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A Persuasive and Social mHealth Application for Physical Activity: A Usability and Feasibility Study.

Al Ayubi SU, Parmanto B, Branch R, Ding D - JMIR Mhealth Uhealth (2014)

Bottom Line: There were seven fundamental characteristics of physical activity monitoring and promotion that were identified, which were then used as a foundation to develop the application.Based on the fundamental characteristics, the application was successfully developed.The usability results suggest that the system is usable and user satisfaction was high.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Health and Rehabilitation Informatics Laboratory, Department of Health Information Management, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, United States.

ABSTRACT

Background: Advances in smartphones and the wide usage of social networking systems offer opportunities for the development of innovative interventions to promote physical activity. To that end, we developed a persuasive and social mHealth application designed to monitor and motivate users to walk more every day.

Objective: The objectives of this project were to conduct a focused review on the fundamental characteristics of mHealth for physical activity promotion, to develop an mHealth application that meets such characteristics, and to conduct a feasibility study to deploy the application in everyday life.

Methods: This project started as an analytical study to review the fundamental characteristics of the technologies used in physical activity monitoring and promotion. Then, it was followed by a technical development of the application. Next, a 4 week deployment was conducted where participants used the application as part of their daily life. A think-aloud method and in-depth semistructured interviews were conducted following the deployment. A qualitative description method was used to thematically analyze the interviews. Feasibility measures included, adherence to the program, user-system interactions, motivation to use, and experience with physical activity and online social interactions.

Results: There were seven fundamental characteristics of physical activity monitoring and promotion that were identified, which were then used as a foundation to develop the application. There were fourteen participants that enrolled in the application evaluation. The age range was from 24 to 45; body mass index ranged from 18.5 to 42.98, with 4 of the subjects falling into the category "obese". Half of them were experienced with smartphones, and all were familiar with a social network system. There were thirteen participants that completed the study; one was excluded. Overall, participants gave high scores to almost all of the usability factors examined, with averages of 4.52 out of a 5.00 maximum. Over 29 days, participants used the application for a total of 119,380 minutes (average=7.57 hours/day/participant; SD 1.56).

Conclusions: Based on the fundamental characteristics, the application was successfully developed. The usability results suggest that the system is usable and user satisfaction was high. Deploying the application was shown to be feasible for the promotion of daily physical activity.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

PersonA social support features.
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Related In: Results  -  Collection

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figure5: PersonA social support features.

Mentions: Social-support requirements are designed to help users engage with peers or social networks that can positively affect their PA performance. PersonA provides four functional features to facilitate the peer and social interactions. First, the peer-comparison feature allows an individual to compare his/her performance with that of one person in the app. This allows a more personal comparison, especially with a peer who is personally known, such as a close friend or spouse. Second, the group-comparison feature, which allows an individual to compare his/her current PA performance and target with the group average, the larger community average, or the normal standard set by health practitioners. Figure 5 illustrates a chart that compares the summary of a user’s caloric expenditure with that of the social network (left). The chart also provides the comparison longitudinally. Third, the peer-support feature that allows individuals to support each other with one peer in a closed interaction where the individual and her/his peer only can see and communicate using this channel. Fourth, the group-support feature that allows users to support each other in open interaction where every member of the group can see and interact. While using the above four features, the following positive support activities can be done by users: (1) giving rewards or greetings for reaching a goal, (2) sharing experiences or activities, and (3) “liking” others’ status or data. The user can choose to share data with a friend, a member group, or even all friends on Facebook. As an illustration, Figure 5 (middle) shows that users can share their selected data with members of a Facebook group. As with other standard posts on a Facebook wall, these posts can be liked or commented upon by friends of users. PersonA also provides users with a message archive where the users can access all related communication that they made using PersonA, and perform further social interaction (Figure 5-right).


A Persuasive and Social mHealth Application for Physical Activity: A Usability and Feasibility Study.

Al Ayubi SU, Parmanto B, Branch R, Ding D - JMIR Mhealth Uhealth (2014)

PersonA social support features.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4114463&req=5

figure5: PersonA social support features.
Mentions: Social-support requirements are designed to help users engage with peers or social networks that can positively affect their PA performance. PersonA provides four functional features to facilitate the peer and social interactions. First, the peer-comparison feature allows an individual to compare his/her performance with that of one person in the app. This allows a more personal comparison, especially with a peer who is personally known, such as a close friend or spouse. Second, the group-comparison feature, which allows an individual to compare his/her current PA performance and target with the group average, the larger community average, or the normal standard set by health practitioners. Figure 5 illustrates a chart that compares the summary of a user’s caloric expenditure with that of the social network (left). The chart also provides the comparison longitudinally. Third, the peer-support feature that allows individuals to support each other with one peer in a closed interaction where the individual and her/his peer only can see and communicate using this channel. Fourth, the group-support feature that allows users to support each other in open interaction where every member of the group can see and interact. While using the above four features, the following positive support activities can be done by users: (1) giving rewards or greetings for reaching a goal, (2) sharing experiences or activities, and (3) “liking” others’ status or data. The user can choose to share data with a friend, a member group, or even all friends on Facebook. As an illustration, Figure 5 (middle) shows that users can share their selected data with members of a Facebook group. As with other standard posts on a Facebook wall, these posts can be liked or commented upon by friends of users. PersonA also provides users with a message archive where the users can access all related communication that they made using PersonA, and perform further social interaction (Figure 5-right).

Bottom Line: There were seven fundamental characteristics of physical activity monitoring and promotion that were identified, which were then used as a foundation to develop the application.Based on the fundamental characteristics, the application was successfully developed.The usability results suggest that the system is usable and user satisfaction was high.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Health and Rehabilitation Informatics Laboratory, Department of Health Information Management, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, United States.

ABSTRACT

Background: Advances in smartphones and the wide usage of social networking systems offer opportunities for the development of innovative interventions to promote physical activity. To that end, we developed a persuasive and social mHealth application designed to monitor and motivate users to walk more every day.

Objective: The objectives of this project were to conduct a focused review on the fundamental characteristics of mHealth for physical activity promotion, to develop an mHealth application that meets such characteristics, and to conduct a feasibility study to deploy the application in everyday life.

Methods: This project started as an analytical study to review the fundamental characteristics of the technologies used in physical activity monitoring and promotion. Then, it was followed by a technical development of the application. Next, a 4 week deployment was conducted where participants used the application as part of their daily life. A think-aloud method and in-depth semistructured interviews were conducted following the deployment. A qualitative description method was used to thematically analyze the interviews. Feasibility measures included, adherence to the program, user-system interactions, motivation to use, and experience with physical activity and online social interactions.

Results: There were seven fundamental characteristics of physical activity monitoring and promotion that were identified, which were then used as a foundation to develop the application. There were fourteen participants that enrolled in the application evaluation. The age range was from 24 to 45; body mass index ranged from 18.5 to 42.98, with 4 of the subjects falling into the category "obese". Half of them were experienced with smartphones, and all were familiar with a social network system. There were thirteen participants that completed the study; one was excluded. Overall, participants gave high scores to almost all of the usability factors examined, with averages of 4.52 out of a 5.00 maximum. Over 29 days, participants used the application for a total of 119,380 minutes (average=7.57 hours/day/participant; SD 1.56).

Conclusions: Based on the fundamental characteristics, the application was successfully developed. The usability results suggest that the system is usable and user satisfaction was high. Deploying the application was shown to be feasible for the promotion of daily physical activity.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus