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Schneider, Hanna; Moser, Kilian; Butz, Andreas and Alt, Florian (2016): Understanding the Mechanics of Persuasive System Design: a Mixed-Method Theory-driven Analysis of the Mobile Fitness Coach Freeletics. In: Kaye, Jofish (ed.) : CHI 2016 : proceedings : the 34th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems : San Jose Convention Center, San Jose, CA, May 7-12. New York, N.Y.: Association for Computing Machinery. pp. 309-320

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While we know that persuasive system design matters, we barely understand when persuasive strategies work and why they only work in some cases. We propose an approach to systematically understand and design for motivation, by studying the fundamental building blocks of motivation, according to the theory of planned behavior (TPB): attitude, subjective norm, and perceived control. We quantitatively analyzed (N=643) the attitudes, beliefs, and values of mobile fitness coach users with TPB. Capacity (i.e., perceived ability to exercise) had the biggest effect on users' motivation. Using individual differences theory, we identified three distinct user groups, namely followers, hedonists, and achievers. With insights from semi-structured interviews (N=5) we derive design implications finding that transformation videos that feature other users success stories as well as suggesting an appropriate workout can have positive effects on perceived capacity. Practitioners and researchers can use our theory-based mixed-method research design to better understand user behavior in persuasive applications.

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