Image source: Fitbit

Fitbit smartphone app redesign – a step forward, but not far enough

Fitbit’s recent update to its smartphone app, aimed at addressing user criticisms, has reintroduced key features like battery percentage display, goal celebrations, and step streaks. While these changes mark progress, the question remains: has Fitbit done enough to enhance user experience and regain trust?

The initial big redesign from a few months ago aimed to simplify the user interface. However, the update sparked widespread criticism on social media platforms. Users voiced concerns over a cluttered dashboard, privacy issues, limited customization, complicated navigation, inadequate food tracking, increased battery drain, absence of Dark Mode, removal of motivational elements, and an aggressive subscription push.

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

In response, Fitbit has reintroduced features like battery percentage display, goal celebrations, and step streaks, and allowed customizable focus metrics. But while the company has made efforts to address user dissatisfaction, the journey towards a seamless user experience needs to continue.

User reactions: A mixed bag

Social media users have been vocal about the changes. Following the initial, mostly positive, response on the things Fitbit has rectified, many long-time Fitbit users have expressed continued frustration over the new design. Some are even so fed up, they’ve switched to competitors like Apple Watch and Garmin, highlighting the impact of the redesign on their decision. If you are one of these, check out our post on how to migrate Fitbit data to Garmin. It is doable.

Users miss the previous colorful icons and find the new design too corporate and reminiscent of a work environment. And who wants that… The large fonts and predominantly white theme have been criticized for being too bright, especially for those sensitive to light. These aesthetic elements, while seemingly minor, play a significant role in the overall user experience.

Functionality issues have also been a point of contention. Users report problems with heart rate readings and workout summaries, indicating a decline in the app’s performance post-update. The lack of a dark mode is another point of criticism, especially for users sensitive to light or those who prefer their devices in dark mode.

Here’s a “before” and “after” screenshot that was posted on Reddit. A person took a pic prior to upgrading to the new software. It clearly goes from colourful and engaging – to bland and boring!

And here’s what the new workout summary looks like in the app. Once again, the same boring corporate theme. Yawn…

The need for further improvements

Let’s be fair. Fitbit did not bury its hand in the sand. The company has recognised there is a problem with the smartphone app and it has made some positive changes to the software.

But it is clear users are calling for more customization options, better functionality, and a return to some of the app’s previous design elements that made it more user-friendly and engaging. This situation underscores the challenge Fitbit faces in balancing the need for modernization with maintaining the core aspects that originally attracted its user base. As the software also powers the Google Pixel Watch range, the stakes are high for Fitbit to get it right.

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Marko Maslakovic

Marko founded Gadgets & Wearables in 2014, having worked for more than 15 years in the City of London’s financial district. Since then, he has led the company’s charge to become a leading information source on health and fitness gadgets and wearables.

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