Investigating the Affordances of Wellness mHealth Apps

Alshawmar, Moayad
Mombini, Haadi
Tulu, Bengisu
Vaghefi, Isaac
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Previous research on the effectiveness of wellness mHealth apps focused on the design and features of such apps and paid insufficient attention to how the whole relationship between the apps and users impact use. Using affordance theory, we investigated what wellness mHealth apps afford to users and why these affordances are not actualized by all users. We conducted a qualitative study, collecting data from apps’ reviews and from fifteen participants who used multiple wellness mHealth apps. Our grounded theory analysis revealed four shared affordances (promoting goals, comparing oneself to others, coaching, and nurturing) related to the use of wellness mHealth apps and three immediate concrete outcomes (habit formation, self-awareness, and goal attainment) reached after the affordances were actualized. Nonetheless, factors such as information overload, aesthetic appreciation, and users’ characteristics may impact users’ actualizations of the shared affordances and prevent some users from reaching their immediate concrete outcomes.
Personal Health and Wellness Management with Technologies, affordance theory, grounded theory, mhealth applications, wellness mhealth apps
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