U1 is a member of the UX Fellows, a global network of experience research companies. In May this year, the network pooled resources to conduct a global study into health and wellbeing. The subject of our study is of particular relevance during a global pandemic when the health and wellbeing of individuals and our communities are never far from our collective thoughts.
Health, fitness and wellbeing are trending topics all around the world. In these times of self-optimisation, achieving a better health status has never been of more interest. The health, wellbeing and fitness markets are growing and with the current global COVID-19 situation during which people must self-isolate and often have more free time to spend than usual, self-guided health optimisation is soaring.
Attitudes and behaviors regarding the maintenance and optimisation of mental and physical health are very individual and will differ from person to person. The impetus for this research is the desire to explore whether the motivations for maintaining and optimising one’s mental and physical health and personal wellbeing differ between countries and cultures. We are equally interested to understand what impact, if any, COVID-19 and the associated restrictions has had on people’s attitudes towards this topic. We wanted to investigate whether as a result of the changes in the way we live during this time, people’s health behavior has changed and how it might differ between countries and cultures.
We conducted 128 remote interviews with participants across 15 different countries:
- Germany (DE)
- France (FR)
- Italy (IT)
- Spain (ES)
- Portugal (PT)
- United Kingdom (UK)
- Russia (RU)
- Poland (PL)
- Finland (FI)
- Turkey (TR)
- Mexico (MX)
- Colombia (CO)
- USA (US)
- Australia (AU)
- Singapore (SG)
As we were interested in discussing health, we recruited participants with already established health goals that they were working towards (e.g. fitness, mental health, stress reduction, better sleep, longevity or losing weight). The participants were aged 18 to 58 years and either use, or have considered the use of, apps or trackers that assist with achieving health goals.
To see the results in detail you’ll need to download our report, but the following is a taster of what we learned by doing this study:
- A similar holistic definition of health was identified amongst participants, regardless of which country they live in
“Health is a mix of everything. It’s not just a checkup, it deals with your way of life, the balance you find between professional and private life, your physical and your mental health” Bianca (36), IT
- Coronavirus related restrictions are having positive and negative effects on health and wellbeing
“I am able to eat healthier and I am able to control when I eat a lot more. Like during school I don’t get a chance to eat lunch or breakfast because I am running around in the morning.” Lizzy (32), US
“I am spending a lot less time on things (i.e. exercise) than I did pre-COVID. I am a social person and enjoy that environment. Without that, the motivation is reduced at home. I wanted to buy some equipment when the lockdown occurred, but the stores ran out.” Suzannah (20), AU
- Technology can play a significant role in optimising health
“I have some apps for guiding my meditations and following up yoga routines for beginners, I prefer those specialised apps instead of YouTube videos” Lesly (24), MX
“The Fitbit wasn’t very expensive for what I wanted, it helps setting goals and motivating, it’s a good device for monitoring and it connects with my smartphone.” Camila (25), PR
- There appear to be some cultural differences regarding perceptions about COVID-19 contact tracing apps
“I hope that the app will be safe to use and no problems regarding data privacy will occur. I feel that the app should be taken into use if needed. ” Sanna (39), FI“If my friends started using this app – I’d have seriously reconsidered them being my friends” Olga (34), RU
If the above sounds interesting and you’d like to read more about how we conducted this study and what we found, download our report here.