Nowadays a lot of people use wearables to keep track of interesting data, to compare between each other, and also monitor health data. Users analyse data such as steps, heart rate, burned calories, among others. However, only accessing this kind of information does not mean we are able to monitor health or to improve our health behaviours. It is essential to know the meaning of the data we are observing to understand our current health situation. If the knowledge of health indicators is weak, or is not well communicated, it becomes difficult for a person to change his behaviour by only displaying disparate values or seemingly meaningless, complex charts.
Although the wearables market reached shipments of 33.9 million units in the fourth quarter of 2016, growing 16.9% year over year [Cor17a], there has been decline on the target user’s interest. People are acquiring wearables slower than expected, and this is also due to the changes that device vendors undergo to create smarter wearables. While vendors are trying to focus on smarter devices, they are neglecting the most impactful features of a wearable – the self-motivation that wearables can imbue to a person’s health have evolved slowly. At present, wearables try to motivate users through achievements, notifications, goals, competitive comparison to other people, and by using dynamic interactions through social media integration. Despite all those motivational features, some users continue to display weak continued adoption, and they also fail to change their habits with these features alone. Furthermore, health tracking applications have small influence on helping users achieve this. Therefore wearables are not improving the health habits of users as well as they could. In this context, it is important to enhance the user experience and to evolve the methods of presenting data, in order to enable users to understand better what applications show them, to induce them in a change of habits, and consequentially to improve their health.
In this thesis there were two main goals. The first one was to create a application that presents the state of the art related to health sensor data, regardless of source being a phone or a wearable but as long as it is widely available. This included traits like steps, heart rate, periodic averages of them, among others. The second goal was intended to develop a proof-of-concept application. After a pilot project, practical results have been collected and analysed through user assessments (interviews and/or surveys), based on a sample.
Author: Maria Teresa Chaves
Type: MSc thesis
Partner: Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto