Wellness Interventions and HCI

Theory, Practice, and Technology • May 21, 2012


In recent years, we have seen a large explosion of research, practice, and technology focused on human’s wellness with the intention of helping people avoid needing medical care. Many emerging wellness technology applications include systems for encouraging physical activity [1,2], healthy diet [3], and self-regulation of emotions [4]. Also, various wellness interventions have been created using a range of technology such as social computing and ubiquitous computing [5,6]. Given the increasing emergence of wellness interventions and applications, there is a need to integrate existing diverse research endeavors and discuss key HCI issues and opportunities for next generation wellness interventions and applications.

Although the difference between wellness and health is diffuse and a matter of discussion, it is generally accepted that wellness is focused on the promotion or maintenance of good health rather than the correction of poor health [5]. In this sense, wellness applications are different from health applications that typically focus on treatment or management of disease. Instead, wellness applications aim to keep individuals healthy by helping to avoid unhealthy behavior or unnecessary exposure to unhealthy environments, monitoring the personal health state while indicating changes. This distinctive aspect of wellness applications impose new questions and challenges to researchers in various fields of wellness, including HCI, preventive care, health promotion, and psychology: How do we design a system that aims to promote individuals’ and/or community’s wellness for years or life-long? What sensing technologies can be used, now and in the future? How do we motivate individuals to use the system? This workshop provides a forum to discuss these key issues facing next generation of wellness applications.


[1]    Anderson, I., Maitland, J., Sherwood, S., et al. Shakra: Tracking and Sharing Daily Activity Levels with Unaugmented Mobile Phones. Mobile Networks and Applications 12, 2-3 (2007), 185-199.

[2]    Lin, J.L., Mamykina, L., Lindtner, S., Delajoux, G., and Strub, H.B. Fish’n’Steps: Encouraging physical activity with an interactive computer game. Proceedings of Ubicomp 2006, Springer (2006), 261- 278.

[3]    Lee, G., Tsai, C., Griswold, W.G., Raab, F., and Patrick, K. PmEB: a mobile phone application for monitoring caloric balance. CHI ’06 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems, ACM (2006), 1013-1018.

[4]    Morris, M., Kathawala, Q., Leen, T.K., et al. Mobile therapy: Case study evaluations of a cell phone application for emotional self-awareness. Journal of Medical Internet Research 12, 2 (2010), e10.

[5]    Munson, S; Lauterbach, D; Newman, M, Resnick, P. (2010). “Happier Together: Integrating a Wellness Application Into a Social Network Site,” Persuasive 2010

[6]    Pool, Erika, Miller, Andrew, Xu, Yan, Eiriksdottir, Elsa, Catrambone, Richard, and Mynatt, Elizabett. The Place for Ubiquitous Computing In Schools: Lessons Learned From a School-Based Intervention for Youth Physical Activity. Ubicomp 2011