How about a Motivation App?

April 12, 2011

There is some evidence that although there may be a lot of downloads of health related apps to smart phones, they are underutilized. Especially apps for diets, food monitoring, exercise and walking.  Is this a usability problem or lack of complete features?

At one of the breaks during TEDxMaastricht, I had the idea that it may come down to what motivates each person individually. Are you motivated by some kind of rewards (financial or “chance to win…”) or by a social network or by being able to chart your results or receiving regular reminders, etc. What about a chance to win coupons (Groupon integration)?

What about developing an app which would take you through a series of questions to understand what motivates you to exercise or watch what you eat and then matches you with the apps which provide these types of motivations.

If anyone knows of such an app or is developing one, let me know.  If you develop one based on this post, give me some credit. Thanks.

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3 Responses to “How about a Motivation App?”

  1. Steve Agular says:

    I agree that motivation may be part of the answer. I think if we could unpeel the layers of successful health management programs or therapies, we would see that they are comprehensive in nature (not surprising, I know). Along that line of thinking, mobile apps should be viewed as one of many important tools (family/friend support, doctor/coach monitoring, diagnostics, etc.) needed in support of an individual’s end goal (e.g., weight loss or chronic disease management).

  2. John Sharp says:

    From Twitter
    Great blogpost. Why focus on motivation? See my comment and mistake #5 of @bjfogg ‘s brilliant slides

  3. Dear John,
    Interesting blogpost and question. I used to think that motivation was the key factor to behavior change. Since I came across the work of Karen Pine and Ben Fletcher of “Do Something Different” and B.J. Fogg of Stanford I’m not so sure anymore. Take a look at Fogg’s brilliant slides at especially mistake #5: “Blaming failures on lack of motivation”

    PS: Are you also still in the “afterglow” of TEDxMaastricht?
    This is also what Pine and Fletcher argue: small feasible steps (that are fun to do) are more important than focusing on (lack of) motivation.
    So yes, we are thinking about an app (good idea!), but I’m not sure if it should be focused on motivation.

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