User Requirements for Gamifying Sports Software

Abstract. Sports tracking software for casual exercising has become popular with smart phone users who are concerned about their health and fitness. Nevertheless, there is limited research on the user requirements for sports tracking software, which needs to be fun and easy to use in order to appeal to a broad set of users. For this purpose, we employed a four-week long experiment with five users who were asked to perform multiple workouts with two levels of gamification. The first treatment stands for no gamification and the second treatment provided rich visual feedback, such as speed, distance, elapsed time, map. At the end of the experiment, we asked users to describe the devices. Both devices included GPS sensor, so we also measured the distance covered for each one of the workouts. We found that augmented feedback from mobile self-tracking devices can promote working out, but there is also a trade-off of increased anxiety and disorientation. Thus, we suggest that sports tracking software should be modest about how much and what type of visual information it provides to the user. In particular, we found that the only piece of visual information that had an impact on performance was average speed, which indicates a connection with gamication. Further research should consider additional levels of gamification beyond score, such as graphics, sociability, rules.

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