2767-3170. (doi:10.1371/journal.pdig.0000395) (KAR id:104179)


Materially deprived communities in the UK have excess morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease (CVD) but are less likely to engage with formal care pathways. Community engagement and e-health may be more effective ways to promote risk-reducing lifestyle change. The “Healthy Hearts Project” website was designed for use by community health workers (CHWs) for cardiovascular risk assessment and lifestyle goal setting, or for independent use by community members. This paper describes the website’s development and evaluation. The website was developed using interactive wire frame prototypes in a user-led approach. Qualitative evaluation of the completed website’s usability and acceptability was conducted using the “Thinking Aloud” method in a purposive sample of 10 participants (one voluntary sector employee, three CHWs, two community members and four healthcare professionals). Thinking Aloud interview transcripts were thematically analysed using an inductive approach. A separate quantitative evaluation of usability and the effect of using the website on CVD knowledge and beliefs was conducted. A random sample of 134 participants, recruited using the online platform Prolific, completed the “Attitudes and Beliefs About Cardiovascular Disease” (ABCD) questionnaire before and after using the website, along with the System Usability Scale (SUS). Qualitative evaluation—Four key themes were identified: 1) Website functionality and design—participants generally found the website easy to use and understood the risk communication graphics and the feedback and goal-setting features,; 2) Inclusivity and representation—most participants considered the website inclusive of a range of users/cultures; 3) Language and comprehension–participants found the language used easy to understand but suggested reducing the amount of text; 4) Motivation and barriers to change–participants liked the personalized feedback and empowerment offered by goal-setting but commented on the need for self-motivation. Quantitative evaluation–The mean score across all domains of the ABCD questionnaire (from 2.99 to 3.11, p<0.001) and in the sub-domains relating to attitudes and beliefs around healthy eating and exercise increased after using the website. The mean(sd) score on the SUS was 77.5 (13.5). The website’s usability was generally rated well by both quantitative and qualitative measures, and measures of CVD knowledge improved after use. A number of general recommendations for the design of eHealth behaviour change tools are made based on participants’ suggestions to improve the website.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1371/journal.pdig.0000395
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research > Centre for Health Services Studies
Depositing User: Kat Frere-Smith
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2023 13:59 UTC
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2024 15:59 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Frere-Smith, Kat.

Creator's ORCID:
CReDIT Contributor Roles:
  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.