Persuasive design for behaviour change apps: Issues for designers

Callie Thomson, Jane Nash, Anthony Maeder

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The main aim of this position paper is to identify and briefly discuss design-related issues commonly encountered with the implementation of both behaviour change techniques and persuasive design principles in physical activity smartphone applications. These overlapping issues highlight a disconnect in the perspectives held between health scientists' focus on the application of behaviour change theories and components of interventions, and the information systems designers' focus on the application of persuasive design principles as software design features intended to motivate, facilitate and support individuals through the behaviour change process. A review of the current status and some examples of these different perspectives is presented, leading to the identification of the main issues associated with this disconnection. The main behaviour change technique issues identified are concerned with: the fragmented integration of techniques, hindrances in successful use, diversity of user needs and preferences, and the informational flow and presentation. The main persuasive design issues identified are associated with: the fragmented application of persu design principles, hindrances in successful usage, diversity of user needs and preferences, informational flow and presentation, the lack of pragmatic guidance for application designers, and the maintenance of immersive user interactions and engagements. Given the common overlap across four of the identified issues, it is concluded that a methodological approach for integrating these two perspectives, and their associated issues, into a consolidated framework is necessary to address the apparent disconnect between these two independently-established, yet complementary fields.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sep 2016
EventSAICSIT 2016 -
Duration: 26 Sep 2016 → …


ConferenceSAICSIT 2016
Period26/09/16 → …


  • Behaviour Change
  • Behaviour Change Techniques
  • Persuasive Design
  • Physical Activity
  • Smartphone Applications


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