Sedentary behavior and lack of exercise pose a threat to both individual health and the viability of health-care systems and societies. Portable fitness trackers as prominent persuasive technologies are seen as a way to increase the level of physical activity. Yet, despite their technical capabilities, their affordability, and their advantages in regard to increased physical activity, they are neither used across the population, nor for long periods of time. To understand if and how product design influences acceptance and projected use, we evaluated users’ preferences of using wearables, using a conjoint analysis approach with 412 participants of a wide age spectrum. Besides different relative importances of product properties (privacy design, perceived utility, accuracy, motivational design are rated from most to least important), three user segments with distinct technical requirements were identified (data protectors, benefit maximizers, facts enthusiasts). The three segments differ not only in product preference but also regarding other user factors. We presume that a broader and more sustainable use of wearables can be achieved when tailoring information and communication strategies alongside with the requirements of these user segments.
Digitalization and automation have changed the working life of today’s societies tremendously. The majority of Western work nowadays includes the use of electronic devices, and, more often than not, that of computers. Therefore, eight or more hours a day are spend sitting in front of a monitor or hunched over a touchscreen. Not only does this have a negative impact on posture, but studies have shown that prolonged sedentary behavior plays a major factor in health issues such as decreased mobility, weight-gain or even obesity, and other cardiovascular impairments, see, e.g., (Biswas et al., 2015; de Rezende, Lopes, Rey-López, Matsudo, & Do Carmo Luiz, 2014; Owen, Sparling, Healy, Dunstan, & Matthews, 2010). According to Knight, physical activity is declining in North America and Europe, relates to several diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and coronary or cerebrovascular diseases, and therefore has a negative impact on life expectancy and – in the long run – the viability of health-care systems (Knight, 2012). Yet, Mendes et al. show that regular medium-intense exercises have a positive effect on health (Mendes, Sousa, & Barata, 2011); especially for children, older adults, and people dealing with overweight or obesity. And although intensity, frequency, and duration of the exercises might be optimized to achieve the highest health benefits, some physical activity is always considered as better than none. Other benefits of regular physical activities include the mitigation of migraines (Varkey et al., 2011), the reduction of symptoms of depression (Cooney et al., 2013), as well as increased executive functioning and working memory performance for young children, young adults, as well as older adults.