As social networking technologies have advanced, the place where social interaction occurs has expanded through diverse social channels that connect a huge network of human resources. While the opportunities for users to connect with potential mediators who can influence the maintenance of other people’s behavior change have increased, little work exists on the social influence of those mediators and how the relationship between mediators and social channels, as well as mediators' roles and different qualities of social interaction, impact the maintenance of health behavior changes. Thus, this PhD research aims to establish a social reinforcement framework in health IT services in order to suggest guidelines for designing effective health IT services that help users to maintain their health behaviors. After a social reinforcement framework is established, an example case of health IT service using a social reinforcement framework will be developed and revised iteratively, reflecting the users' evaluations.
People become increasingly influenced by others in changing and maintaining health behaviors. Along with the advancement of persuasive technology and social networking technologies, the place where social interaction occurs has expanded. As a result, mediators who influence an individual's behavior change can come from diverse social channels. However, little work exists on what roles the mediators have and how differently the mediators motivate and affect the maintenance of health behavior changes of users through various social channels. To investigate this, we conducted interviews with 13 participants who use a running exercise application for maintaining their health behavior changes. This study reveals the roles of mediators from three different social channels, which are the social feature in the application, general social media, and the agent feature in the application. Mediators from the application could influence participants' health behavior change either positively or negatively according to the level of intimacy and the similarity of the physical condition. Social media mediators influence participants' social face and support their health behavior changes by keeping participants in countenance. Lastly, the agent mediator of the application provides continuous reinforcement to participants for maintaining their health behavior changes.
Other people’s reactions, including attention, affection, and reputation, reinforce an individual’s desirable behaviors. Specifically, this reinforcement has shown effectiveness in promoting health-related behavioral changes. This is social reinforcement, and the person who provides it is a mediator. Although products and services that promote health-related behavior, such as activity trackers, have increased dramatically in the market, little attention has been given to their social influences, such as social reinforcement from mediators. Activity trackers collect a log of daily activity from the user and share it with other users through an application. Naturally, users compare data and compete through the application. Although users are connected through the activity trackers, the influences differ according to the different roles of mediators. To reveal the roles and influences of mediators when using activity trackers, we conducted interviews with 12 participants who use activity trackers to maintain their health behaviors. We found that the participants classified mediators into several groups according to their roles and that the participants wanted to have different qualities in their social interaction with different mediator types. Based on these findings, we explored design opportunities and issues regarding the mediators in health promotion products and services.
With increase in people's attention to health, various mobile applications for healthy diet have been rapidly developed. The applications use their own design strategies to help users lose weight effectively. While the importance of various strategies to change health behavior has been discussed, little work exists on how these strategies and their design features are applied to mobile applications on the market and what user experience they are providing. This study highlighted how the key features of diet applications affect user experience in terms of service design strategies.
Cheating in an exergame has been perceived as a negative activity because the purpose and method of using the application when engaging in cheating are different from the original intent of it. However, it is also known that there is a possibility to take advantage of the positive aspects of cheating in exergames such as motivating users and maintaining them physically active, which motivated us to understand cheating from different perspectives rather than just prohibiting it. To explore and examine this potential, we investigated exergame users' cheating experiences. As a result, design implications of cheating are suggested that can enhance users' experiences with exergames.
Social interaction crucially impacts health-related behaviors not only in the context of the physical world but also when using a health IT service. In each temporal phase of before, during, and after health-related behaviors, different social interactions are needed. Therefore, way to provide appropriate social interactions in each phase should be explored, and such interactions should be systematically framed to induce effective health behavior changes among the users of health IT services. As an explanation of how to apply different social interactions for diverse people according to the temporal phase, this study suggests a design principle of social interactions for each temporal phase of health-related behaviors when using health IT services based on survey and user interview data.