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What is LifeGuide?

LifeGuide provides researchers with the tools they need to be able to create their own online interventions without the need for employing web designers.

LifeGuide has been designed to offer the core functions needed for creating an interactive online intervention. You can:

  • Administer questionnaires and quizzes and give end-users personalised feedback about their performance.
  • Deliver tailored advice based on end-users’ answers to (multiple) questions.
  • Give end-users graphs of their progress and personalised feedback based on data they input over repeated sessions.
  • Embed graphics, and audio and video files.
  • Create your own look and feel for the intervention.

In order to run and evaluate the intervention, you can set up your LifeGuide intervention to automatically:

  • Create user accounts.
  • Screen, stratify and randomise participants.
  • Continuously monitor uptake and patterns of engagement with the intervention.
  • Send reminder emails or SMS text messages.
  • Record participants’ use of an intervention for analysis (e.g. which pages have been viewed, for how long, in what order, what has been   entered in the intervention pages).
  • Export all data (all end-user entries and website usage) into Excel.
Will I need support?

The LifeGuide community website should be able to offer you all the advice and support you need.
If you have a question and cannot find the answer on our website, where possible, we will endeavour to respond to a request for brief advice about a single issue. However, we do not have sufficient staff to offer individual support to users during intervention development, and cannot respond to repeated requests for advice. While people with no programming background are able to create simple interventions using LifeGuide, a complex intervention (over many sessions, with a lot of interactivity) is likely to require help.

How much does it cost?

The LifeGuide software is free to download and use, but there is normally a charge of £500 (excluding VAT) for hosting an intervention on our live server. This fee can be waived for special circumstances, for example, if you are a student and it is not possible to raise the money for this. If you think you may need personal support when creating your intervention, please bear the cost of this in mind - you may want support from an experienced IT person in your department or support from the LifeGuide team. Please see the section ‘Will I need support?’ for more information.

Can I create my own intervention?

It is very important to try out the LifeGuide software thoroughly before planning your intervention in order to make sure that you are confident in using it, and understand what it can and cannot do. No prior knowledge of computer programming is needed. However, in our experience, people with prior programming experience often find LifeGuide easier to use than those with no experience.

Click here for essential reading and links to information to help you get started.

How long does it take to build an intervention?

It is difficult to estimate exactly how long an intervention will take to create because this depends on a number of factors (e.g. experience of researcher, length and complexity of intervention, etc.). It is important to leave plenty of time not only for creating the intervention, but for testing it and fixing unforeseen errors.

Most interventions have four stages of development:

  • planning (e.g. working out how many sessions you will have and what they will contain, emails you will send, etc.)
  • writing the content
  • building the intervention (creating pages and writing logic)
  • testing the intervention and fixing errors.

Assuming that you have all of your content ready to insert into LifeGuide and you have designed a website structure, approximate times for one person working full-time to create the pages and write the logic are shown below. To make estimating times easier, we have divided interventions into 3 categories:

Simple - Generic information, Images, Videos, MP3s, Simple navigation.
A simple intervention with 10 pages of generic information will take a beginner approximately 1-4 weeks to build.
Intermediate - 1-2 sessions, Simple tailoring, Simple randomisation.
An intervention of intermediate complexity with 50 pages will take a beginner approximately 3-6 months to build.
Highly Complex - Multiple sessions, Complex tailoring and navigation, Complex randomisation, Emails, SMS notifications.
A highly complex intervention with 3 sessions and 100 pages will take an experienced user approximately 6-12 months to build. (We would not recommend that a beginner with no prior programming experience attempts to do this without support.)

If you have read the information on this page and think that LifeGuide is right for you, please register so that you can access the software, newsletters, workshops and intervention demos.