How Do We Engage With Activity Trackers? A Longitudinal Study of Habito

How Do We Engage With Activity Trackers? A Longitudinal Study of Habito

We report on a 10-month in-the-wild study of the adoption, engagement and discontinuation of an activity tracker called Habito, by a sample of 256 users who installed the tracker on their own volition. We found ‘readiness’ to behavior change to be a strong predictor of adoption (which ranged from 56% to 20%). Among adopters, only a third updated their daily goal, which in turn impacted their physical activity levels. The use of the tracker was dominated by glances – brief, 5-sec sessions where users called the app to check their current activity levels with no further interaction, while users displayed true lack of interest in historical data. Textual feedback proved highly effective in fueling further engagement with the tracker as well as inducing physical activity. We propose three directions for design: designing for different levels of ‘readiness’, designing for multilayered and playful goal setting, and designing for sustained engagement.   Gouveia, R., Karapanos, E., Hassenzahl, M. (2015) How Do We Engage With Activity Trackers? A Longitudinal Study of Habito. In Proceedings of Ubicomp’15.  ...
Crowdwalk: Leveraging the Wisdom of the Crowd to Inspire Walking Activities

Crowdwalk: Leveraging the Wisdom of the Crowd to Inspire Walking Activities

We present CrowdWalk, a mobile app that leverages the wisdom of the crowd to produce location-based “walking challenges”, and thus attempts to assist behavior change through highlighting opportunities for physical activity. CrowdWalk infers users’ location and presents a list of walking activities that can be initiated from one’s current location. For instance, as users enter a building CrowdWalk may suggest taking the stairs. When entering a supermarket, users may be challenged to leave their shopping cart behind while walking back and forth to gather shopping items.   Ornelas, T., Caraban, A., Gouveia, R., Karapanos, E. (2015) CrowdWalk: Leveraging the Wisdom of the Crowd to Inspire Walking Activities. In Extended proceedings of Ubicomp’15.    Activities are contributed by users and are ordered by proximity and popularity. They are displayed within an “activity indicator circle”, depicting general information on an activity (such as name and description) as well as its contribution towards goal completion (e.g. walking around the campus will contribute an additional 2km towards your 15km daily goal, see Fig 1). Additional tips and comments are displayed, either provided by users (e.g. sharing experiences on a certain walking activity) or by the system (e.g. tips on the how to complete a certain walking activity). Users are further presented with a map (see Fig 2) view pinpointing the concrete location of an activity that reassures them of the accuracy of their location inference and allows browsing nearby activities.   Future work Individuals often struggle to move from the intention of attaining healthy lifestyles to the set goal. Long-lasting behaviors are hard to achieve, and despite the initial premises, effects of self-monitoring have been found to wear off with time [2]. With the design of CrowdWalk, we...
The "how, where and when" of physical activity

The "how, where and when" of physical activity

Despite their initial premise of physical-activity trackers in altering individuals’ lifestyles, recent studies have questioned their long-term efficacy. We present a study that sought to understand the walking activities individuals incorporate into their daily routines when attempting to be more physically activity – and specifically, the “why, how, when and where” of physical activity.   Ornelas, T., Caraban, A., Gouveia, R., Karapanos, E. (2015) CrowdWalk: Leveraging the Wisdom of the Crowd to Inspire Walking Activities. In Extended proceedings of Ubicomp’15.  A total of 65 participants (mean age=37, 46% male) successfully completed an online survey. All participants owned an activity tracker such as Fitbit, Jawbone Up or Nike Fuelband. They were mostly from the USA (46%), India (25%) and Australia (11%). They were recruited through Mechanical Turk and were rewarded with 0.30 euros for their participation. Responses were screened for quality by the first two authors.   Participants were asked to identify one “walking activity” embedded in their daily routines after adopting the tracker. We asked them to narrate it in detail as to when and where it takes place, their motives for performing it and the challenges they face (if any) in keeping up with it, as well as a number of closed questions relating to the estimated distance of walking activities and their frequency.   Findings Data was analyzed using affinity diagrams. All in all, twenty-seven distinct activities were identified. The vast majority (91%) was performed at least once per week, while 57% were performed on a daily basis.   DAILY WALKING ACTIVITIES CONTRIBUTE ON AVERAGE 2 KM Walking activities were mostly short in distance, with more than half (59%, N=38)...
You have 5 seconds: Designing Glanceable Feedback for Physical Activity Trackers

