Project in UXD Graduate Studio
A fitness tracker that encourages people to do exercise by making exercise fun
Fitness trackers are a hot commodity—part of an overall rise in wearables and personal data tracking. These devices promise to track a user’s activity, converting regular activity into “body data” that can be mined and visualized for insights. These insights can then be provided as prompts to empower users to be healthier and more active. However, the truth is that people will lie to their fitness trackers and making fake records.
Through secondary research and interview, we attributed people cheat on their exercise trackers to they constantly feel ashamed by their social appearance. In order to change this mentality, we designed a game app that places “entertainment” as the primary objective thus reducing “fit-keeping” into the secondary objective. The game generally combines the features of Pokémon Go and Role Playing Simulation Game. We believe our product can help in solving the problem of exercise deficiency.
Alyse Marie Allred
Along with the rise in the popularity of body tracking app and devices, there have been numerous efforts to “fake out” activity monitors, either to manipulate the information a company might have about an employee for healthcare purposes or to allow the user to feel that they are meeting their activity goals.
Our goal is to create a tracker application to empower users to be healthier.
In her book Fat Shame: Stigma and Fat Body in American Culture, Amy Erdman Farrell clearly stated that “we [American] are an extraordinarily ‘fat-aware’ culture”. It is simply not hard to relate the trend of shame with social portraiture of the idolized human body, and the immediate implication is the resulting negative psychology, even Body Dysmorphic Disorder, that developed in those who are “cast aside” by the society.
Once developed, such mentality will make its subjects feel uncomfortable in the environment that posts contrast to their body images, thus reducing its subjects’ attendance to exercise. On the other hand, people who have this shameful feeling are likely to attempt to disguise their real image by any means, such as cheating on their tracker devices.
Our interview result agreed with the secondary research. Almost all participants responded that they cheated on the tracker devices because they did not want to lose the record, implying a disguise on their social image.
Some of them indicated that they don’t want their body type to be classified by the level of fitness, and a few indicated they did feel ashamed or stressful when standing in a group of fit people. Three participants said they preferred to exercise with fit people, and one participant even said that exercising with over-weighted people looks pathetic and would attract other’s attention, which was an indirect implication that shame culture was putting social anxiety on their shoulders.
Another interesting aspect indicated in the interview was that almost all participants dislike fitness tracker because it was boring. They wanted something fun while they were exercising. Several also said exercise would be more attractive if they could exercise with their friends.
In order to overcome the shame mentality, we reduced “fit-keeping” to the secondary objective in the user’s mental model, making fitness an attachment to entertainment purposes. A game app was therefore designed to engage users in outdoor activities and to relate exercise with positive experiences.
We started by understanding the shame-mentality of people who cheat on their fitness trackers, and we tried to alter the shame-mentality by making fit-keeping a secondary objective.
Therefore, we designed a Role-Playing Simulation game that awarded players only when they finish a certain walking distance in a day.
We created two personas, Emily and Tim, based on our interview. They both wanted to make changes to their appearance.
We first made a paper prototype to determine the design and use of the interface and then turned it into a high fidelity prototype.
4. Usability testing
We used high fidelity prototype to conduct the usability test. There were some problems that confused the tester which included group functionality, management of collections, and buttons that not intuitive and clear enough. Overall, our tester thought it was a fun game to play. However, she said that she might leave the game once she collected all the items she wanted.
We used high fidelity prototype to conduct the usability test. There were some problems that confused the tester which included group functionality, management of collections, and buttons that not intuitive and clear enough.
Overall, our tester thought it was a fun game to play. However, she said that she might leave the game once she collected all the item she wanted.
Press start to begin
This is the first project I did after I started to learn UX Design at Purdue University. I learned how to do Personas, sketch, usability testing and designing from users' point of view which is very different from the system design I learned at undergraduate.
In this report, we used a very interesting angle to solve the problem. Nevertheless, we paid too much attention to what we wanted to do compared to what users really needed. How to Identify target users and problems will be the task I need to continue learning.