Designing icanfit: A mobile-enabled web application to promote physical activity for older cancer survivors

Yan Hong, Deborah Vollmer Dahlke, Marcia Ory, Angela Hochhalter, Jana Reynolds, Ninfa Pena Purcell, Divya Talwar, Nola Eugene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background: Most older cancer survivors (OCS) do not engage in regular physical activity (PA) despite well-known health benefits. With the increased use of mobile technologies among older adults, mobile tools may be an effective method to deliver PA promotion programs for OCS. Objective: To document the process of designing an OCS-friendly mobile-enabled Web application of PA promotion program. Methods: Mixed methods encompassing group discussions, individual interviews, and brief surveys with community leaders, OCS, cancer care providers, and software professionals were used in this formative research. Results: The varied stakeholders welcomed the idea of developing an online tool to promote PA in OCS. Our formative research revealed several major barriers to regular PA including limited access to senior-friendly PA resources, lack of motivation and social support, and insufficient knowledge and skills on building safe and appropriate workout plans. This feedback was incorporated into the development of iCanFit, a mobile-enabled Web application, designed specifically for OCS. The iCanFit online tools allow users to locate PA resources, set and track goals for PA, network with peer OCS in a secure online space, and receive practical and evidence-informed healthy tips. Conclusions: Our mixed-method formative research led to the design of iCanFit protocol to promote PA and well-being of OCS. The involvement of stakeholders is critical in the planning and design of the mobile application in order to enhance program relevance, appeal, and match with the needs of target users.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12
JournalJMIR Research Protocols
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013


  • Formative research
  • Older cancer survivors
  • Physical activity, survivorship, mHealth, website design
  • Protocol development
  • User-computer interface

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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