NutritionRush – Serious Game

NutritionRush is a serious game, developed by master students of Medical Informatics at the Vienna University of Technology with the aim to support healthy eating habits through motivational gaming technology. This first version of the game was quite simple and focused on counting calories collected by the game figure. My task was to evaluate and suggest improvements through mockups within a 15 credit points project work. And my motivation was to increase the user acceptance.

So I did some research on serious games in general and in nutritional aspects on game psychology and usability; and on focus groups and their characteristics. Further, I conducted user tests with 11 users interested in healthy nutrition and got quantitative and qualitative results about their experiences with the game. Additionally, I interviewed three nutrition experts to evaluate the quality of the knowledge given about ‘healthy nutrition’.

Following low-fi mockups show the first suggestions of improvements based on user and expert feedback:

Initial screen is redesigned; a new feature 'Shop' is added.

Added more excitement and motivation to the whole story..

Users can buy items with the collected points through the game, now..

Profiles

In the first version of the game, users could only add basic profile information (name, weight, height, occupation, ..) about themselves, which didn’t have any connection to the game itself. Now there are also different pregiven profile cards, and each profile has it’s own characteristics and story, which changes the course of the game.

Gestures, Visuals and Water

In the first version, users needed to navigate through arrows – but now, we can use the benefits of the mobile gesture technology.
 
Also, information about gained calories, fats, proteins are now visual icons, coloured; so better to read for the user. Now, water is an important element in the game, as well!

Information Access

It was also possible to look up for information about nutritional aspects, like carbohydrates or daily energy need and about what each food contains but this was seperated from the game, what made it for users difficult to memorize the information.
 
Now they can tap on a food and access all the basic quantitative but also qualitative information about it. So they can decide if they should take it or not..

Action!

Another important missing component was the physical activity. 
Now it’s included in the game and it even alerts the user when activity is needed!

Level Completed!

Level is finished, when all the aspects are at least in the orange level; and the user gets summarized feedback.