Designing Ambient Narrative-Based Interfaces to Reflect and Motivate Physical Activity

Proc SIGCHI Conf Hum Factor Comput Syst. 2020 Apr;2020:10.1145/3313831.3376478. doi: 10.1145/3313831.3376478.


Numerous technologies now exist for promoting more active lifestyles. However, while quantitative data representations (e.g., charts, graphs, and statistical reports) typify most health tools, growing evidence suggests such feedback can not only fail to motivate behavior but may also harm self-integrity and fuel negative mindsets about exercise. Our research seeks to devise alternative, more qualitative schemes for encoding personal information. In particular, this paper explores the design of data-driven narratives, given the intuitive and persuasive power of stories. We present WhoIsZuki, a smartphone application that visualizes physical activities and goals as components of a multi-chapter quest, where the main character's progress is tied to the user's. We report on our design process involving online surveys, in-lab studies, and in-the-wild deployments, aimed at refining the interface and the narrative and gaining a deep understanding of people's experiences with this type of feedback. From these insights, we contribute recommendations to guide future development of narrative-based applications for motivating healthy behavior.

Keywords: Ambient Display; Mobile Health; Narrative Feedback.