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Drawing Parallels Between Web 2.0 and Games For Health


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How do certain Web 2.0 technologies impact people’s health and fitness decisions? Are the audiences who spend hours of screen time in online destinations like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Second Life similar to the audiences who are drawn to exergaming and other games for health? Which outcomes from playing video games parallel those who micro-blog, engage in online social networks and nurture their avatars in virtual worlds? As programmers and researchers, what can we learn from making these observations?

Since the advent of broadband technology and the increased prevalence of wireless networks, the web has evolved into a powerful, interactive and ‘real-time’ environment – allowing content to be much more user-centric and user-generated. And because of this shift in digital culture, more fitness professionals are embracing online tools to create everything from fitness podcasts to cyber coaching sessions.

The objective of this brief, informal session is to bring these ideas to the forefront of our conversations, as they relate to games for health. More research is needed in this area and potential collaborative efforts could benefit from having gaming/web-based hybrids.

Published in: Health & Medicine
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Drawing Parallels Between Web 2.0 and Games For Health

  1. 1. Drawing Parallels Between Web 2.0 and Games for Health Biray Alsac, MS Fitness Technologist 5 th Annual Games For Health 2009 Boston, MA “ Your Guide to Exercising the Web”
  2. 2. Web 2.0 is much more user-generated, user-centric and interactive (instead of information-driven and passive)
  3. 3. Broadband allows for more data exchange, increasing expectations of immediacy, real-time 24 / 7 Chat
  4. 4. Open-source opportunities Promote building, remixing, sharing
  5. 5. Wired-to-Wireless lets people be more mobile and less confined to specific spaces
  6. 6. Community-Driven, Social Networking made easy (Conversations evolve around who you are, not always on what you say)
  7. 8. “ Sitting in front of the PC is taking its toll... I have begun to get a little heavier around the waist… I don't have the luxury of just getting out of the house/office. And being an introvert, I'm not enamored of the idea of exercising in full view of *shudder* people…"
  11. 12. ACTIVITY Add Your Own
  12. 13. TRACKING You can also track an activity you currently engage in and compare with other ‘friends’
  13. 14. “ GAME”
  14. 15. Motivational messages on Profile ‘wall’ when user reaches goals. FEEDBACK (Improve & Stay Motivated) BioFeedback Unlock Exercises Motivational Cues “Good Job” when player reaches certain levels
  15. 16. SESSION OVER! Turn off the Wii-Fit (all data stored in console) Sign Off DailyBurn (all data is stored online) Email when you haven’t logged in for a week. iPhone App to pick up where you left off.
  16. 17. Observations <ul><li>Web 2.0 is accessible, therefore fitness professionals and health educators/promoters are already participating in this space. </li></ul><ul><li>Do games for health/exergames limit or enhance a professional’s role (beyond simply facilitating and/or encouraging game play)? </li></ul>
  17. 19. Observations <ul><li>What does web 2.0 tell us about our health games? </li></ul><ul><li>What do games tell us about web 2.0? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we effectively marry these two cultures together (and go outside of providing a support community/forums for a game, push for mobile technologies)? </li></ul>
  18. 20. Observations <ul><li>Web 2.0/online culture tells health/fitness professionals and educators about a newer audience – ‘overfat-thin’ sedentary person (tech-savvy, digital native). </li></ul><ul><li>More research needed to try to understand this audiences’ motivations and needs when designing games? (Millennials/Gen Y, Gen Alpha) </li></ul>
  19. 21. Observations <ul><li>More interventions that incorporate the culture or analyze the impact of these tools </li></ul><ul><li>How do we quantify motivation or qualify health behavior change cross-platforms? </li></ul>
  20. 22. Drawing Parallels Between Web 2.0 and Games for Health Biray Alsac, MS Fitness Technologist [email_address] Skype / Twitter: befitt 5 th Annual Games For Health 2009 Boston, MA “ Your Guide to Exercising the Web”