Fitbit has introduced a new iOS and Android smartphone app. Previously by invitation only, the roll-out to everyone has now begun. Reactions to the new look have so far been mixed.
Fitbit says the new design offers”access all your stats and information in a way that’s more dynamic, integrated, and highly personalised.” In a sense, it takes the Versa screen visual, and brings it to the smartphone app.
Instead of four tabs, there are only three tabs along the bottom now. These include Discover, Today and Community.
Discover allows users to find health and fitness features and add them to the home screen. It also provides quick access to Fitbit challenges and adventures, as well as premium programs such as Fitbit Coach.
The Today tab allows you to see your daily stats, including steps, calories, sleep, activity and more. Above this is a new feature called Fitbit focus. This spits out health and fitness related insights, messages and tips based on your logged data. As before, you’re able to rearrange, hide and add tiles. Tap on any metric to be taken through to more detailed screens. As far as we can tell, only the daily summary screen has received the revamp. Detailed screens on steps, activity and more seem pretty much the same.
The final tab is to provide for the all important social aspect. Community is where you can join fitness groups, connect with friends, post on Fitbit’s social feed and more.
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The reaction so far
We all know people don’t like change and there’s always a learning curve involved when something new is introduced. Plus, the look and feel of something is a highly emotive issue so resistance is to be expected. But there’s has been more than the usual amount of chatter about the new-look app on Fitbit’s forums. And lots of it has been negative.
Some are finding it difficult to find information they could previously access easily, and many just don’t like the new design. A few have even gone as far as to delete the app and reinstall it in the hope of getting the old look back. But the new app experience is permanent once enabled.
We tried out the new version and our impression is that the coaching and various other aspects have received more prominence, and the actual stats less. There has been a move towards a more text heavy user interface, and this may not be to everyone’s taste. Especially users who want quick access to a summary of their data measured against goals, with drill-downs to further statistics. We also feel the screen real-estate could have been used more effectively.
It’s great that Fitbit is looking to improve things. That’s to be expected as are teething problems. We are sure the company is listening to their loyal user-base and will amend the new look in time to suit the majority. The other option is to temporarily add the option to allow users to roll back if they wish.
So far more than 200 votes have been case to “Allow Customers to choose between Dashboards”. You can join the fun and cast your own vote if you like.
How to install
You must be on version 2.92 of the app or later to get the new-look experience. An easy way to check which iteration you are on is to click on your profile picture in the app, scroll down and tap Help. The info will be displayed at the top of the screen.
If you don’t see the new dashboard just yet, you will have the option of enabling it in the next few weeks. Rollout has begun in the US with other countries to follow.
Change is inevitable and when the bugs are worked out hopefully the consensus will change. It’s worth emphasising, the app did not lose any functionality or features, but some things sit in different places now.
As mentioned, after you switch to the new app experience you will no longer access the old Fitbit app design. Over the next few months Fitbit says it will phase out the previous design.
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