You have 5 seconds: Designing Glanceable Feedback for Physical Activity Trackers

In our own work, we found that many activity tracker users lack the interest, skills, or motivation to reflect extensively on data about past behaviors. In fact, more than 70% of the usage of our activity tracker related to glances – brief, 5-second sessions where users check their current activity levels with no further interaction[5]. If glances are the dominant form of interaction with activity trackers, how can we design Glanceable Behavioral Feedback Interfaces (BFIs) to best support positive behaviors? In this paper we identify three directions for the design of Glanceable BFIs, namely: increasing the frequency of glances, increasing the impact of glances on physical activity, and transitioning glances to moments of exploration and learning.   Increasing the frequency of glances While glances were previously found to drive 70% of all interactions with a tracker [5], their frequency decreased over time. How can designs sustain such brief engagements with these tools? What design strategies entice users to return to review their data or view new content? We propose two design strategies towards increasing the frequency of glances: novel and scarce information.   Sustaining the novelty of information Motivated by the success of computer gaming and the airline industry, which regularly update content to sustain interest in games or safety instructions, we ask: what if feedback provided by an activity tracker is constantly updating? Prior work has shown dynamic content in smartphones, such as email and social media to lead to regular “checking habits” [9]. An example design operating upon this principle is Habito [5], a mobile app that sustains the novelty of feedback through constantly updating messages. In...
Footprint Tracker: Supporting Diary Studies with Lifelogging

Footprint Tracker: Supporting Diary Studies with Lifelogging

As HCI shifts “to the wild”, in-situ methods such as Diary Methods and the Experience Sampling Method are gaining momentum. However, researchers have acknowledged the intrusiveness and lack of realism in these methods and have proposed solutions, notably through lightweight and rich media capture. In this paper we explore the concept of lifelogging as an alternative solution to these two challenges. We describe Footprint Tracker, a tool that allows the review of lifelogs with the aim to support recall and reflection over daily activities and experiences. In a field trial, we study how four different types of cues, namely visual, location, temporal and social context, trigger memories of recent events and associated emotions. We conclude with a number of implications for the design of lifelogging systems that support recall and reflection upon recent events as well as ones lying further in our past. Gouveia, R., and Karapanos, E. (2013) Footprint tracker: supporting diary studies with lifelogging. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems(CHI ’13). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2921-2930....
Sustaining User Engagement with Behavior Change Tools

Sustaining User Engagement with Behavior Change Tools

Technologies for behavior change have immense potential. Consider, for instance, the case of physical activity trackers. Our healthcare systems are facing unprecedented challenges. Western lifestyles, now spreading throughout the world, have had a direct impact on the increase of chronic diseases, which today account for nearly 40 percent of mortality cases and 75 percent of healthcare costs, and are predicted to increase in frequency by 42 percent by 2023. Obesity alone has been estimated to account for 12 percent of the health-spending growth in the U.S. It is thus no surprise that policy makers and political figures are increasingly calling for a healthcare model that stresses patient-driven prevention rather than cures, such as Hillary Clinton’s call for a health initiative that focuses on “wellness, not sickness” and Gordon Brown’s call for an “NHS [National Health Service] of the future [being] one of patient power, with patients engaged and taking control over their own health and healthcare.”   Karapanos, E. (2015) Sustaining User Engagement with Behavior Change Tools, Interactions 22, 4 (June 2015), 48-52. Loading...   In this new landscape of healthcare, physical activity trackers have become a focus in both research and practice, as they can provide many benefits ranging from empowerment and people taking responsibility for their own health to opportunistic engagement in desired behaviors [1]. The market for wearable activity trackers such as Fitbit, Jawbone up, and Nike+ Fuelband has seen a rapid growth, estimated to have grossed $1.15 billion in 2014.   Sustaining User Engagement Is Challenging Despite significant recent advances, one could argue that research and practice in behavior-change technologies are still in their infancy. The...