Barriers to and Facilitators of Using a One Button Tracker and Web-Based Data Analytics Tool for Personal Science: Exploratory Study

Tom H. van de Belt, Aimee de Croon, Faye Freriks, Thomas Blomseth Christiansen, Jakob Eg Larsen, Martijn de Groot

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Individuals' self-tracking of subjectively experienced phenomena related to health can be challenging, as current options for instrumentation often involve too much effort in the moment or rely on retrospective self-reporting, which is likely to impair accuracy and compliance. This study aims to assess the usability and perceived usefulness of low-effort, in-the-moment self-tracking using simple instrumentation and to establish the amount of support needed when using this approach. In this exploratory study, the One Button Tracker-a press-button device that records time stamps and durations of button presses-was used for self-tracking. A total of 13 employees of an academic medical center chose a personal research question and used the One Button Tracker to actively track specific subjectively experienced phenomena for 2 to 4 weeks. To assess usability and usefulness, we combined qualitative data from semistructured interviews with quantitative results from the System Usability Scale. In total, 29 barriers and 15 facilitators for using the One Button Tracker were found. Ease of use was the most frequently mentioned facilitator. The One Button Tracker's usability received a median System Usability Scale score of 75.0 (IQR 42.50), which is considered as good usability. Participants experienced effects such as an increased awareness of the tracked phenomenon, a confirmation of personal knowledge, a gain of insight, and behavior change. Support and guidance during all stages of the self-tracking process were judged as valuable. The low-effort, in-the-moment self-tracking of subjectively experienced phenomena has been shown to support personal knowledge gain and health behavior change for people with an interest in health promotion. After addressing barriers and formally validating the collected data, self-tracking devices may well be helpful for additional user types or health questions.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere32704
JournalJMIR Formative Research
Issue number3
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Self-tracking
  • Personal science
  • One-button-tracker
  • Barriers
  • Facilitators
  • Quantified self
  • Health promotion
  • Button tracker
  • Usability testing
  • One Button Tracker
  • Health technology
  • System usability


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