User research and co-creation physical activity – Activmob, Design Council

Behaviour change through understanding everyday life

There has been a decline in physical activity amongst adults and this can have a significant impact on the health of people – increased blood pressure and heart conditions. Working with a local community in Kent, the challenge was to identify ways to increase physical activity among older adults.

Two programmes of ethnographic research were carried out – a shallow dive and deep dive with local residents. Our approach to the research allowed the design team to build up relationships with participants and through observing behaviour we started to identify where informal ‘physical activity’ could fit into the ebb and flow of everyday life. The research also helped the design team to understand the behaviour and motivations of people. Following the research working with local residents we started to co-create and prototype the Activmobs service with residents.

The research identified a range of opportunities, including the Activmob service, where social networks of friends or people who shared common interests developed small groups around specific physical activities. Groups were offered support to assist with the development of their ‘Activmob’.

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