Testing usability and acceptability of a web application to promote physical activity (iCanFit) among older adults

Yan Hong, Daniel Goldberg, Deborah Vollmer Dahlke, Marcia G. Ory, Jessica S. Cargill, Rachel Coughlin, Edgar Hernandez, Debra K. Kellstedt, S. Camille Peres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Background: Most older Americans do not exercise regularly and many have chronic conditions. Among an increasing number of fitness mobile and Web apps, few are designed for older adults with chronic conditions despite high ownership rates of mobile tools and Internet access in this population. We designed a mobile-enabled Web app, iCanFit, to promote physical activity in this population. Objective: This study aimed to test the usability and acceptability of iCanFit among older adults in a community setting. Methods: A total of 33 older adults (aged 60 to 82 years) were recruited from communities to test iCanFit. Of these 33, 10 participants completed the usability testing in a computer room of a senior community center. A research assistant timed each Web application task and observed user navigation behavior using usability metrics. The other 23 participants used the website on their own devices at home and provided feedback after 2-3 weeks by completing a user-experience survey assessing ease of use, helpfulness, and satisfaction with iCanFit. Results: Participants completed all 15 tasks on the iCanFit site in an average of 31 (SD 6.9) minutes; some tasks required more time or needed assistance. Participants' comments were addressed to improve the site's senior friendliness and ease of use. In the user-experience survey, participants reported high levels of usefulness and satisfaction. More than 56% (13/23) of participants indicated they would continue using the program and recommend it to their families or friends. Conclusions: Testing usability and acceptability is a very important step in developing age-appropriate and user-friendly Web apps, especially for older adults. Testing usability and acceptability in a community setting can help reveal users' experiences and feedback in a real-life setting. Our study suggested that older adults had a high degree of acceptance of iCanFit and could use it easily. The efficacy trial of iCanFit is currently underway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2
JournalJMIR Human Factors
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


  • Mobile health, older adults
  • Physical activity
  • Usability testing
  • User experience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Health Informatics


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