Smartphone applications have shown promise in supporting people to adopt healthy lifestyles. Hence, it is critical to understand persuasive design strategies incorporated in native mobile applications that facilitate behavior change. The aim of our study was to identify distinct persuasive software features assimilated in twelve selected applications using Persuasive Systems Design (PSD) model and provide a methodical framework for systems developers and IS researchers to extract and evaluate such features. Further, this study aimed to provide deeper comprehension of persuasive design and strategies by learning from practice. Exhaustive evaluations were performed by four researchers specializing in persuasive information systems simulating users walking through the applications step-by-step performing regular tasks. The results disclose the need for improvement in designing and incorporating persuasive techniques in personal well-being applications. While self-monitoring and personalization were moderately exploited, tailoring, a key persuasive feature, was not identified among the evaluated applications. In addition, evaluated applications lacked features that could augment human-computer dialogue as well as social support. The contribution of this paper is two-fold: while it exposes weakness in persuasive design of native mobile applications for personal well-being, it provides a methodical approach for enhancing general persuasiveness of such applications for instance, through enhanced dialogue support. We propose that designers and IS researchers perform rigorous evaluations of persuasive features incorporated in personal well-being applications.
Langrial, Sitwat; Lehto, Tuomas; Oinas-Kukkonen, Harri; Harjumaa, Marja; and Karppinen, Pasi, "Native Mobile Applications For Personal Well-Being: A Persuasive Systems Design Evaluation" (2012). PACIS 2012 Proceedings. 93.