• Pernille Elisabeth Lund
4. term, Interactive Digital Media, Master (Master Programme)
This thesis investigates how food diary apps as tools are used to motivate people in their weight losing pro-cess. It further studies, which aspect of the technology either encourages or discourages continued use of the app as a supportive tool. In society especially the western world there is a growing problem with rapidly increasing amounts of people becoming obese, this to such a degree that it is now seen as an epidemic. Obesity causes personal health challenges with lifestyle related diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular problems. The consequences of obesity not only decrease quality of life for the individual, treatment of lifestyle related diseases also imposes a major economic burden on society.
The problem statements for this thesis are:
"How can an application and the design off the application support users in their challenges related to los-ing weight? And which motivating factors have an impact in relation to retaining the user? "
The aim of the present study is to improve the actual support offered by technology to people trying to lose weight and afterwards maintaining their weight loss. Thus aiming to further develop the manner in which technology in this case apps can be applied as actual helping hands in people’s weight loosing processes. The ultimate aim being, to make technology and the design of it play its part in support off improved health and quality of life, leading to less life style related diseases and related expenses for society.
Field study was chosen as a method used to explore the issues related to the use of weight loss support apps. This was chosen as the best suitable method for the study given the fact that there otherwise would be ethical issues if a as well as practical issued, if a participant had to be observed in his or her natural set-ting.
For this thesis the target group were adults between 18-70 how which to loss some weight. For this thesis the age range from three young women in there 20’s, two 50+ women and men. In order to gain insight into the test participant minds, when they were using the apps and to secure that these thought were not forgotten or altered, the participants were asked to keep a diary writing down their thoughts and feeling related to the immediate use of the apps. Each participant was asked to test each of the two chosen apps for a week. The apps chosen after careful investigation of the market, ended up being MyFitnessPal and Lifesum. The field study and diaries where in methodological triangulation followed up by semi-structured interview at the beginning and end of each test week, in order to provide further and deeper insight into the experience of the test participants. An semi-structured Interview where conducted before the test first week with an app, between apps and at the end of the last app.
The result of the study points out how important the design of the layout is for an app. It further highlights the importance of positive feedback from the system motivating the test participants to keep going. A ma-jor barrier for the use of the apps as the supportive tool they were designed to be, turned out to be the amount of time needed as well as the difficulties with entering data to the apps. These barriers proved to demotivate some of the test participant’s use of the apps and actually giving up on using the apps.
Publication date10 Aug 2015
Number of pages68
ID: 217328747