Goetagged Social Networking System for Promoting Physical Activity

D4: RecTechMatch.com: A Person-Centered Geotagged Social Networking System to Promote Physical Activity in the Community


The multilevel socio-ecological barriers to physical activity experienced by people with physical disabilities cut across structures and systems, community, institutions and organizations, interpersonal, and individual levels1-5.  Several studies have attempted to understand these barriers and facilitators, but to date, no study or system has attempted to systematically resolve these multilevel barriers and capitalize on the potential facilitators that can increase access to exercise and recreation programs, services and facilities for people with disabilities6.

In our previous cycle of funding, RecTech addressed this gap in a Proof of Concept product called the Activity Inclusion Mapping System (AIMS).  AIMS (See Figure to the right or visit http://aims.rectech.org) enabled people with disabilities to quickly and precisely identify accessible and usable community-based physical activity resources and services.  We aim to further develop an innovative person-centered geotagged Social Networking System based on the social-ecological model of health6,7 to address multilevel barriers and facilitators associated with community-based leisure time physical activity (LTPA) experienced by all people with physical disabilities.


  1. To develop an information and communication technology solution named RecTechMatch.com to systematically resolve barriers and capitalize on facilitators for increasing LTPA participation by people with physical disabilities.
  2. To evaluate the usability and feasibility of RecTechMatch.com towards increasing LTPA minutes, reducing barriers to LTPA, and increasing social support.
  3. To complete mass deployment of the system at a national level through our National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (nchpad.org).


The project will be conducted in 3 stages corresponding to our 3 specific aims.

Stage 1: Development of the RecTechMatch.com will use a five-phase iterative approach. The first phase will involve a baseline needs assessment of five trainers through a focus group that will be conducted at Lakeshore Foundation.  Data will be recorded, transcribed and coded to identify what professionals would like to see the system perform. The second phase will be a needs assessment from the users’ perspective using the same methods as with the trainers.  Ten individuals with physical disabilities, ages 18 and above, will be invited to participate.  A detailed design and development sprint will take place to create the first fully functional prototype (websites and mobile applications) following the focus groups.  The third phase will involve a detailed heuristic evaluation by faculty/staff/students who are trained in human factors and information design in the Usability Track of the UAB Master’s degree program in Health Informatics.  Based on the heuristic evaluation feedback, the prototype will be refined according to the comments received by this group. The fourth phase will feature first-level usability testing of the prototype by 5 potential trainers following a “think aloud” cognitive walk-through protocol. Following a redesign iteration, the fifth and final phase will feature second-level usability testing of the prototype by 10 users with physical disabilities using the same procedures as the trainers.

During testing, observations will be made about usability issues such as how participants chose to perform the tasks, their reactions, etc.  The usability testing phases will also include quantitative usability measures such as the System Usability Scale8 and the (health specific) Mobile Application Rating Scale9.

Stage 2: Pilot Feasibility Study: Thirty users with physical disabilities, ages 18 to 64, will participate in a 12-wk two-arm parallel randomized control trial (15 per group) aimed at reducing barriers to physical activity, increasing social support and increasing LTPA minutes. The control arm will have access to generic information available on the NCHPAD website, which includes the same information but is not delivered through RecTechMatch.com.  All users will be recruited online.  Fitbit sensors will be provided to participants to objectively measure physical activity minutes one week before the intervention and continue for one week post-intervention.  Process feasibility outcome measures will include recruitment, retention and adherence, and Intervention efficacy outcomes will include the Godin-Shephard Leisure-Time Physical Activity Questionnaire, the Barriers to Physical Activity Questionnaire for People with Mobility Impairments (BPAQ-MI), and Chogahara’s Social Influence on Physical Activity questionnaire.

Stage 3: Once successful feasibility testing is completed, we will work with nchpad.org, the #1 Google search result for “physical activity and disability” to seed information and launch nationally.

Final Outcomes

The RecTechMatch.com will be developed to address multilevel barriers and facilitators associated with community-based LTPA using crowdsourcing principles for gathering data.


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