TableChat: Mobile food journaling to facilitate family support for healthy eating (Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, Nov 2018)
TableChat: Mobile food journaling to facilitate family support for healthy eating
Support from family members is an important determinant of health. In this work, we probe opportunities for facilitating family support with TableChat, a chat-based mobile application for food journaling. Leveraging food as a test case of family support, TableChat virtually extends the experience of bonding over the dinner table. We surveyed 158 people about their existing family support practices and deployed TableChat with 10 families in the field. We found that tangible support was the most common form of support shared in TableChat and also the most appreciated by participants. However, we found that participants valued not only supportive actions taken by their family members, but also those deliberately not taken (e.g., not buying junk food). Finally, families reported that journaling meals eaten apart aided the exchange of support, satisfied curiosity, and provided a “check-in” that everything was alright, whereas journaling meals eaten together felt redundant. We conclude with a framework that illustrates how informatics tools can be designed to complement rather than compete with existing family interactions.
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