What really matters with health and wellness mobile app UX? [INFOGRAPHIC]

older woman running

Hey Apple- why so sporadic with innovation?

Specifically, in case you missed that news, Apple only just released an ovulation cycle feature this year, a feature that had been identified by independent developers and demanded by vocal women internationally for several years. (image below- Apple watch ovulation cycle tracking)

cycle tracking in apple watch screen
Apple Watch- ovulation tracking (image: Apple)

The Digital Wellness stats that appear on the new iOS just recently are late but worse, meaningless. Again, the issue of smartphone addiction has been openly discussed for at least four years in Silicon Valley. One has to wonder what took Apple so long? The stats are basically useless and provide nothing meaningful or helpful to combat iPhone addiction.

What’s missing? Personalization and UX features critical to digital wellness user experience.

In the example below, who decides that Chrome is “too much screen time” or e.g. that YouTube is “too much entertainment”. In both cases, those apps are being used for education, personal and professional development. The stats are missing context or intent of use (of the device or apps).

apple phone screen time example- useless graphs

What’s missing? Letting the user have control and choice to set goals, decide boundaries and benefit from meaningful personal analytics.

UX Heuristics for Fitness Trackers

The 7 research-based UX Heuristics for Fitness Trackers include:

1. Level of personalization: Default goal-setting for most users/most occasions; let the user decide what is desirable without making necessary restrictions imposing a hinder for the desired outcome/activity performance level.

2. Navigation/input: Provide a starting point for personalization features; a clear way to show that there are options/further ways of personalizing single functions. Gamification of the process of navigating and personalizing is critical.

3. Positive Feedback: Provide feedback that motivation and/or self-efficacy level has changed through user-defined ratings and questionnaires; system to provide new goals based on the user reported or system-defined motivation level; provide boundaries for motivation and self-efficacy to support users in their activity and needs; expose users to positive and constructive feedback that seems to promote greater motivation — a finding contrary to a study by Hollis, V.; Konrad, A.; Whittaker, (2015).

4. Multi-activity motivation analysis: Users expressed a desire for features that enable them to better analyze relations between data/information — activities and motivation/self-efficacy behaviour, e.g., between sleep/diet and high or low motivation. Users may be able to categorize activities based on the motivation or self-efficacy improvements they see, as well as to explore behaviours that promote higher motivation or increased self-efficacy.

5. Context integration: Capturing reflections on life events and emotional or social interactions during fitness tracking may be an important facilitator of motivation and self-efficacy. This can create an added sense of sociability or social UX known to drive healing, motivation behaviour change in healthcare.

6. Provide intelligence to encourage more targeted behaviour change: Giving users a means to explore their gathered data to increase their self-efficacy and fitness levels, can make the experience more meaningful. Interpreted data can be helpful (like SmartCoach in the Jawbone app) but making sense of activity trends and patterns and tying those to “victories” or self-defined goals might improve self-efficacy.

7. Sustain user motivation by leveraging intrinsic motivation into a playful experience: Use game elements and small rewards to support different stages of self-monitoring; thus it is possible to meet user needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness that support the development of intrinsic motivation.

You can find the research paper here: Motivation and User Engagement in Fitness Tracking: Heuristics for Mobile Healthcare Wearables

infographic ux heuristics for fitness trackers

Infographic of the 7 Heuristics for fitness tracking:

Frank Spillers, CEO of Experience Dynamics



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