With this work we continue our research on exploring how gamification and healthcare can create more motivating user experiences. Specifically this study sheds light on the untapped social user experience opportunities on mobile.

The paper that will be presented at HCI International 2014 presents the findings of a diary study we conducted with runners. The theme was motivation and fitness, the research focus was gamification and social features.

From the Conclusion:

Designing social experiences for m-health apps requires a more robust approach to social behavior that may include connecting with existing social networks, like Facebook, but can not necessarily be defined by those existing models of what it means to share-- if a mobile app is to provide a unique experience to its users. The study further demonstrates that ‘behavioral change’ may occur with social UX, but cannot exclusively rely on social features to save an app from relevancy, user adoption, usability or privacy design issues. Social UX as a context-dependent strategy is highly associated with different user motivations (e.g. reflection, goals attainment) rather than an implicit user motivation for sharing content and information.

In other words, motivation to engage with social features on an app is NOT implied! To increase user engagement, designers of social user experiences need to align design strategies with actual user motivations. Don't just assume users will share and connect just because you have Facebook integration in your app.

We'll post the full paper below and presentation on the return from the conference. See you in Greece!

Spillers, F. & Asimakopoulos, S. (2014). Does social user experience improve motivation for runners? A diary study comparing mobile health applications. HCII 2014, Crete, Greece, June 22-27, A. Marcus (Ed.): DUXU 2014, Part IV, LNCS 8520, 358–369.

Conference website: http://www.hcii2014.org/