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Beyond Self-Tracking and Reminders: Designing Smartphone Apps That Support Habit Formation

Stawarz, KM; Cox, AL; Blandford, A; (2015) Beyond Self-Tracking and Reminders: Designing Smartphone Apps That Support Habit Formation. In: CHI '15: Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Seoul, Republic of Korea, April 18 - 23, 2015. (pp. 2653 - 2662). ACM: New York, NY, USA. Green open access

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Abstract

Habit formation is an important part of behavior change interventions: to ensure an intervention has long-term effects, the new behavior has to turn into a habit and become automatic. Smartphone apps could help with this process by supporting habit formation. To better understand how, we conducted a 4-week study exploring the influence of different types of cues and positive reinforcement on habit formation and reviewed the functionality of 115 habit formation apps. We discovered that relying on reminders supported repetition but hindered habit development, while the use of event-based cues led to increased automaticity; positive reinforcement was ineffective. The functionality review revealed that existing apps focus on self-tracking and reminders, and do not support event-based cues. We argue that apps, and technology-based interventions in general, have the potential to provide real habit support, and present design guidelines for interventions that could support habit formation through contextual cues and implementation intentions.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: Beyond Self-Tracking and Reminders: Designing Smartphone Apps That Support Habit Formation
Event: CHI 2015: Crossings
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Dates: 2015-04-19 - 2015-04-23
ISBN-13: 9781450331456
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1145/2702123.2702230
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2702123.2702230
Language: English
Additional information: © Owner/Author 2015. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive Version of Record was published in CHI 15, http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2702123.2702230
Keywords: smartphone apps, habit formation, behaviour change
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > UCL Interaction Centre
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1468224
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