UX Design

Case Study: Fitbit Concierge

I chose Fitbit as my portfolio topic for the Springboard.com UX Design Certificate Program in Spring/Summer 2016. I worked on these deliverables under the guidance of my program mentor. Below, you will see examples of how my thinking evolved throughout every phase of the project, from concept to user testing.

1.  Why Fitbit?

Fitbit’s popularity in the market made it an ideal choice, but it was also personal. As much as I love the shiny buttons and ever-escalating features of its hardware and apps, I couldn’t tell you if my Fitbit had actually made my life better or helped me meet my goals. The Note to Self podcast did an outstanding episode on the quantified self that planted a seed in my mind that grew when I saw local UX rock star Carolyn Chandler give a keynote at the Chicago Camps UX Conference about wearables. It led me to wonder, how might a wearable experience do a better job of helping us to actually feel healthier, not just overwhelm us with more data points?

2.  User Research

I interviewed five current Fitbit users to understand what was working (or not) in their current experience. People were passionate about this topic–I had twice as many volunteers versus available time slots! Surprisingly, when it came to actual use, I observed an awareness gap between what users said they wanted and the features and products Fitbit offered. Most users were using a single device, occasionally visiting the mobile app, yet rarely visited the full website, where they might have been able to see more features (sleep goals), products (Aria Wi-Fi scale), and services (FitStar Coaching) that could work in concert to help them meet their goals.

As my mentor and I discussed the findings, we thought it would be interesting to reimagine the Fitbit experience as that of a service/solution provider, rather than just a hardware vendor. What might that be like? Were any competitors already doing that?

As a former brand strategist, I was also curious why and how they had chosen this platform above the others. None of them could remember using the Fitbit site beyond checking out product colors prior to purchase. Many of them reported that they had talked to friends and tried out different apps before purchasing a device, as a way to try out the experience.


3.  Usability and Competitive Analysis

My heuristic analysis included two major Fitbit competitors, Jawbone and Misfit. each of the sites featured a slightly different take on how to present wearable devices.


Heuristic analysis of Fitbit and key competitors.


4. Analogues

Aside from other wearables, I looked at analogues from other industries and found inspiration in cosmetic devices like Clarisonic, and a coaching app called Unstuck.

These validated some of the basic skills I was taught in years of consultative selling: ask a lot of questions, understand the root problem your customer needs to solve, and help them remove barriers to a complete solution.


5.  Empathy mapping and personas

I used empathy mapping to draw out patterns from the data, arriving at personas for current Fitbit users who are looking to add to or replace their devices.


The empathy map for “Brian”…


…and his resulting persona.


6.  Content strategy and information architecture

I mapped Fitbit.com’s top three layers of content, observing that some menu names might be confusing. For example, if a user wanted to look for weight loss support ideas, the FitStar personal coaching service is buried under the Experiences menu, while the Blog’s nutrition tips are nestled under the the Fun menu. The products and content were there, but a user would need to hunt for them.


Fitbit.com’s existing site map.

After experimenting with some alternate structures for the desktop site, it made more sense to start with mobile. User interviewees said they typically visited their mobile app the most, so I decided to focus my design efforts there first, by designing a new feature called Fitbit Concierge.

7.  User stories and MVP

My next step was to think through what users might need from a Concierge, then narrow it down to an MVP that I could build and test.


8.  Interaction design

Now that I had prioritized what the Concierge was going to do, I did an inventory of Fitbit’s interaction design. There was evidence of multiple (and possibly outdated) styles being used in different areas of the site, so I handpicked the freshest style elements that would suit the Concierge’s mobile-friendly design, packaging them into a style tile.


9.  From Wireframes to Interactive Prototype

I started by sketching ideas and layouts, then started building wireframes in Balsamiq.

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Ultimately, I landed on this annotated flow and turned it into a clickable prototype using InVision. We had time to animate one workflow, so I chose “Sleep Better”, as this seemed a more relatable goal than weight or nutrition for the majority of potential testers.

Fitbit Concierge_Revised_July 4


10.  User testing

Three Fitbit users participated in live, moderated tests of the Fitbit Concierge basic task flow regarding better sleep. Overall, users were comfortable with the general goal categories offered by the Concierge, but were frustrated by the visible output of the experience. Their feedback suggested specific areas for improvement in the Customize and Recommendation phases that might make the feature more useful and delightful to them. It was especially helpful to hear that they wished for the Concierge to ask them more questions.

Had this been real life (not just a portfolio project), I would have focused further iteration in these areas.