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HCDE Dissertation Proposal Presentation: Elena Agapie, "Designing for Behavior Change with Domain Experts and Domain Non-Experts"
HCDE Dissertation Proposal Presentation: Elena Agapie, "Designing for Behavior Change with Domain Experts and Domain Non-Experts"
WhenTuesday, Feb 11, 2020, 4:15 – 6 p.m.
Campus locationSieg Hall (SIG)
Campus room332
Event typesLectures/Seminars, Special Events
Event sponsorsHuman Centered Design & Engineering

HCDE faculty, students, staff, and invited guests are welcome to join the department for a dissertation proposal presentation.
Proposal title: Designing for Behavior Change with Domain Experts and Domain Non-Experts

PhD candidate: Elena Agapie

Proposal abstract:

Pursuing healthy behaviors is a complex, difficult to maintain, and long-term process. People often seek support to adopt desired behaviors. Many health and behavioral interventions that can successfully help people improve behavior have been created and rigorously tested (e.g. mental health treatments, diet and physical activity guidelines). Yet people do not know how to implement such interventions.

A traditional way to access evidence-based interventions is through getting support from experts such as fitness instructors, dietitians, or mental health providers. While experts have strengths in providing factual and evidence driven information, they often lack the experiential insights that domain non-experts have. People seeking support reach out to peers, who can share their lived experience through managing personal goals. Yet peers often lack the evidence-based insights that an expert might share.

My dissertation research contributes understanding, design and system contributions, of how domain experts and domain non-experts can provide behavior support to others, in a way that is aligned with people's everyday needs and evidence-based interventions. In my completed research I show how domain non-experts, friends and online strangers can provide support for behavior planning for exercising more, eating healthier, and saving money. This research contributes understanding in the strengths of friends and online strangers. Friends tailor support, and provide accountability. Online strangers provide diverse ideas, and are easier to disclose information with.  Based on these insights, I designed, built and evaluated a system, CrowdFit. The design of CrowdFit illustrates techniques with which crowd members were able to provide tailored, evidence-based exercise planning support to other people.

To understand how to support people through behavior changes longitudinally, I studied how mental health therapists work with clients to set goals and plan activities to improve depression symptoms. For the rest of my dissertation I will conduct analysis of interviews with therapists and clients, and of therapy session recordings. This study will demonstrate challenges in longitudinal collaboration for behavior change. By studying domain experts, I will contribute understanding into the challenges that domain experts encounter in tailoring behavior support to people's everyday needs, while using an evidence-based intervention.

My dissertation contributes understanding of the differences in challenges and strengths that domain experts and non-experts encounter in providing behavior support. Through system and design implications I show approaches that address the challenges of providing behavior support to others.

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