Mobile Exergaming Heuristics

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Virginia Tech

An alarming number of adolescents experience obesity and related health issues, in part because of a lack of exercise. Increased mobile technology availability can have negative effects on amount of exercise, but they can have positive effects as well. Leveraging mobile technology to encourage and motivate exercise has potential to decrease unhealthy lifestyles, especially among young people. Mobile exergaming is an emerging field that has the potential to motivate users to exercise while also having fun. However, much of the early development work on mobile exergames has been ad-hoc, with little guidance available for designers. This work seeks to identify heuristics catered for mobile exergaming. This thesis presents four mobile exergaming heuristics were identified based on recent literature and on the author's mobile exergame design and development efforts: 1) Motivational game concepts that promote physical activity; 2) Game cues that engage active users; 3) Physically and temporally appropriate game structure to encourage continual, recurring play; 4) Game play movements that are safe for the user and for the device. This thesis describes the development of the mobile exergame heuristics, along with the creation and distribution of an ExergameApp Suite comprised of three mobile exergames: Fish Out of Water, Color Hunt and Space Rayders.

Mobile exergaming, mobile design, heuristics