Website physical activity interventions : preferences of potential users
journal contributionposted on 01.01.2006, 00:00 authored by S Ferney, A Marshall
Information and communication technologies (particularly websites and e-mail) have the potential to deliver health behavior change programs to large numbers of adults at low cost. Controlled trials using these new media to promote physical activity have produced mixed results. User-centered development methods can assist in understanding the preferences of potential participants for website functions and content, and may lead to more effective programs. Eight focus group discussions were conducted with 40 adults after they had accessed a previously trialed physical activity website. The discussions were audio taped, transcribed and interpreted using a themed analysis method. Four key themes emerged: structure, interactivity, environmental context and content. Preferences were expressed for websites that include simple interactive features, together with information on local community activity opportunities. Particular suggestions included online community notice boards, personalized progress charts, e-mail access to expert advice and access to information on specific local physical activity facilities and services. Website physical activity interventions could usefully include personally relevant interactive and environmentally focused features and services identified through a user-centered development process.