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More than step count: designing a workplace-based activity tracking system

  • Dhaval VyasEmail author
  • Thilina Halloluwa
  • Nikolaj Heinzler
  • Jinglan Zhang
Original Article

Abstract

The ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach used in current activity tracking devices such as FitBit, Jawbone, and smartwatches may not be enough to encourage healthier behaviour patterns in people, as much more considerate design is required to create meaningful experiences. This paper focuses on designing an activity tracking system that can be used in a workplace setting. We apply a grounded approach, where we aim to understand employee’s perceptions of physical activities at workplaces and the role an activity tracker can play in supporting that. We describe a three-phase design process, which involves (1) interviewing employees who participated in a large-scale employer-sponsored health and wellness programme, (2) two participatory design workshops that aimed at understanding the role of activity tracking in workplace contexts and generating ideas for activity tracking applications, and (3) studying the use of the resulting design prototype—QUTgo—as a ‘technology probe’ to gather insights into the potential of physical activity tracking in workplaces. This paper contributes to the emerging repoirtoire of studies on activity tracking by providing a user-centric perspective on how to design an engaging activity tracking system that takes into account employees’ perspectives and experiences and the dynamics of specific work settings.

Keywords

Activity tracking Design Workplaces Mobile app Physical activities 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Several colleagues and students have participated in this project. We would like to thank Mark Vandeberg for his work in developing an initial version of the QUTgo app. We thank Zachary Fitz-Walter, Erica Mealy, Alessandro Soro, Paul Roe, and Margot Brereton, who collaborated in the phase 1 of this project. We also thank Bernd Ploderer and numerous capstone project students for their help in this project. The QUTgo video clip is developed by Liam Dinsdale, Tony Huang, Joseph Scanlon, and Zisong Zhang. We thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia
  2. 2.Queensland University of Technology (QUT)BrisbaneAustralia

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