ExpressMS is a custom keyboard for iOS and Android devices that is designed to support meaningful conversations about the invisible symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). It aims to encourage greater awareness and understanding of of symptoms leading to better support for people living with MS from friends, family, colleagues, and doctors.

The challenge

People living with MS can experience a wide variety of symptoms, some will be visible to those around them, but there are symptoms that can’t be visibly seen, such as fatigue, emotional changes, problems with cognition, skin tingling, itching and pain.

These symptoms can have an enormous impact on people living with MS but their invisible nature can make them difficult to talk about, and other people don’t always recognise or understand the challenges or reality of living with them.

Custom keyboard

ExpressMS is a custom keyboard that we have developed for iOS and Android mobile phones. The ExpressMS keyboard uses auto-correct functionality to suggest more descriptive phrases about what symptoms feel like. The keyboard integrates with the normal mobile phone keypad and works on any communication platform or app.

All too often, the words used to describe symptoms, for example “I’m groggy” or “I’m exhausted”, are also used by wider society – this can make it difficult to describe how those living with MS are really feeling.

Friends may not fully understand when they say that they’re ‘too tired’ to meet up, or a manager may not appreciate why they need another day off work. Rather than saying “I’m tired,” ExpressMS will suggest something like “I feel as if I’ve run a marathon” to describe the symptoms in a more impactful way.

Helpful phrases to describe the symptoms of MS

The phrases used in the ExpressMS keyboard were developed based on extensive online analysis of the most commonly cited invisible MS symptoms and the phrases associated with them. Each of these formulations was then verified by people with MS.

Key features of the ExpressMS keyboard include alternative phrases to describe the five most commonly cited invisible MS symptoms:

  • Cognitive difficulties
  • Fatigue
  • Mood
  • Pain and itching
  • Spasticity

The ExpressMS keyboard app is available to download on mobile devices in Germany, Austria and Italy, and will be more widely available in other European countries during 2022-23. To find out more visit Janssen expressMS.

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