videoJanuary 28 2016

User Engagement in Consumer Health Apps

JP Pollak

Databite No. 67

In this era of increasing ubiquity of sensing and computing devices, we still struggle mightily engaging people with systems designed to evaluate and improve health. Several fundamental challenges face developers, clinicians, researchers, and entrepreneurs building mobile applications in health as a result. Academic and industry success metrics are even at odds with designing for sustained engagement, instead prioritizing significant changes to behavior in the former and massive growth in the latter. JP Pollak presents examples from a consumer health app, Wellcoin, and his own research that highlights successes and (more interestingly!) failures in engaging a wide variety of people. Preview: gamification stinks, great design is nowhere near as important as we like to believe, and no tactics are one size fits all.

JP Pollak, PhD. designs, builds, and evaluates data-driven consumer healthcare applications as a co-founder of Curiosity Health, Senior Researcher-in-Residence at Cornell Tech, and an Assistant Professor at Weill Cornell Medicine.

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Data & Society’s “Databites” speaker series presents timely conversations about the purpose and power of technology, bridging our interdisciplinary research with broader public conversations about the societal implications of data and automation.