Go and Grow: Mapping Personal Data to a Living Plant

Motivation is a key factor for introducing and maintaining healthy changes in behaviour. However, typical visualization methods (e.g., bar-, pie-, and line charts) hardly motivate individuals. We investigate how a plant - a living visualization - whose health relies on the plant owner's level of activity, can engage people in tracking and self-reflecting on their fitness data. To address this question, we designed, implemented, and studied Go & Grow, a living plant that receives water proportionally to its owner's activity. Our six-week qualitative study with ten participants suggests that living visualizations have qualities that their digital counterparts do not have. This includes people feeling: emotionally connected to their plant; sentiments such as pride and guilt; and responsibility towards their plant. Based on this study, we introduce the Goal Motivation Model, a model considering the diversity of individuals, thus supporting and encouraging a diversity of strategies for accomplishing goals.