A Living Lab experiment: engaging the general public in the design of wearable health trackers

With Frédéric Valentin, fellow Ph.D. Student, we designed a study to investigate people' relations to wearable health trackers. It was the first step before proposing co-design workshops on the same subject.

This study was conducted at La Cité des Sciences in 2016, in collaboration with the Living Lab of the Carrefour Numérique. For people over 11 years old, it consisted of a self-administered, long form, questionnaire (that could be listened to and answered orally for people living with sensory impairments), followed by reflective interviews after the questionnaire. For children, we proposed a drawing activity.


A note about the stand

In order to be able to administer questionnaires anywhere in the science center (and as such to be accessible to most of the public), we designed a mobile stand. We focused on the stand as a manifestation of the ambition of the study to be as inclusive as possible. We had noticed the reluctance of certain groups of visitors (in particular women and older people, but also teenagers hanging in the halls) to engage in museum-organized activities around new technologies. Upon further investigation, they pointed out they did not feel competent enough to participate. Hence the choice of a very pictural and narrative presentation of the study, and of a visibly hand-made stand. Further interviews suggested this approach was indeed fruitful and enabled to engage marginalized publics.


The questionnaire

Over the course of two weeks, we were able to gather answer from over a hundred people, between 12 and 82. The questionnaire aimed to elicit discussions on health trackers (not widely used) through more general questions about the use of self-logging practices (e.g., diary) and mobile technologies.

Main results

We are still working on the analysis of this data. Preliminary results suggest that certain groups exclude using health trackers, no matter their discreetness, because they associate it with undesirable social status (e.g., being hold). On the other hand, underprivileged youths tend to associate it with outwards social mobility--but report internalizing failures to meet the goals set by their trackers.

We presented a poster at the Connected Conference 2016, in Paris, about our preliminary results. The rest of the results obtained will be published in different venues are currently being written.