Young Innovators: Better apps might improve health, U of S research finds

People in the study who had customized avatars got more engaged with the tasks they were assigned to do online as part of the experiment.

Ever wondered why after a while you got tired of using that weight loss or meditation app on your phone?

For Max Birk (PhD'19), a recent University of Saskatchewan PhD graduate, who was featured in an article by Saskatoon Star Phoenix, the answer could be that you need a customizable avatar that represents you, the user.

Birk found users were more motivated to engage with health apps that allow people to create a virtual “mini-me.”

“The most significant barrier to using health apps is participants’ fading engagement,” said Regan Mandryk, U of S computer science professor and Birks’ former supervisor. “Max’s research may help improve this by combining design inspired by video games and psychological theories.”

Read more at https://thestarphoenix.com


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