Encouraging Physical Activity with Gamification Approaches: Goal-setting, Social Community, and “FitPet” Game-based Mobile Application

Resource type
Thesis type
(Thesis) M.Sc.
Date created
Author: Tong, Xin
Wearable trackers and mobile applications can facilitate self-reflection of doing physical activity. The gamification process incorporates game design elements with persuasive systems in order to encourage more physical activity. However, few gamification strategies have been rigorously evaluated; these investigations showed that using the same gamification mechanism to promote physical activity could have contradictory effects. Therefore, I developed FitPet, a virtual pet-keeping mobile game for encouraging activity. I evaluated its effectiveness, and compared it with the goal-setting and social community strategies in a six-week field study. The findings revealed social interactions were the most effective intervention. Contrary to prior research, goal-setting was not perceived as an effective way to provide motivation compared to social interactions overall. Although FitPet was not able to promote significantly higher activity, participants showed great interests in this approach and provided design insights for future research: implementing social components and more challenging gameplay.
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Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Gromala, Diane
Thesis advisor: Shaw, Chris
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