AM+A: Health Machine

Health Machine screenshot

Finding a life-enhancing and life-preserving way of life is a 21st-century global challenge. Obesity and type 2 diabetes are increasing in many countries. Health/nutrition information, products, and services available to increase people’s awareness of health issues and propel changes by monitoring food are targeted to the PC/Web, do not focus on innovative data visualization, and lack persuasive effectiveness. Communicating critical data helps build awareness, but does not result automatically in effecting behavioral changes. The question then becomes: How can we motivate, persuade, educate, and lead people to reduce their food consumption and exercise more?

For its Health Machine concept design of 2010, AM+A researched, analyzed, designed, and evaluated powerful ways to improve healthful behavior by persuading and motivating people, especially those 50+ from lower economic and educational levels, to reduce food consumption and increase exercise by means of a well-designed mobile-phone application concept-prototype: the “Health Machine.” The author’s firm designed and tested a prototype Green Machine application oriented to making energy conservation behavior changes in 2009. The Health Machine uses similar principles of combining information design/visualization and persuasion design. AM+A reviewed the presentation with a certified dietician and redesigned screens based on her recommendations. AM+A’s presentation and white paper explain the development of the Health Machine’s user interface, information design, information visualization, and persuasion design. AM+A is publishing a case study about the project and lectures about the project worldwide.

Posted on 1 October 2010 in AM+A Blog, Featured-Projects | 17 Comments » You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

17 Responses to “AM+A: Health Machine”

  1. Pramit wrote:

    Wow, what an awful and wordy way to state a giant problem and an terrible “solution”. I’m sorry, but I’m already bored to tears reading this. Anyways, from what I’ve managed to read, here’s why I think this project will FAIL:

    1. One of the best ways to change behavior is to lower or completely remove barriers. Instead, you guys did the exact opposite by adding them. You’re assuming that users of “lower economic and educational levels” will actually have iPhones. I highly doubt it, but I don’t know the statistics so whatever – I’ll stretch my mind and assume they do.

    2. From what I understand, you expect users to log in every time they eat and exercise? HAHAHA, that’s hilarious! You should expect compliancy to fall faster than the stock market in 1929. Nobody will use it past the first day, let alone the first week. You’re trying to introduce way too many new habits all at once, making it extremely easy for the common man to GIVE UP.

    3. Educating and “visualizing” stuff will NOT convert a guy who eats McDonalds every day to eat healthier. Just think about it. Smokers know smoking will kill them but they do it anyways! Sure you can show them pictures of some hideous smokers, but more than likely they’ll be back smoking rings after a few days. Even take me, for example. I really shouldn’t eat that muffin, and I’ve personally experienced obesity before, but if I pass by it four or five times a day I will most likely end up eating that muffin. Willpower is a limited resource.

    I know I’ve probably seen maybe 1% of what this iPhone app can do, but if this is any indicator of the project as a whole, I highly recommend you stop wasting your time on this project. No amount of “information design/visualization and persuasion design” or consulting with a dietician will get people to live healthier lives.

    Oh and one more thing. The project description made my eyes go temporarily blind – it’s that bad. What the heck is “life-enhancing and life-preserving way of life”??? I can tell that whoever wrote this (a) didn’t read it himself, (b) had no clue what this project is about, and/or (c) just doesn’t understand the design process well enough to recite it.

    Phew, that was long! That said, here’s how I can help: I can vastly improve the project description so it’s actually fun and interesting to read, and suggest simpler and much cheaper approaches to this project. Interested? Email me.

    Monday, 10.17.2011 at 5:21 pm
  2. I tend not to leave a response, but after reading through some of the comments on this page AM+A: Health Machine : Aaron Marcus and Associates, Inc.. I actually do have some questions for you if it’s okay. Could it be just me or do some of these responses look like they are left by brain dead visitors? 😛 And, if you are writing at additional social sites, I’d like to follow everything new you have to post. Could you post a list of the complete urls of all your shared sites like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

    Monday, 04.16.2012 at 7:21 pm
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