Personalization in Game Design for Healthcare: a Literature Review on its Definitions and Effects


  • Marierose van Dooren Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft
  • Valentijn Visch Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft
  • Renske Spijkerman Parnassia Group, Brijder Addiction Care, Parnassia Addiction Research Centre (PARC), The Hague
  • Richard Goossens Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft
  • Vincent Hendriks Parnassia Group, Brijder Addiction Care, Parnassia Addiction Research Centre (PARC), The Hague & Curium, Leiden University Medical Centre, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Leiden University, Leiden



personalization, co-design, co-creation, tailoring, serious games, health


Personalization, the involvement of stakeholders in the design process, is often applied in serious game design for health. It is expected to enhance the alignment of a game to the preferences and capacities of the end-user, thereby increasing the end-user’s motivation to interact with the game, which finally might enhance the aimed-for health effects of the game. However, the nature and effect of personalization have never been systematically studied, making assumptions regarding personalization ungrounded. In this literature review, we firstly provide a proposal of our Personalized Design Process-model, where personalization is defined as stakeholder involvement in the Problem Definition-, Product Design- and/or Tailoring Phase. Secondly, we conducted a systematic literature review on this model, focusing on health and its effects. In this review, 62 of the 2579 found studies were included. Analysis showed that a minority of the studies were of methodologically higher quality and some of these tested the health effect by contrasting tailored versus non-tailored games. Most studies involved stakeholders in the Tailoring Design Phase. Therefore, we conclude that involving stakeholders in the Tailoring Phase is valuable. However, to know if personalization is effective in the Product Design- and the Problem Definition Phase, more studies are needed.


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How to Cite

van Dooren, M., Visch, V., Spijkerman, R., Goossens, R., & Hendriks, V. (2016). Personalization in Game Design for Healthcare: a Literature Review on its Definitions and Effects. International Journal of Serious Games, 3(4).




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