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

Dorien Simons UGent, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij UGent, Peter Clarys, Katrien De Cocker UGent, Corneel Vandelanotte and Benedicte Deforche UGent (2018) JMIR MHEALTH UHEALTH. 6(2).
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.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
journalArticle (original)
publication status
published
subject
keyword
physical activity & health, active transport, health promotion, mHealth, mobile applications, physical activity, young adult
journal title
JMIR MHEALTH UHEALTH
JMIR mHealth uHealth
volume
6
issue
2
article number
e44
pages
18 pages
ISSN
2291-5222
DOI
10.2196/mhealth.8287
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
A2
copyright statement
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0)
id
8552112
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-8552112
date created
2018-02-27 10:52:58
date last changed
2018-05-16 12:49:30
@article{8552112,
  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.},
  articleno    = {e44},
  author       = {Simons, Dorien and De Bourdeaudhuij, Ilse and Clarys, Peter and De Cocker, Katrien and Vandelanotte, Corneel and Deforche, Benedicte},
  issn         = {2291-5222},
  journal      = {JMIR MHEALTH UHEALTH},
  keyword      = {physical activity \& health,active transport,health promotion,mHealth,mobile applications,physical activity,young adult},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {18},
  title        = {A smartphone app to promote an active lifestyle in lower-educated working young adults : development, usability, acceptability, and feasibility study},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/mhealth.8287},
  volume       = {6},
  year         = {2018},
}

Chicago
Simons, Dorien, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij, Peter Clarys, Katrien De Cocker, Corneel Vandelanotte, and Benedicte Deforche. 2018. “A Smartphone App to Promote an Active Lifestyle in Lower-educated Working Young Adults : Development, Usability, Acceptability, and Feasibility Study.” Jmir Mhealth Uhealth 6 (2).
APA
Simons, Dorien, De Bourdeaudhuij, I., Clarys, P., De Cocker, K., Vandelanotte, C., & Deforche, B. (2018). A smartphone app to promote an active lifestyle in lower-educated working young adults : development, usability, acceptability, and feasibility study. JMIR MHEALTH UHEALTH, 6(2).
Vancouver
1.
Simons D, De Bourdeaudhuij I, Clarys P, De Cocker K, Vandelanotte C, Deforche B. A smartphone app to promote an active lifestyle in lower-educated working young adults : development, usability, acceptability, and feasibility study. JMIR MHEALTH UHEALTH. 2018;6(2).
MLA
Simons, Dorien, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij, Peter Clarys, et al. “A Smartphone App to Promote an Active Lifestyle in Lower-educated Working Young Adults : Development, Usability, Acceptability, and Feasibility Study.” JMIR MHEALTH UHEALTH 6.2 (2018): n. pag. Print.