Mobile health (mHealth) apps can support users’ behavioral changes towards healthier habits (e.g., increasing activity) through goal setting, self-monitoring, and notifications. In particular, mHealth app notifications can aid in behavioral change through increasing user app engagement and adherence to health objectives. Previous studies have established empirically-derived notification design recommendations; however, prior work has shown that few mHealth apps are grounded in advised health behavior theories. Therefore, we wanted to examine if there was also a gap between recommendations and practice for mHealth notifications. We surveyed 50 mHealth apps and found a disconnect in several areas (e.g., tailoring, interactivity). Our findings show that mHealth apps can be improved to further support users’ health goals. We discuss open research questions in the context of mHealth notifications

Julia Woodward, Yu-Peng Chen, Katarina Jurczyk, Kathryn M. Ross, Lisa Anthony, and Jaime Ruiz. 2021. A Survey of Notification Designs in Commercial mHealth Apps. In Extended Abstracts of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA ’21). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Article 232, 1–7. DOI:

author = {Woodward, Julia and Chen, Yu-Peng and Jurczyk, Katarina and Ross, Kathryn M. and Anthony, Lisa and Ruiz, Jaime},
title = {A Survey of Notification Designs in Commercial MHealth Apps},
year = {2021},
isbn = {9781450380959},
publisher = {Association for Computing Machinery},
address = {New York, NY, USA},
url = {},
doi = {10.1145/3411763.3451639},
booktitle = {Extended Abstracts of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems},
articleno = {232},
numpages = {7},
keywords = {alerts, mHealth, mobile health, notifications},
location = {Yokohama, Japan},
series = {CHI EA '21}