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Table 4 Acceptability and perceived impact of the START app in supporting behavior change

From: Development and feasibility of a mobile phone application designed to support physically inactive employees to increase walking

  Theme Sub-theme Exemplar meaning unit
Acceptability Functionality Ease of use Walker 1: “I found it pretty easy to use. I never had any problems with it. It was pretty intuitive and—yeah, it was pretty basic and effective, easy to read and understand.”
Walker 5: “I actually found it very easy to work, to use, and—yeah, I thought it was just really basic and really just—I mean, it did what it had to do and easy to use.”
Peer leader 3: “Yep. I used it for every walk and I found it really good, a really good way of recording the walks and it worked really well, so I would just insert the basic details, who’s going on the walk, what type of walk, and then go press start and stop. We pretty much used it all the time.”
   Manually entering daily step count and influence of Fitbit app Walker 3: “I would only just say you could sync it in [with the FitBit]. That would be the only thing ‘cause we just live in a world where—we’re just so fast. Everything’s done for us. A bit lazy, I know.”
Walker 11: “I love the little [START] app that you can enter your steps.”
Walker 10: “I found the app to be really just an entry portal for data for the purpose of visibility for the Curtin START team. Predominantly I used the Fitbit app as the main source, and then just entered the step data into the START app.”
Walker 14: “We needed to engage with the Fitbit app to interact with the START App, which made the START app redundant to the Fitbit app. If the Fitbit app automatically sent steps into the app, it would have been easier to engage with the app.”
   Limited to Apple devices Walker 9: “… if it was designed for both Android and Apple, you’d be extremely successful at it.”
Walker 14: “I also had to use an iPad as I did not have an iPhone making the app more inconvenient as I needed to be connected to wifi, which I did not have access to at work.”
  Aesthetics   Walker 6: “Yeah. Yeah, it was fine.”
Walker 9: “It’s a bit plain, to be honest, aesthetically.”
Peer leader 5: “I think it's a nice looking app.”
  Other barriers Dislikes technology/ apps Walker 4: “I’m not an app person.”
Walker 8: “I get frustrated quite quickly with that type of technology so I didn’t really bother that much with it…… I spend my whole day on a computer, so I like to minimize my electronic engagement outside that.”
Perceived impact Fostering goal achievement Competence Walker 3: “But I did used to use it [START app] and especially—I found that very important at the beginning because you’ve got to get motivated and that—it did drive me at the beginning ‘cause it helped me get started. So I will give it that credit. It helped me get started.”
Walker 10: “occasionally, [you] would get a message about how did you go against goals and review performance and stuff like that. But—which—yeah, was useful just to see—be it on a weekly basis, how the previous week was. I guess I was relatively—oh, I could picture sort of where I was at during the week or at the end of a week as to what I set myself as a goal. So, I think I’ve had a reasonable understanding of how I was going probably necessarily without looking at the summary from the app, but it was still useful to sometimes read through that.”
Walker 11: “I think they [motivational messages] made me feel more confident in that I can achieve my goals—encouraging that you can achieve it. Yeah.”
Walker 11: “Yeah, they’re [motivational messages] good. They’re good reminders. And it’s always nice to have motivation ‘cause sometimes you sort of—your own mind can say, “Oh, no, not today. I can’t be bothered,” but then to have that, “Oh, yeah, I can do this.” Yeah. Yep. No, they were good.”
   Self-monitoring Walker 3: “And I guess whilst we were doing the program, entering the data was easy to do because you wanted to see how your other team members were progressing, as in how far we had got to our challenge. So I was always wanting to enter my daily steps.”
Walker 10: “I saw the value in having to enter the steps into the START app as sort of acknowledging progress for the day. And it I guess forces you to then see what you—how you’ve ended up against your goal, whereas the temptation might be if you’re not physically doing that each day or every couple of days, then it may be easier to lose sight of how you’re going against the goals. So, I think that worked reasonably well.”
Walker 11: “…it was good entering your steps and it was encouraging to—entering your steps using an app ‘cause you think, “Oh, right, 2,000 more steps.” So, it was good.”
Peer leader 4: “…it was good to be able to look back and see your progress over the weeks, you were walking in one week as opposed to another week, and what might have been an impact to that week if you didn't do so well.”
  Motivation for walking and other physical activities   Walker 1: “I never really thought much about going for a walk by myself [without the dogs]. But then I started doing it [at work] after the group walks sort of stage stopped. And it was really kind of relaxing. I found it good as well as—obviously, its physical exercise, but it was much more relaxing than I thought it’d be, and sort of helped reset my day in the middle of the day, sort of at lunchtime.”
Walker 5: “… now I actually found myself—instead of meeting up with coffee with a friend, actually going for a walk instead.”
  1. Table includes themes, sub-themes, and meaning units from post-trial interviews with walkers and peer leaders, and written comments provided within the uMARS