Happiness Apps: reinforcing happiness-promoting behaviour through software
People now spend more time on mobile phones than watching television. This mode shift creates an opportunity to reach a large market on a powerful and flexible digital platform that is integrated into users’ lives. The most popular mobile applications are showy, derivative experiences designed to sell in-app digital goods to teenagers. These faddish games lose their popularity after a short time, leaving users with no benefit or long-term satisfaction. Therefore there is a place in the market to enable long-term happiness using mobile applications. This research focuses on providing long-term happiness instead of short-term thrills. The concepts developed and tested in this study aim to make experiences which are both enjoyable and satisfying for users. This research adopts Fordyce’s “14 Fundamentals” techniques (Fordyce, 1977) for promoting personal happiness and Caillois’ play theory categories. These theories were the basis for mobile application concepts. Eleven concepts were taken to a pre-coding stage, examined for gamification potential and processed for development. Three applications were coded and two were user-tested, with feedback and UX theory informing ongoing iterative development. Results indicated that the ideation framework was effective at identifying and populating concepts with relevant characteristics used in the development.