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Using Internet of Things to Reduce Office Workers’ Sedentary Behavior: Intervention Development Applying the Behavior Change Wheel and Human-Centered Design Approach

Huang, Yitong; Benford, Steve; Price, Dominic; Patel, Roma; Li, Benqian ; Ivanov, Alex; Blake, Holly


Yitong Huang

Dunford Chair in Computer Science

Roma Patel

Benqian Li

Alex Ivanov

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Professor of Behavioural Medicine


Background: Sedentary behavior (SB) is associated with various adverse health outcomes. The prevalence of prolonged sitting at work among office workers makes a case for SB interventions to target this setting and population. Everyday mundane objects with embedded microelectronics and ubiquitous computing represent a novel mode of delivering health behavior change interventions enabled by Internet of Things (IoT). However, little is known about how to develop interventions involving IoT technologies. Objective: This paper reports the design and development of an IoT-enabled SB intervention targeting office workers. Methods: The process was guided by the Behavior Change Wheel (BCW), a systematic framework for theory-informed and evidence-based development of behavior change interventions, complemented by the human-centered design (HCD) approach. Intervention design was shaped by findings from a diary-probed interview study (n=20), a stakeholder design workshop (n=8), and a series of theoretical mapping and collaborative, technical design activities. Results: The resulting intervention named WorkMyWay targets a reduction in office workers’ prolonged stationary behaviors at work and an increase in regular breaks by modifying behavioral determinants in 11 theoretical domains with 17 behavior change techniques. The delivery technology consists of a wearable activity tracker, an LED reminder device attached to a vessel (ie. water bottle or cup), and a companion Android App connected to both devices over Bluetooth connection. The delivery plan consists of a 2-week baseline assessment, a 30-min face-to-face action planning session, and 6-week self-directed use of the delivery technology. Conclusions: This is the first study to demonstrate that it is possible to develop a complex IoT-enabled intervention by applying a combination of the Behavior Change Wheel (BCW) and human-centered design (HCD) approaches. The next step is to assess the feasibility of WorkMyWay prior to testing intervention efficacy in a full-scale trial. The intervention mapping table that links individual intervention components with hypothesized mechanisms of action can serve as the basis for testing and clarifying theory-based mechanisms of action in future studies on WorkMyWay.


Huang, Y., Benford, S., Price, D., Patel, R., Li, B., Ivanov, A., & Blake, H. (2020). Using Internet of Things to Reduce Office Workers’ Sedentary Behavior: Intervention Development Applying the Behavior Change Wheel and Human-Centered Design Approach. JMIR mHealth and uHealth, 8(7),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 3, 2020
Online Publication Date Jul 29, 2020
Publication Date Jul 1, 2020
Deposit Date Jun 16, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jul 1, 2020
Journal JMIR mHealth and uHealth
Publisher JMIR Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 7
Article Number e17914
Keywords Internet of Things; sedentary behavior; workplace; behavior change intervention; just-in-time adaptive intervention
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