Great Product Design Can Make Healthy Behavior Easier
Heather Browning has continued to be inspirational to the work we do at the Game Design Thinking research group.
Chris met with Heather several years back and learned about her MDAO framework for designing games for effective clinical interventions when she was releasing it as a book chapter. For us, it was a critical extension of the MDA model for understanding games.
The MDAO framework has helped us further develop Outcome-Based Design in our own work. And Chris continues to use Heather’s framework in EDUC 391 (Engineering Education and Online Learning), CS 377G (Designing Serious Games), and in mentoring several cohorts of LDT Masters students.
Heather was interviewed by Holly Hester-Reilly for the H2R Product Science podcast. Heather talks about the frustration of trying to fit true behavior change into the educational and health sectors:
Because I considered working for fitness trackers and things like that, but really, fitness tracker just has to convince you that it works, it never has to prove that it works. And those are just questions that less interesting to me. I want to figure out how to create longterm behavior change rather than convincing someone I’ve created longterm behavior change.
But she also goes on to talk about what really works in her experience at her current company:
Ria Health, where I am currently, we’re an evidence-based program. So everything we do, we look to the literature first to see what has been proven effective, and we build things off of that literature, and that’s very core to our vision, it’s core to our mission, and also, we are getting judged on our actual outcomes. One of the great things that we have is we have several years of outcome data where we can show our retention and our efficacy, and this is the thing that we’re hoping will help us stick out, is that we are going to be an exceptionally effective program because we’re built on evidence-based practices.
In GDT, we continually talk about outcomes, not only what they might be…but also what you want them to do. We encounter many students and practitioners who want to change or improve something, but until we work through the details they are not quite clear on what they want. Heather addresses this as well:
And so the first thing to do is really understand what is the outcome that you’re looking for. Are you looking for increasing knowledge, increasing awareness? Or are you out looking for people to actually change something? And once you have that outcome very clearly defined, you can then design an experience around creating that outcome.
Needless to say, this podcast is a wonderful listen. And the full transcript is available on the site for those who prefer to read it.