MFA Thesis 2013
Behavior Design
Playful interactions
Health monitoring

10/60: Make Gravity Visible

A social platform to encourage physical activity in the abundance of sedantary lifestyle

For the majority of us who are bounded to screens for most of our days, we are sitting longer than ever. From the moment we wake up we are continuously in a seated position - constantly switching chairs throughout the day: eating breakfast at the table, commuting to work or school, behind our desk once at work/school, at meetings, eating lunch, commuting back home, eating dinner, and ultimately finding ourselves on the couch reading or watching tv.

We sit so much that no longer is the recommended 30 minutes of daily exercise enough to offset the negative levels of physical inactivity experienced throughout the day. (Katzmarzyk, 2009)

With our technological advances, we've also managed to undo over 3 million years of evolution within the past 30 years and it's at the sacrifice of our health. Movement is an essential fuel for our brains to function effectively. Additionally, excessive sitting, also known as the sitting disease has been linked to: obesity, depression, increases risk for breast and colon cancer, Diabetes type II, and heart related diseases. Biologically speaking, we are not designed to live the lifestyle that we’ve created.

10/60 is a social movement aimed to break societal norms and challenges us to come up with unique creative ways to integrate more movement throughout our day, starting with our closest networks.

Breaking cultural norms

The 10/60 platform was the result of identifying the underlying issue that makes it difficult for us to implement long term changes: cultural norms. Healthy habits are hard enough to develop and maintain with the right self-discipline but when our cultural norms within our home, work, and societal environments lack the necessary support, it is difficult to overcome the hurdles and thrive.

Why do we frown upon a colleague or find it weird or disruptive when he/she prefers to stand in the back of the room during a meeting or a presentation? Why is normal to have meetings extend beyond an hour without breaks or stretching sessions? Why do we insist on sending endless chains of emails to a coworker who sits across from us? Why do we compete for seating on public transportation when we've sat on our bums all day long? Why is it considered rude if we don't offer a guest a seat when they come over to our home?

All of these scenarios are deeply rooted in our societies regardless of where we are from. In order for us to embrace more movement, we need to embrace it on a larger, cultural and societal level. Imagine if we could disrupt these norms in a fun way.

10 minutes for every hour

Gravity plays a vital role in our everyday lives. It provides the development of our muscle mass which feeds our brain development and our ability to conduct our daily tasks. Because it is not visible, we often take it for granted.

10/60 is a reminder that we should be up and moving 10 minutes for every 60 minutes because it only takes an hour for our metabolic engine to go to sleep.

The 10/60 platform serves as a hub for sharing ideas that inspire movement in the home, work, and societal environments and is facilitated by a website and a smartphone application.

How it works

The 10/60 website serves as a hub for communicating small to large scale ideas to introduce and inspire movement into the three environments of home, work, and society. Ideas are presented by visual images in order of recency, popularity and innovation. People are free to adapt the ideas as they please.

A cohesive simple user interface and clean identity was chosen for the design direction, to place user-uploaded content at the forefront.

Viewing and sharing a challenge

Ideas are presented as videos/images followed by a description of the idea. Creators of the ideas are represented by their avatars, which can also be used to contact them. Files can be: liked, downloaded, forwarded as a challenge, or shared.

New 10/60 Member Signup

A simple signup page with a clear message.

Member's Gravity Profile

Outlines the current movement data tracked from the app and a list of movement ideas that user has liked/shared/participated in.

Physical activity visualization

The app tracks a person’s daily physical activity based on the phone's GPS and accelerometer. How much a person moves is reflected by a personalized avatar’s physical state as well as graphical data by the time of day, allowing quick comparison of the average.

Avatars play an important role in providing motivation around how one views his/her health. By representing movement through the state of an avatar it gives distance from reality and improves motivation levels because of the responsibility that comes with caring for something other than one's self. Additionally, body fat is accumulated gradually over time, it isn't always visible immediately. Through exaggerated visualization, the avatar's state expresses the urgency for more movement to maintain optimal daily health.

Social circle

An overview of how each person is doing for the month relative to their friends or close network provides positive competition, encouragement and reflection of overall community movement and accountability. Ultimately it looks bad if you don't take care of your avatar and it dies because of your neglect of moving.

Sharing challenges

Challenges can be submitted within the inner circle of friends to encourage more movement. Messaging component promotes supportive motivation between friends. and sends a personalized reminder when he/she has been sitting for too long.

Behavior Design Experiment

Our school was the perfect playground for prototyping behavior design experiments. The unique thing about the Umeå Institute of Design (UID) is that every single student and staff member has access to height adjustable tables, a total of over 137 height adjustable tables. However, 73.8% of the UID group surveyed do not use their height adjustable table, that is about 101 desks not being properly utilized - students sat and work for hours on end without taking advantage of their standing desks. Providing the right equipment or workstation alone is not enough of a motivation for people to use them.

When we stand, we are burning more calories than sitting and naturally, we tend to move more as it becomes uncomfortable to be still. This low usage inspired me to design a behavior experiment to observe normative behavior while generating awareness around the sitting disease and encourage people to use their standing desks more. It was the perfect April Fools prank.

I wanted to challenge our school's students and staff to work while standing. With the help of six classmates, 137 chairs were moved to the basement floor and tables raised to an average standing height. A note was left on each desk warning about the dangers of sitting, a challenge request, and a reference number for their chair (that could be picked up at any time). How would people react to starting the morning without their chair and a raised desk?

The outcome was interesting. Some people were very much attached to their chairs and immediately picked it up from the basement; others avoided fetching their chairs by shifting their workstations to nearby rooms with chairs; many enjoyed it and would have never tried or thought about it until they saw others do it.

Overall, the result showed that people often looked to their neighbors for inspiration and influence on how to react. Clusters of people who alternated between sitting and standing emerged after the experiment. It no longer looked weird to stand and work. Some people took the challenge for two weeks. There was still 93 chairs left after the first day, 67 after the second, 38 after the first week and 34 chairs left after two weeks.

The experiment was successful in bridging awareness and action, inspiring the 10/60 social movement, and provided the scale of interruption necessary for people to generate a memorable reflection on moderating how long they sit.

"...he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” - Dalai Lama