A smartphone app to promote an active lifestyle in lower-educated working young adults: development, usability, acceptability, and feasibility study

Simons, Dorien and De Bourdeaudhuij, Ilse and Clarys, Peter and De Cocker, Katrien and Vandelanotte, Corneel and Deforche, Benedicte (2018) A smartphone app to promote an active lifestyle in lower-educated working young adults: development, usability, acceptability, and feasibility study. Journal of Medical Internet Research Mhealth Uhealth, 6 (2 (e44)). pp. 1-18.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Physical activity (PA) levels are problematic in lower-educated working young adults (18-26 years). To promote PA, smartphone apps have great potential, but there is no evidence for their effectiveness in this population. To increase the likelihood that a newly developed app will be effective, formative research and user testing are required. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to describe the development, usability, acceptability, and feasibility of a new theory- and evidence-based smartphone app to promote an active lifestyle in lower-educated working young adults. METHODS: The new app was developed by applying 4 steps. First, determinants important to promote an active lifestyle in this population were selected. Second, evidence-based behavior change techniques were selected to convert the determinants into practical applications. Third, a new smartphone app was developed. Fourth, volunteers (n=11, both lower and higher educated) tested the app on usability, and lower-educated working young adults (n=16) tested its acceptability and feasibility via (think aloud) interviews, a questionnaire, and Google Analytics. The app was accordingly adapted for the final version. RESULTS: A new Android app, Active Coach, was developed that focused on knowledge, attitude, social support, and self-efficacy (based on outcomes from step 1), and that applied self-regulation techniques (based on outcomes from step 2). The app consists of a 9-week program with personal goals, practical tips, and scientific facts to encourage an active lifestyle. To ensure all-day and automatic self-monitoring of the activity behavior, the Active Coach app works in combination with a wearable activity tracker, the Fitbit Charge. Issues detected by the usability test (eg, text errors, wrong messages) were all fixed. The acceptability and feasibility test showed that participants found the app clear, understandable, and motivating, although some aspects needed to be more personal. CONCLUSIONS: By applying a stepwise, user-centered approach that regularly consulted the target group, the new app is adapted to their specific needs and preferences. The Active Coach app was overall positively evaluated by the lower-educated working young adults at the end of the development process.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published version made available in accordance with a Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2019 01:13
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2019 01:06
Uncontrolled Keywords: active transport; health promotion; mHealth; mobile applications; physical activity; young adult
Fields of Research : 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science > 110699 Human Movement and Sports Science not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: 10.2196/mhealth.8287
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/37063

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