Spoken Animated Self-Management Video Messages Aimed at Improving Physical Activity in People With Type 2 Diabetes: Development and Interview Study

Colette van het Schip, Kei Long Cheung, Stan Vluggen, Ciska Hoving, Nicolaas C. Schaper, Hein de Vries*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Web-based tailored interventions are a promising approach to help people with type 2 diabetes successfully adopt regular physical activity. Spoken animation seems to be effective regardless of the characteristics of the user and may be a relevant strategy to communicate complex health information

Objective: The objectives of our study were to evaluate (1) pretesting communication elements and user appreciation, and (2) the applied behavior change techniques of the previously designed spoken animated video messages in a tailored self-management program for people with type 2 diabetes.

Methods: We conducted semistructured interviews with patients with type 2 diabetes recruited from general practices located in different socioeconomic status urban neighborhoods. Based on the pretesting key communication elements of Salazar's model, we asked participants about the spoken animated video messages' attractiveness, comprehensibility, acceptance, believability, involvement, and relevance and to what extent the video messages motivated them to become more physically active. We also assessed participants' intention to use the spoken animated video messages and to recommend them to others. To evaluate participants' appreciation of the different applied behavior change techniques, we conducted a post hoc analysis of the qualitative data using the MAXQDA program. Transcripts were coded by 2 coders using iterative qualitative content analysis methods to uncover key health communication issues.

Results: Of 23 patients who expressed an interest in participating, 17 met the inclusion criteria and 15 took part in the interviews. The positive appreciation of the comprehensibility, believability, and personalization was supported by participants' statements on behavior change techniques and other communication elements. Reinforcement of and feedback on participants' answers were positively evaluated as was the simplicity and concreteness of the spoken animated video messages. Most participants indicated reasons for not feeling motivated to increase their physical activity level, including being already sufficiently physically active and the presence of other impeding health factors.

Conclusions: Spoken animated video messages should be simple, short, concrete, and without the use of medical terminology. Providing positive reinforcement, feedback on participants' answers, examples that match user characteristics, and the possibility to identify with the animation figures will enhance involvement in the health message. To connect more with patients' needs and thereby increase the perceived relevance of and motivation to use an animated video program, we suggest offering the program soon after diabetes mellitus is diagnosed. We recommend piloting behavior change techniques to identify potential resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15397
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2020


  • diabetes mellitus, type 2
  • internet-based intervention
  • telemedicine
  • computer tailoring
  • self-management
  • exercise
  • animation
  • health literacy


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