Flow is Not Enough: Understanding the Needs of Advanced Amateur Runners to Design Motivation Technology
Paper in proceedings, 2015
Motivation studies on running are often focused on how to convince non-runners to run, mainly through designing for extrinsic motivations such as health concerns or external reward systems. In contrast, we conducted a structured inquiry into understanding how to design technology for those whom are already committed to running and participate in organized races. Through interviews, focus groups, ethnographic observation, questionnaires, and design-based research over the course of two years, we investigated the needs of the advanced amateur runner community. An analysis of the gathered data led to five design themes – Festival, Competition, Practicalities, Togetherness, and Support – to inform future runner motivation technology. While flow theory appears to be a convenient tool to understand support during a race, we observed a number of other factors that need to be considered. Through combining the themes with previous research, we conclude by presenting nine guidelines for designing technology for this domain.