My Mobile Story

The telling and re-telling of personal stories is a fundamental aspect of many mental health interventions. In this project a system has been developed which allows people to us the media capabilities of mobile phones to gather a personal story. Materials gathered on a mobile phone (e.g. text, images, audio) can then be accessed and organised on a personalised website. By creating structured templates for stories and providing people with 'missions' regarding the materials they aim to collect, therapists can help people to begin telling stories in therapeutically beneficial ways.

Date: 2007 - Present
Collaborators: Gavin Doherty, John Sharry
Deliverables: Therapeutic System
Methods: Paper Prototyping, Roleplay, Observation, Expert Reviews
Tools:Flash, MMS Gateway, php, MySQL, perl
Outputs:CHI workshop paper 2008, CHI Extended Abstract 2011

My Mobile Story is designed to support young people in therapy and specifically to open up conversations with therapists by allowing clients to bring artifacts from their world into therapy. It uses the existing potential of clients' mobile phones to collect thoughts, photographs of family members, sounds and videos of their life and music that they like. Clients can then use the desktop tool with a therapist to discuss and structure this content in a therapeutically meaningful manner. There are preexisting therapeutic plans that they can choose from.

MMS was designed in close collaboration with therapists. It aimed to support the emerging practice discovered through interviews and discussions with therapists, of clients using their phone to support conversations they were having with their therapist. Therapists reported incidents where a client was talking about a friend and they spontaneously produced their phone to show a photograph of them - or were talking about their favourite band and would play a song on their phone.

My Mobile Story allows clients to send multimedia content from their phones to an online program. Using this program, they can view and structure this content with their therapist. Pictures can be moved around, re-sized and rotated. Sounds and videos can be played and moved around the screen. There is a drawing tool which can be used to decorate the client’s story. There is a selection of pre-defined therapeutic plans that can be chosen from a drop-down list on the right. At the end of a session, the work can be saved to be continued at the next session or at home between sessions. SMS messages can be set up to send “missions” or reminders to the client’s phone at a chosen time each day. Clients can also upload content from their computer.