In 2016, the World Health Organization released the world's first 24-hour movement guidelines, which initiated a roll-out plan with ParticipACTION, the Government of Canada and their partners. These guidelines outlined the recommended amount and intensity of physical activity, limits on sedentary behaviour, and amount and quality of sleep required daily for kids aged 5 to 17.
Raising awareness and adoption of these guidelines couldn't be more important today. Only 9% of Canadian kids get enough daily physical activity; only 24% meet guidelines for daily screen time; and 31% of school-aged kids are sleep-deprived1.
But like most government papers, the 24-Hour Guidelines – in their official form – were too technical, complicated and unattractive, especially to kids. ParticipACTION needed to find a way to translate education into entertainment for kids to connect and act.
Our solution was to gamify the Guidelines through a mobile-optimized experience called "BuildYourBestDay.com". A colourfully illustrated experience, the site lets kids take the controls to imagine and "build their best day" from 180 activities in the categories of Sweat, Step, Sit and Sleep.
As kids move through the experience, their progress toward an imaginary day is tracked, with their selections triggering tips and practical teaching moments, such as not choosing screen-based activities before bedtime. Upon completion, kids can see if their choices meet the Guidelines or not, adjust accordingly, and print a memento of their achievement.
Given the wide demographic we needed to reach, the age and reading ability of our youngest users, and accessibility and language barriers to consider, keeping our 'technology' simple and navigation intuitive was a key success factor.
To keep kids' attention, we created an experience that was both visually appealing and organized into bite-sized chunks. Leveraging 'leveling up' cues from video games, colour, motion, iconography and sound would reinforce success in a way that appeals to kids. And by segmenting the experience into day parts, we encouraged incremental progress toward the goal with minimal barriers.
With no paid media support until January 2018, the soft launch of the campaign has already seen high engagement, with an average session time of 3 mins.
Soft launch success has also triggered the development of similar 24-Hour Movement Guidelines experiences for other age groups, moving to 0-4 in March.
The program has also been globally recognized, as an FWA.com Site of the Day and with an honourable mention from Awwwards.com.