Traces of Movement : Exploring physical activity in societal settings

Sammanfattning: How are we moving, or how much physical activities are present in societal settingssuch as eldercare units, schools, universities and offices? This general question was explored using different design-oriented approaches in four cases, with children,elderly, students and office workers. The results unveil a complexity of the problemarea that initially seemed quite straightforward. In many of the explored settings and situations, and for many of the participants, the activities they are engaged with do not include or encourage their abilities for physical movements to any great extent and this is not in line with the extent of movement that they actually desire. Physical activity can be defined as an activity performed through movement that expends energy. Research results from the public health domains and related areas show a major concern for the negative effects related to low levels of physical activity and prolonged sedentary postures found in many of the above-mentioned settings. In general, physical activities of today seem mainly related to sports, and specific activities designed for improving health and well-being. The participants in the four explorative case studies in this thesis demonstrated how they would like their physical activities to be integrated in the everyday activities of the different settings explored and not mainly as a separate activity specifically dedicated for health and well-being. How can knowledge of physical activity inform the design and development of interactive products and systems in these settings? New insights were gained through design-oriented explorations together with the participants inthe different field settings and through analysis of these observations. The results are not only the insights gained through the analysed empirical observations but also include a physical activity-oriented design method called Physical Movement Sketching as well as experiences from using Movement Probes. The experiences from using these two design methods led me to formulate a proposal for a new approach called Movement Acumen Design. This approach applies a socioecological perspective on physical activities. It provides methods and concepts to support the integration of physical activities into everyday activities performed with the support of interactive technology and it argues that physical activity should reclaim a more central role in these situations. Let us design for it to happen!