ResearchKit: Results and User Experience with America Walks Study App

by Priya Menon


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The America Walks Study from TrialX Research, has extended its recruitment dates until the 31st of December. “We have seen great level of enthusiasm among the participants of the America Walks Study“,  said Dr. Chintan Patel, the Principal Investigator of the study. The study started recruitment in February earlier this year and was scheduled to complete recruitment in September. So far, the study has recorded 24M steps of 193 participants from 32 states. 




America Walks Study is an observational study to determine walking behavior of individuals in the US.  The app has been built using Apple’s ResearchKit library but the team at TrialX has also ported the same for Android devices so that the app is available to a much larger population base.

“Easy to Use” – User Experience with America Walks  Study ResearchKit App

We caught up with one of the study participants, Gayle, a graphic designer and educator.

Gayle started walking seriously in the December of 2008 when she was diagnosed with hypertension. She had trouble getting into a routine so she signed up for the Koman 3-Day in Philly – “Nothing like 60 miles looming in your future to get you moving.”

She enrolled in the America Walks Study and completed the 30 day study in October. This is what she shared with us via email, about the app and study.


researchkit user: Gayle



Q: Was America Walks the first mobile app research study you participated in? If no, please specify.

Yes. I’m not much of an app downloader. My phone could be mistaken for right out of the box there are so few things on it.

Q: Where did you get to know about the study?

An AVA post on Facebook, I think. Later I saw it at other places, once I was aware of it.

Q: Why did you decide to participate in the study?

I’m a joiner, not a leader. I’m always looking for interesting ways to keep me moving. If they are free it’s even better.

Q: Which device did you download app into? Android or iOS?

IPhone 6S

Q: Did you face any problems while downloading the app? If yes, please specify.

Not with the actual download or install but with getting it to link to Health. I have everything I don’t use locked down, so after emailing, I had to “allow” it, but then it still didn’t sync. I wrote again. But while I was waiting I decided this was an Apple product, I’d try the Mac trick. I totally shut down the phone, waited a couple minutes, then restarted it. Walla. It worked.

Q: Did you complete one month of the study?

Yes. It finished one day before I left on a four-day walking vacation. I’m glad it was done before I injured myself. My numbers took a nosedive.

Q: Did you use the leaderboard to check your step count and compare your steps with others?


Q: Did the study app motivate you to walk more?

Not really. I do try and get 10K in a day even though I understand it’s an arbitrary number with no scientific base. So if I’m close to 10 I will walk more to get the 10.

Q: Can you list 2 positive aspects of the app?

Easy to use. Everything is done for you. It didn’t suck up data. Since I have very limited data that’s important to me.

Q: Can you list 2 negative aspects of the app?

Basically just one. I had to remember to take my phone everywhere, AND have it charged. I’m not the carry the phone around type. Often it’s locked in the trunk of my car with my purse. I uttered the phrase “damn I forgot my phone” frequently. I think my success rate was about 75%.

Therefore I wish missing data could be added.

Q: Would you participate in another mobile app research study of similar kind?


Gayle is waiting for Ever Walk  to reach the East Coast. She hopes to do the Philly-DC segment which is about 150 miles and we wish her the very best!

Sneak Peak at America Walks Study Preliminary Results

With just two more months for recruitment, data analysis of the study is under way. In the recently held Mobile in Clinical Trial Conference, Dr. Patel revealed a sneak peak into the preliminary results of the study on average steps walked, device distribution of the app, steps walked by hour of day etc.

1. Average number of steps/day – 5408.

Researchkit Apps - America Walks Results


researchkit - america walks

2. App downloads to iOS and Android devices.

Researchkit Apps - America Walks results


America Walks Study is the first study to measure walking activity using mobile phones. It is well known that moderate physical exercise is important for a healthy life and walking 30 mins or approximately 10k steps everyday can be very beneficial. As the preliminary results (mentioned above) indicate, the study would analyze how a participant’s perception of his/her walking pattern compares with actual steps taken, as well as compare participant with co-walkers in their state. The data collected will reveal if walking together with peers in a state would motivate people to walk more as also whether using a mobile app provides that extra encouragement to beat your own walking step scores. The study hopes to encourage greater walking behavior in the U.S.

If you need some extra tracking to motivate you or are already a regular walker, download the app and get walking!

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