Currently submitted to: JMIR Formative Research
Date Submitted: Jul 4, 2019
Open Peer Review Period: Jul 8, 2019 - Sep 2, 2019
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SedVis: Supporting Sedentary Behavior Change by Visualizing Personal Mobility Patterns and Action Planning on Smartphone
Prolonged sedentary behavior is related to a number of risk factors for chronic diseases. Given the high prevalence of sedentary behavior in daily life, light-weight solutions for behavior change are needed to avoid detrimental health effects.
Based on behavioral theories, the mobile app SedVis was developed. The app provides personal mobility pattern visualization and action planning. We aimed to study the effect of the mobility visualization on users’ action planning and change in sedentary behavior, as well as engagement with the visualization and user experience of the app.
We conducted a three-week pilot study with 16 participants who had the motivation to reduce their sedentary behavior. A mixed study design was adopted: after the one-week baseline period with no access to the functions in the app, only the intervention group (N=8) was given the access to the visualizations, while both the control group (N=8) and the intervention group were asked to make action plans every day during the two-week intervention period.
We analyze the data using both traditional null-hypothesis significance testing and Bayesian statistics. The results showed that the visualizations in SedVis had no statistically significant effect on the participants’ action planning. The intervention involving the visualizations and action planning in SedVis had a positive effect on reducing participants’ sedentary hours with weak evidence, while the control condition did not decrease sedentary time. We also found that the more frequently the users checked the app, the more they reduced the sedentary behavior. The visualizations in the app also led to higher user-perceived novelty. No participants complained about the interruption, while some participants commented that making action plans every day was boring.
Using a smartphone app to collect mobility data and provide feedback in real time using visualizations is a promising method to induce changes in sedentary behavior and might be more effective than action planning alone.
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