Thursday, February 3, 2011

Encouraging Physical Activity

It is one thing tackling a low self-efficacy mind set but you also have to be able to encourage a user to attempt physical activity.

Sunny Consolvo gives four design requirements in his paper for the Design for Tangible Interactions conference in Canada 2006 "Design Requirements for technologies to encourage physical activities". They are....
  1. Give User proper credit for activities
  2. Provide personal awareness of activity level
  3. Support social influence
  4. Consider the practical constraints of a users lifestyle
I will implement these design requirements with the combination of the device measuring a user physical activity and the application on Facebook the user will be playing
These design requirements are in order but I have been studying them for 3 weeks considering each requirement when making each decision below is my finished decisions.

1. Give user proper credit for activities
Commercially available devices for monitoring physical activity do not truly represent the overall activity levels of many people . So technologies that aim to encourage physical activity must account for the inadequacies. If I'am to create a atmosphere encouraging physical activity I have to give credit for all of a users physical activity.

The two main commercial physical activity monitors are pedometer and heart rate monitor.
  • Pedometer is perfect for counting steps but doesn't take other exercises into account.
  • Heart Rate monitor can't take into account for a persons step and also it can be easily deceived due to stress.
Solution 1
So a persons physical activity for a day would be judged by
a) Steps
b) They enter other physical activity they attempted and for how long, it would then be verified by the heart rate monitor

This solution would suffice but a lot of effort for the user and would be creating a new device which would be a project by itself.

Solution 2
A user would download my app to their phone which would count their steps. Every time they login into Facebook through the app the app will send the number of steps to our Facebook app. To address the issue of giving proper credit for all activities there would be an option in the Facebook app for a user to select what extra activity they attempted on the day say Swimming, Soccer, Cycling etc and what time of the day they attempted it they shall receive extra credit for accomplishing such tasks. To provide validity I will use Consolvo 's Requirement 3 (Social Influence) when a user claims they cycled on a day it will be posted on their wall for all their friends to see. For example Mary selects swimming as her extra activity at 3 o'clock all her friends shall see on her wall 

"Mary earned 25 gold bars today for swimming at 3 o'clock on (Name of App) "

The variables are underlined. There will be more goal bars for harder tasks. There will be a list of tasks to chose from.

I will proceed using solution 2 as I think it is more practical under such tight time constraints.

2. Provide Personal Awareness of activity level
There are 3 important types of personal awareness

      1. History of past behaviour
          People want to see what they are doing each day, week, month
          People want to see patterns of success and failure

      2. Current Status
          People would like to be updated constantly on how many steps they
          have walked in the day instead of checking.
          Technologies need to provide feedback throughout the day

      3. Activity Level Performance
          People get motivated by knowing their performance with respect to
          their goals.
          They want to get to the goal as quickly as possible.

Number 1 could be illustrated in the Facebook App by a graph by graphing the step count of each day

Number 2 would be a feature on the phone app showing the target to beat and also displaying how many steps a user has already taken.

Number 3 the goal would be easily accessible as it would be in the user pocker ie. their phone

3. Support Social Influence
This is also broken into 3 groups.

       - Social Pressure
         Their friends see their results so they feel a need to complete the goals

       - Social Support
         People enjoy getting the recognition for their hard work. 
         User get motivated from seeing a friend do well.

       - Communication 
         People wish to explain for low days or high days

These requirements will all be addressed in the Facebook application

4. Consider the practical constraints of a users lifestyle
A good device will
      > Communicate between friends
      > Easy access to current and past activity information

Issues with a heart rate monitor and pedometer is that they are LARGE & UNATTRACTIVE. They draw unwanted attention to a person.

Technologies that encourage physical activity should not require the user to wear any new devices.

Devices already being carried by people
> Phone
> Bag
> Watch
> Sneakers wit RIDs

Phone is the only appropriate device that could be manipulated

No comments:

Post a Comment