Codesigning MindMax: an Australian football-themed app that incorporates gamification, mini-games, and social connection to improve mental health and wellbeing (Preprint)

Vanessa Wan Sze Cheng, Tracey A Davenport, Daniel Johnson, Kellie Vella, Jo Mitchell, Ian B Hickie
2018 JMIR Mental Health  
Men have different mental health needs as compared with women, and women make up the primary audience of most digital mental health interventions. An Australian football-themed (specifically Australian Football League, AFL) app named MindMax incorporating psychoeducation, gamification, mini-games, and social connection was developed in an effort to address this issue. The aim of this study was to identify the best way to structure and present MindMax, an app that aims to deliver
more » ... l modules, and create a Web-based community centering on well-being, AFL, and video games for men aged 16 to 35 years who are interested in AFL or video games. We conducted 6 participatory design (PD) workshops with people aged 16 to 35 years in 3 cities in Australia, to identify the best way to present MindMax, and contracted a digital development agency to develop MindMax. We then iteratively tested MindMax prototypes with 15 user experience testing interviews across 3 separate time points: 2 before app launch and 1 after app launch. A total of 40 individuals (25 male and 15 female) participated in the PD workshops, and a total of 15 individuals (10 male and 5 female) participated in user experience interviews. Broadly, participants expressed a preference for activities requiring active engagement that practiced useful skills. They were also sensitive to how content was presented and wanted the ability to customize their own app experience. Although participants agreed that social motivations were important for engagement with an app, they recommended not to mimic existing social networks. In basing itself strongly within the AFL subculture and by incorporating gamification as well as mini-games, MindMax aimed to tackle mental health help-seeking barriers for people who enjoy AFL or video games, with a particular emphasis on men, and to provide psychoeducation on strategies to increase mental health and well-being. If MindMax is successful, this would indicate that generalizing this approach to other traditional sporting codes and even competitive video gaming leagues (esports) would be fruitful.
doi:10.2196/11068 pmid:30455165 pmcid:PMC6277826 fatcat:eqyq5pvwk5ck3gw3bfp5xoh3ge