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Sound Aided Interface of a Pervasive Pain Monitoring System

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We have developed a new version of a pervasive system for monitoring and recording subjective pain experiences. The most important service the system offers to its users is real-time delivery of reported pain values from patients to nurses. Pain experiences are expressed on a six-value scale from "no pain" to "worst possible pain". The system was tested in four sessions with 23 test users from Finland and Sweden. The main goal of this study was to evaluate user experience of the patient application and the sounds we designed for the user interface. We tested four sound options; spoken, synthetic, xylophone and mute. The material was collected through group discussions and questionnaires. Familiarity, the extent to which a sound can be identified, and the quality and the pleasantness of the sound were found to have an effect on forming a positive experience. Sounds describing pain levels have to be convincing. The context of use has to be taken into account as a primary design driver in a sound design process.

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