Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Te Kēmu Hauora - Designing a mobile game to facilitate education and improve healthcare engagement

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posted on 2021-12-07, 09:36 authored by Price, Sophie

This thesis addresses the research question “How could a mobile game be designed to facilitate education and improve healthcare engagement around skin sores in children?”. Health behaviour issues such as lack of education and low adherence to treatment regimes impact the success rates of treatments in children for common ailments such as skin sores. Skin sores are a particular health issue in New Zealand where the rates of admission to hospital for serious skin infections in 2006 were double that of USA and Australia (Craig et al., 2007, p. 278-282). Hospitalisation can be prevented by ensuring treatment regimes for skin sores are correctly completed after early diagnosis (Gray et al., 2013, p. 2). Literature states that game design is a viable solution to healthcare issues, as it can be used alongside persuasive strategies to engage and educate children around their treatments. However, there is a gap in the literature and existing precedents for health games addressing treatment of common ailments. This thesis addresses the research question through developing design criteria for a health game by identifying suitable theories to encourage positive health behaviors and educate children. These include: simulation, personalisation, reward and flow theory, as well as the information, motivation, strategy model to increase engagement with treatment. These criteria are used alongside user personas and journey maps methods to create the design output of a mobile health game to educate and engage New Zealand children around the treatment of skin sores. The game was tested for education, engagement and usability during the design process. Methods for user testing included observation, an adaption of the System Usability Scale and semi-structured interview questions. Thematic analysis of the testing results showed that most participants were engaged with the game and gained education around treatment steps. Insights on user testing with children for education, engagement, and usability are reported. The final output was refined and accessed against the design criteria. Findings from this thesis discuss how game design techniques including simulation, flow theory and reward can be used to educate and engage children with treatments of common ailments.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Design Innovation

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Design Innovation

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Design


Rodriguez Ramirez, Edgar; Chan, Kah