re-contextualized design space emerges.
More ecologically and culturally
situated design solutions are now
enabled and fostered.
Imagine the design possibilities.
Figures 1 to 3, realized in
collaboration with Marcel L. Walker,
an artist from Pittsburgh, offer such
a speculative design exploration.
Figure 1 reflects an augmented
reality concept centered on notions
of community in inspiring behavioral
change through the couching of
physical activity levels within a
global collective context. Figure 2
offers an activity-centric concept
that highlights the application of
material and styling in both depicting
and enhancing physical activity
performance. Figure 3 depicts a
design instantiation that features
a chest-positioned form factor that
leverages visual elements (e.g., glow)
in portraying physical activity levels.
While these designs are not meant
to be implemented as imagined,
these speculative design artifacts
are intended to provoke and trigger
a more inclusive design exploration
African-American women have
lower energy requirements than
Caucasian women. This means
women must burn more calories to
achieve a weight loss similar to that
experienced by Caucasian women
[ 9]. This evidence, coupled with the
discussed error rates, suggests that
the use of wearable technologies by
black/African-American women in
gauging and tracking caloric burn
may actually be leading to behaviors
counter to their weight-loss goals
and/or objectives. Truly, technology,
in this case, is not working for all.
Moreover, the type and nature of
insights offered by these technologies
to motivate the user in increasing
physical activity often differs.
Current technologies focus on
more quantitative measures (e.g.,
calories burned or number of steps
taken). However, more qualitative
representations of collected and
analyzed quantitative measures
might be more appropriate in
engendering behavioral change
around physical activity, especially
for black/African-American women.
This is illustrated in insights
offered by the work and success of
Girl Trek, an organization whose
aim is to “inspire black women to
change their lives and communities
by walking.” In a recent New York
Times piece, Girl Trek is described as
a success in spurring behavior change
through more qualitative approaches:
They don’t talk about hypertension
or body mass index, but about feeling
less anxious and having more energy.
They don’t talk about looking good,
but about looking alive: having the
“Girl Trek glow.” They inspire women
with images of courage and dignity.
“They have lots of process motivators
around black history—walking as
Harriet Tubman did or retracing the
steps at Selma” [ 10].
By placing the voice of the
Girl Trek women central in solution-space exploration—in the vein of
engaging an Afrofuturism design
lens—a re-imagined narrative
depicting the relationship of user
to insights, in motivating physical
activity, unfolds, and a
Figure 1. Global pulse concept.