Co-designing a mobile application with football fans to promote physical activity


This research project focuses on men's health. We are exploring ways that football fan related smartphone apps can encourage middle-aged men to engage in more physical activity (e.g. walking, cycling and playing football). We are exploring the idea that technology that ties in with fandom will be more acceptable and persuasive when it comes to encouraging and supporting healthy lifestyles.


Men are often underrepresented in behavioural lifestyle interventions and are considered a hard-to-reach and underserved group [1]. One way to successfully engage men is via football clubs that they identify with [2]. Current work on engaging men in this way has used mobile technology for self-monitoring and social support within the context of a complex intervention [3], but we believe that the potential for designing mobile applications that support football fans to adopt healthier behaviours and practices requires significant further development. We also believe that there is much broader potential for creatively incorporating a variety of social and behavioural change techniques into mobile applications.

The focus of this project will be on creating mobile technology to encourage middle-aged men to engage in light and moderate physical activity, and to encourage active travel to sporting events. We will take a co-design approach to the development of a mobile application that creatively combines self-monitoring, social support and other behavioural change techniques. We envisage an application that enables football fans to (i) make associations between their team identity, their levels of physical activity, and active travel to football matches; (ii) become role models for other fans; (iii) engage with other fans in action planning and problem solving; and, (iv) review discrepancies between goals and actual behaviour.

The novelty of this research will be in designing a mobile-based intervention for football fans, creatively incorporating behavioural change techniques into a community specific design, and in designing technology for masculinity in positive lifestyle change.


This project is a collaboration between Northumbria Univesrity, the University of Glasgow. The investigators are:

We are proud to work with Health Stadia CIC on this project.


This work is funded by the Get A Move On Network+