Push Notifications in Diet Apps: Influencing Engagement Times and Tasks

Jill Freyne, Jie Yin, Emily Brindal, Gilly A. Hendrie, Shlomo Berkovsky, Manny Noakes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Smartphones have reached levels of popularity and penetration where they are now suitable for use in population health interventions. A key feature of smartphones is push notification or in app messaging service, which can be used to alert users to messages or instructions pertaining to an installed app. Little evidence exists as to the persuasive power of these messages. Method: We conducted a 24-week live user evaluation of push notifications used in a behavior-based mobile app for a meal replacement program to understand the role of push notifications in persuading users to engage with self-monitoring tasks. Results: User perception of the prompts were verified through questionnaires, which in conjunction with the interaction logs show that users were tolerant of multiple daily prompts. The decline in compliance to the tasks set, however, shows that while the participants did not object to receiving prompts, they were less likely to respond to them as the study progressed. Conclusions: Push notifications and user tasks are appropriate mechanisms to engage users with mobile technology in the short term.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)833-845
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Human-Computer Interaction
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 3 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications

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