Studying Running Apps In the Wild

Project: Comparing the usability of two popular running applications whilst outdoor running

MSc Researcher: Elizaveta Temir

Supervisor: Aisling Ann O’Kane

Collaborators: Paul Marshall and Ann Blandford


This paper describes a situated study of personal informatics applications for running that had to be conducted in a flexible and pragmatic way to adjust for the context of use. A qualitative situated study of two apps highlighted the importance of differences in runners’ motivations, uncovering markedly different uses and preferences between people who run either for health or for pleasure, but also the physical nature of the interaction and the data collection. We frame this study in the context of personal informatics and wearables research. By adjusting the method to be sensitive to the physical nature of the interaction and the preferences of the participants, a pragmatic situated approach provided insights into how these technologies are actually used. 

E. Temir, A.A. O’Kane, P. Marshall, and A. Blandford. “Mobile Apps and Running: A Pragmatic Situated Study” submitted to Proceedings of CHI 2016 as a Note.

Thesis: E. Temir. User experience of mobile physical activity applications: contextual, motivational and experiential factors. University College London MSc Human-Computer Interaction with Ergonomics Distinction Thesis, 2013.