The aim of the myStep project is to realize the potential of digital health interventions in order to increase physical activity. The vision of myStep is to promote a more active lifestyle and thus contribute to prevent chronic diseases, enhance health and well-being and lower financial burdens of the health care system in a ubiquitous and effective way.

Research has impressively demonstrated the positive health related effects of physical activity and the risk factors associated with physical inactivity and sedentary behaviour. Physical activity can prevent the major non-communicable diseases coronary heart disease, diabetes and cancer as well as obesity and mental disorders. Although these benefits of physical activity are well known, motivational barriers, potential privacy concerns and time constraints prevent the majority of people to exhibit satisfactory levels of physical activity.

Therefore, myStep combines digital technology (e.g. commercial pedometers or smartphone applications) with the motivational benefits of self-tracking to build powerful and adaptive physical activity interventions. MyStep interventions rely on cutting-edge research at the crossroads of the scientific disciplines medicine, psychology, and information systems. The goal of myStep is to provide people with effective tools that help them to overcome day-to-day hurdles and to increase their level of physical activity.

Two field studies will be conducted in the myStep project in collaboration with the CSS insurance. In a first study, the role of financial incentives and adaptive feedback notifications for the acceptance and efficacy of digital physical activity interventions is explored. Relying on the results of the first study as well as on an extensive literature review, the second study seeks to identify crucial factors that influence effectiveness of and engagement with digital physical activity interventions. These studies will reveal important insights regarding physical activity interventions and pave the way for a toolbox of digital intervention techniques that benefit researchers and practitioners alike.

Video Clips


Künzler, F., Kramer, J., Kowatsch, T. (in press) Efficacy of Mobile Context-aware Notification Management Systems: A Systematic Literature Review and Meta-Analysis, Fifth International Workshop on Pervasive and Context-Aware Middleware (PerCAM’17), co-located with the 13th IEEE International Conference on Wireless and Mobile Computing, Networking and Communications (WiMob 2017), Rome, Italy.
Kramer, J., Kowatsch, T. (2017) Using Feedback to Promote Physical Activity: The Role of the Feedback Sign, Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) 19(6):e192. Link
Kowatsch, T., Volland, D., Shih, I., Rüegger, D., Künzler, F., Barata, F., Filler, A., Büchter, D., Brogle, B., Heldt, K., Gindrat, P., Farpour-Lambert, N., l’Allemand, D. (2017) Design and Evaluation of a Mobile Chat App for the Open Source Behavioral Health Intervention Platform MobileCoach, In: Maedche A., vom Brocke J., Hevner A. (eds) Designing the Digital Transformation. DESRIST 2017. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 10243. Springer: Berlin; Germany, 485-489. (Paper-PDF | Poster-PDF | Slide-PDF | Screencast)
Kowatsch, T., Kramer, J., Kehr, F., Wahle, F., Fleisch, E. (2016) Effects of Charitable Versus Monetary Incentives on the Acceptance of and Adherence to a Pedometer-Based Health Intervention: Study Protocol and Baseline Characteristics of a Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial, JMIR Research Protocols, 5(3):e181. Link