Combining Persuasive System Design Principles and Behavior Change Techniques in Digital Interventions Supporting Long-term Weight Loss Maintenance: Design and Development of eCHANGE

Rikke Aune Asbjørnsen, Jøran Hjelmesæth, Mirjam Lien Smedsrød, Jobke Wentzel, Marianne Ollivier, Matthew M. Clark, Julia E.W.C. van Gemert-Pijnen, Lise Solberg Nes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Long-term weight maintenance after weight loss is challenging, and innovative solutions are required. Digital technologies can support behavior change and, therefore, have the potential to be an effective tool for weight loss maintenance. However, to create meaningful and effective digital behavior change interventions that support end user values and needs, a combination of persuasive system design (PSD) principles and behavior change techniques (BCTs) might be needed. Objective: This study aimed to investigate how an evidence-informed digital behavior change intervention can be designed and developed by combining PSD principles and BCTs into design features to support end user values and needs for long-term weight loss maintenance. Methods: This study presents a concept for how PSD principles and BCTs can be translated into design features by combining design thinking and Agile methods to develop and deliver an evidence-informed digital behavior change intervention aimed at supporting weight maintenance. Overall, 45 stakeholders participated in the systematic and iterative development process comprising co-design workshops, prototyping, Agile development, and usability testing. This included prospective end users (n=17, 38%; ie, people with obesity who had lost ≥8% of their weight), health care providers (n=9, 20%), healthy volunteers (n=4, 9%), a service designer (n=1, 2%), and stakeholders from the multidisciplinary research and development team (n=14, 31%; ie, software developers; digital designers; and eHealth, behavior change, and obesity experts). Stakeholder input on how to operationalize the design features and optimize the technology was examined through formative evaluation and qualitative analyses using rapid and in-depth analysis approaches. Results: A total of 17 design features combining PSD principles and BCTs were identified as important to support end user values and needs based on stakeholder input during the design and development of eCHANGE, a digital intervention to support long-term weight loss maintenance. The design features were combined into 4 main intervention components: Week Plan, My Overview, Knowledge and Skills, and Virtual Coach and Smart Feedback System. To support a healthy lifestyle and continued behavior change to maintain weight, PSD principles such as tailoring, personalization, self-monitoring, reminders, rewards, rehearsal, praise, and suggestions were combined and implemented into the design features together with BCTs from the clusters of goals and planning, feedback and monitoring, social support, repetition and substitution, shaping knowledge, natural consequences, associations, antecedents, identity, and self-belief. Conclusions: Combining and implementing PSD principles and BCTs in digital interventions aimed at supporting sustainable behavior change may contribute to the design of engaging and motivating interventions in line with end user values and needs. As such, the design and development of the eCHANGE intervention can provide valuable input for future design and tailoring of evidence-informed digital interventions, even beyond digital interventions in support of health behavior change and long-term weight loss maintenance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere37372
JournalJMIR Human Factors
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022

Keywords

  • Agile development
  • behavior change
  • co-design
  • design thinking
  • digital health interventions
  • eHealth
  • human-centered design
  • mobile phone
  • persuasive technology
  • weight loss maintenance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics

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