Fitbit’s recent app redesign has ignited a firestorm of criticism, with users flocking to social media platforms to air their grievances.
In a departure from its usual cadence, Fitbit has launched only the Charge 6 as its sole new device for 2023, a year that seems to be one of transition for the company. Typically, Fitbit releases 2-3 new devices annually. However, Google, Fitbit’s parent company, aims to supplement this with the release of the Pixel Watch 2 on October 4th.
Recently, Fitbit has been pivoting its focus toward software enhancements and deeper Google integration. This strategy materialized in the form of a software update to the company’s smartphone app, aimed at simplifying the user interface while adding elements of personalization and motivation.
At least that was the idea. However, the new look app has sparked a wave of criticism from users.
User backlash on social media
Social media platforms, particularly Reddit and Twitter, have become a hotbed for user complaints about the new Fitbit app. While resistance to change is a common phenomenon, the volume and intensity of the criticism suggest that the company may have missed the mark on this one. Users have raised several issues, ranging from the app’s unappealing user interface to missing features and inconsistent data presentation.
The Fitbit app is now organized into three main tabs: Today, Coach, and You. The “Today” tab offers a comprehensive overview of health metrics, the “Coach” tab serves as a motivational tool, and the “You” tab is a hub for personal achievements and social connections. Despite these changes aiming for simplicity and personalization, many users find the new design less intuitive and more cumbersome.
Here are the top 10 criticisms – ranked in no particular order.
1. Cluttered Dashboard
The new dashboard layout has been criticized for being cluttered and overwhelming, making it difficult for users to quickly glance at their key metrics. Some describe it as bland and uninspiring.
2. Limited customization
The redesign offers fewer options for users to personalize their dashboard and metrics. This lack of customization has frustrated long-time users who had tailored their app experience to fit their specific needs.
3. Complicated navigation
The redesign has led to a more complex navigation system, requiring users to go through multiple steps to access basic features.
4. Inadequate food tracking
The food tracking feature, crucial for those monitoring their caloric intake, has become less user-friendly and lacks essential details.
5. Poor accessibility
The new color scheme has been criticized for being difficult to read, especially for colorblind users. The lack of contrast in the text and background colors further exacerbates this issue.
6. Battery drain
Some users have reported that the new app consumes more battery life on their smartphones. This is particularly concerning for those who rely on the app throughout the day for real-time data tracking.
7. Lack of Dark Mode
Despite numerous requests from users, the app still lacks a Dark Mode. This omission is not only a missed opportunity for customization but also a strain on users’ eyes in low-light conditions.
8. Removed motivational elements
The motivational fireworks that appeared upon reaching fitness goals have been removed. This small but impactful feature added a sense of achievement and motivation that is now missing.
9. Subscription push
The app has been criticized for aggressively pushing Fitbit Premium services, making free users feel marginalized.
10. Privacy concerns
The deeper integration with Google has raised concerns about data privacy. Users are wary of how their personal health data might be used, especially given that future logins will require Google credentials.
The bigger picture
The redesign seemst to be a part of Fitbit’s broader strategy to focus more on software and its integration with Google. While this may offer long-term benefits, the immediate impact on user experience has been largely negative. The company needs to address these issues promptly to retain user trust and engagement.
Reverting to the previous version of the Fitbit app is a topic that has garnered attention, especially among users dissatisfied with the redesign. While some tech-savvy users have discussed extracting the install file of the older version to keep as a backup, this method is not officially supported by Fitbit and could pose security risks. Additionally, as Fitbit continues to integrate its services with Google, it’s likely that future updates will make it increasingly difficult to use older versions of the app. Therefore, while reverting may offer a temporary respite, it’s not a long-term solution to the issues raised by the new design.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
With Google planning to launch the Pixel Watch 2 next week, Fitbit has a narrow window to correct these issues. The company must balance its new software-centric approach with the hardware quality and user experience that initially made it a market leader.
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