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  • 2018liuliuphd

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Design characteristics of fitness games in a Learning Disabilities context

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Publication date2018
Number of pages197
Awarding Institution
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Motivating people with learning disabilities (LD) to carry out physical exercise is a difficult task. Adapted fitness games can address this problem. Yet the design characteristics of the fitness games for this particular user group have not been studied before. Combining game design guidelines and inclusive design principles, this research explores the design characteristics in six categories: purposes, user requirements study, mechanics, technology, motivations and types. A mixed-method approach has been adopted. Firstly, a case study of the development of a fitness game for LD users was conducted through 10 interviews and 3 observations, gathering insights of game designers and end users about the general design characteristics of LD fitness games. Based on the qualitative findings and a literature review, a questionnaire was generated addressing the important design characteristics in six categories. The questionnaire surveyed 235 people from both game and healthcare industries to assess their agreement to the design characteristics. By identifying critical design characteristics in each aspect, this research contextualizes and clarifies general game design literature including game development process models, fitness game design guidelines and motivation theories. The findings of the research conceptually enrich the seven inclusive design principles and clarify each principle in a context of designing for LD users. The study provides an example on how to combine qualitative and quantitative methods for comprehensive data collection in research on fitness game design. With the recognition of a large population of relevant experts, the design characteristics proposed provide game designers with a structured approach to make fitness games for LD users.