Mobile exergaming in adolescents’ everyday life—contextual design of where, when, with whom, and how: the SmartLife case

Ayla Schwarz, Ann DeSmet, Greet Cardon, Sebastien Chastin, Ruben Costa, António Grilo, Josue Ferri, Jorge Domenech, Jeroen Stragier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
120 Downloads (Pure)


Exergames, more specifically console-based exergames, are generally enjoyed by adolescents and known to increase physical activity. Nevertheless, they have a reduced usage over time and demonstrate little effectiveness over the long term. In order to increase playing time, mobile exergames may increase potential playing time, but need to be engaging and integrated in everyday life. The goal of the present study was to examine the context of gameplay for mobile exergaming in adolescents’ everyday life to inform game design and the integration of gameplay into everyday life. Eight focus groups were conducted with 49 Flemish adolescents (11 to 17 years of age). The focus groups were audiotaped, transcribed, and analyzed by means of thematic analysis via Nvivo 11 software (QSR International Pty Ltd., Victoria, Australia). The adolescents indicated leisure time and travel time to and from school as suitable timeframes for playing a mobile exergame. Outdoor gameplay should be restricted to the personal living environment of adolescents. Besides outdoor locations, the game should also be adaptable to at-home activities. Activities could vary from running outside to fitness exercises inside. Furthermore, the social context of the game was important, e.g., playing in teams or meeting at (virtual) meeting points. Physical activity tracking via smart clothing was identified as a motivator for gameplay. By means of this study, game developers may be better equipped to develop mobile exergames that embed gameplay in adolescents’ everyday life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)835
Number of pages1
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number5
Early online date24 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health
  • Belgium
  • Child
  • Exercise/physiology
  • Female
  • Games, Recreational/psychology
  • Healthy Lifestyle
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation
  • Sedentary Behavior
  • Video Games/psychology
  • Everyday life
  • Health intervention
  • Contextual design
  • Mobile exergame
  • Adolescents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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