Wearable activity tracker use among Australian adolescents: usability and acceptability study

Ridgers, Nicola D, Timperio, Anna, Brown, Helen, Ball, Kylie, Macfarlane, Susie, Lai, Samuel K, Richards, Kara, Mackintosh, Kelly A, McNarry, Melitta A, Foster, Megan and Salmon, Jo 2018, Wearable activity tracker use among Australian adolescents: usability and acceptability study, JMIR mHealth and uHealth, vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 1-10, doi: 10.2196/mhealth.9199.

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Title Wearable activity tracker use among Australian adolescents: usability and acceptability study
Author(s) Ridgers, Nicola DORCID iD for Ridgers, Nicola D orcid.org/0000-0001-5713-3515
Timperio, AnnaORCID iD for Timperio, Anna orcid.org/0000-0002-8773-5012
Brown, HelenORCID iD for Brown, Helen orcid.org/0000-0002-5460-3654
Ball, KylieORCID iD for Ball, Kylie orcid.org/0000-0003-2893-8415
Macfarlane, SusieORCID iD for Macfarlane, Susie orcid.org/0000-0002-8904-8945
Lai, Samuel K
Richards, Kara
Mackintosh, Kelly A
McNarry, Melitta A
Foster, Megan
Salmon, JoORCID iD for Salmon, Jo orcid.org/0000-0002-4734-6354
Journal name JMIR mHealth and uHealth
Volume number 6
Issue number 4
Article ID e86
Start page 1
End page 10
Total pages 10
Publisher JMIR Publications
Place of publication Toronto, Ont.
Publication date 2018-04
ISSN 2291-5222
Keyword(s) qualitative research
fitness trackers
physical activity
Summary BACKGROUND: Wearable activity trackers have the potential to be integrated into physical activity interventions, yet little is known about how adolescents use these devices or perceive their acceptability. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to examine the usability and acceptability of a wearable activity tracker among adolescents. A secondary aim was to determine adolescents' awareness and use of the different functions and features in the wearable activity tracker and accompanying app. METHODS: Sixty adolescents (aged 13-14 years) in year 8 from 3 secondary schools in Melbourne, Australia, were provided with a wrist-worn Fitbit Flex and accompanying app, and were asked to use it for 6 weeks. Demographic data (age, sex) were collected via a Web-based survey completed during week 1 of the study. At the conclusion of the 6-week period, all adolescents participated in focus groups that explored their perceptions of the usability and acceptability of the Fitbit Flex, accompanying app, and Web-based Fitbit profile. Qualitative data were analyzed using pen profiles, which were constructed from verbatim transcripts. RESULTS: Adolescents typically found the Fitbit Flex easy to use for activity tracking, though greater difficulties were reported for monitoring sleep. The Fitbit Flex was perceived to be useful for tracking daily activities, and adolescents used a range of features and functions available through the device and the app. Barriers to use included the comfort and design of the Fitbit Flex, a lack of specific feedback about activity levels, and the inability to wear the wearable activity tracker for water-based sports. CONCLUSIONS: Adolescents reported that the Fitbit Flex was easy to use and that it was a useful tool for tracking daily activities. A number of functions and features were used, including the device's visual display to track and self-monitor activity, goal-setting in the accompanying app, and undertaking challenges against friends. However, several barriers to use were identified, which may impact on sustained use over time. Overall, wearable activity trackers have the potential to be integrated into physical activity interventions targeted at adolescents, but both the functionality and wearability of the monitor should be considered.
Language eng
DOI 10.2196/mhealth.9199
Field of Research 110699 Human Movement and Sports Science not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 920401 Behaviour and Health
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2018, Nicola D Ridgers, Anna Timperio, Helen Brown, Kylie Ball, Susie Macfarlane, Samuel K Lai, Kara Richards, Kelly A Mackintosh, Melitta A McNarry, Megan Foster, Jo Salmon.
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30108084

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition
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