Evaluation, redesign, and user testing of a wearable fitness tracker prototype
Product: Fitness tracker
Skills: User research, UX/UI design and prototyping
Tools: Moqups, Axure, Adobe Illustrator
Duration: 4 weeks
For the course Programming Usable Interfaces at Carnegie Mellon University, we were tasked with re-designing a confusing interface. For this project, I tackled the Garmin Forerunner 220, a GPS-tracking running watch.
It is not easy to design a small screen interface. After five rounds of user testing on different iterations of my design, I uncovered these four takeaways:
- Designing for small screens is difficult because there is not enough room on the screen to have static icons for key interactions (e.g. "undo", "menu", "home", "time")
- Presenting touchscreen and tactile interactions in tandem can result in difficulties for the user.
- More functionality means having less intuitive gestures and interactions (e.g. swipe "up" to view the clock).
- Animations are integral for helping the user understand how to interact with a small screen interface.
I designed a wearable fitness tracker with two capabilities:
1. It constantly tracks certain physical activities such as number of steps taken and elevation climbed, and
2. It has workout-specific tracking, such as for running or cycling, which requires the user to "start" and "stop" the tracker to record the workout.
From research and usability testing, I analyzed the problems of the Garmin Forerunner 220 and used that information to make a more usable and learnable fitness tracker.
Users should be able to access daily stats from the home screen
The Garmin Forerunner 220 required the user to go through a lengthy process of hitting buttons and going through menus to get their workout statistics.
I added a running total of statistics to the home screen. From the home screen, the user can scroll through daily statistics without having to go to a menu or different screen.
Users should know when they are recording a workout
The original Garmin Forerunner 220 had no indicator that told the user if they were currently recording a workout or not. This caused users to record their GPS location and distance, among other stats, for hours or even days.
I added a green indicator to every screen if the user was currently recording a workout. From any screen in the system, the user would always see that they were recording a world.
Making dyanmic labels on physical buttons clears up confusion
In the Garmin Forerunner 220, the label is an icon of a runner. While the label on a digital button can change, the label on a physical one cannot. The runner icon on the Garmin Forerunner 220 meant a different action for each screen. Sometimes it means stop, select, home, menu, and many other things.
The label of the physical buttons is part of the digital interface, like a mobile phone. The text changes depending on the screen so that users are never confused.
VIEW THE PROTOTYPE
Press play to view a video of the final prototype.
RESEARCHED THE FITNESS TRACKER INDUSTRY
Fitness trackers have expanded to include features completely unrelated to fitness, such as including mobile wallet features and answering text messages
Before beginning any analysis or design, I spent a few hours quickly getting up to speed on the current climate of fitness trackers. I found that 1 in 5 Americans owns some sort of wearable device (Comstock, 2014) and fitness band sales have gone up 150% since last year (Charara, 2015).
There is little uniformity in the definitions of what a "fitness", "sports", or "activity" tracker should and shouldn't do, so I defined them for my own understanding. I grouped existing trackers into the following categories to better understand the different features:
Fitness Tracker Any device or feature of a device (mobile app, wrist band, smartwatch, pedometer, etc) that records physical activity, from ‘number of steps’ while walking to more advanced features such as GPS mapping of running routes.
Activity Tracker Type of fitness tracker that tracks physical activity over a 24-hour period. This can be such data as heart rate, number of steps, or sleep activity.
Sport Tracker Type of fitness tracker that tracks statistics for a specific workout. In general, sport trackers require the user to start and stop the tracker before and after the workout. These trackers are concerned with the data gathered during a workout, such as total miles ran, average or top speed, number of laps swam, and so forth.
I distilled market data into different persons to help me understand the different user needs
The Athlete is someone who is already in shape and wants to track their current workouts.
The Beginner is someone who is not in shape and wants to track data as motivation to start working out.
The Gadget Lover is a tech enthusiast and wants the newest thing.
The Gift Giver is someone buying a fitness tracker for someone else. This includes corporate programs that want to encourage employee health.
CONDUCTED A COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS
Fitness trackers appear to differentiate themselves based on their non-exercise features
I compared competitors across the following dimensions:
1. Companion App [Yes/No]
2. Activity Tracker or Sport Tracker
4. Activities Tracked
5. Type [Mobile App, Wearable, etc]
7. Non-Exercise Features
I analyzed features and design of five first tier, second tier, and niche competitors:
1. FitBit Surge
3. Moov NOW
4. Jawbone UP4
5. Personal Trainers.
CREATED & TESTED PAPER PROTOTYPES
I created a paper prototype to explore different interactions and test on users
BUILT A MID-FIDELITY PROTOTYPE
I made improvements to the paper prototype and created a click-through prototype in Moqups
For the second iteration I used the prototyping software Moqups. I made visual design corrections to icons and improved content hierarchy. After testing, I found that even with a higher fidelity prototype, having both a touchscreen interface and physical buttons was confusing for users.
ROUNDS OF USER TESTING
I improved on the designs based on findings from five rounds of usability testing and iteration
For the final prototype, I built a more robust version in Axure. I tested the prototype on users once again and incorporated changes into a final design.
Charara, Sophie. "If You Own a Fitness Tracker, Chances Are It's a Fitbit." Wareable. 22 May 2015. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.
Comstock, Jonah. “PwC: 1 in 5 Americans owns a wearable, 1 in 10 wears them daily.” MobiHealthNews. 21 Oct. 2014. 6 Nov. 2015.<http://mobihealthnews.com/37543/pwc-1-in-5-americans-owns-a-wearable-1-in-10-wears-them-daily/>
hipster by Matteo Orilio from the Noun Project
Woman by Simon Child from the Noun Project
Man by buzzyrobot from the Noun Project
Face by Andy Selimov from the Noun Project