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How Fitbit have nailed gamification & 10 lessons you can learn from them

I’m both a sucker for a gadget and someone who likes to keep fit and active. A few months ago I decided that rather than the old-fashioned route of trying to keep a diary of my various fitness activities, I’d get myself one of those fancy new smart watches to track and record my every move. I’m now a proud owner of a fitbit charge 2 (shown above), and I have to say, I really rather like it.

Fitbit make lots of gadgets for helping to track your fitness and everyday activities. The charge 2 goes one step further than most smart watches by also continually tracking your heart rate. It’s like having a tiny little nurse constantly taking your pulse. The Fitbit captures lots and lots of data. I can see how far I’ve walked each day, how many calories I’ve burnt, how many steps I’ve taken, how many minutes I’ve exercised for, what my resting heart rate is, even the duration and quality of my sleep (assuming I wear it in bed).

My Fitbit is certainly useful for keeping track of what activities I’ve done, but where it really comes into its own is by nudging me to do that little bit more. Like a mini coach on my wrist it pushes me to take the stairs rather than the lift. It prods me to run or cycle that little bit further. It encourages me to go for a lunchtime walk, rather than veg out at my desk. It does this through gamification — using game mechanics, such as scoring, competition and challenges to motivate and encourage desired behaviours. I think that Fitbit have really nailed gamification and you can learn a lot from what they’re doing well. Here are 10 lessons that I’ve taken away.

1. Gamification works, in the right domain

2. Explain the rules of the game

Fitbit explains the rules of the game rather nicely. They include a little quick start booklet with the device to introduce the basic features and concepts. They include an initial walkthrough within their mobile app and over time send a number of introductory emails to gradually introduce more things for users to think about.

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Fitbit gradually introduces the rules of the game via emails, walkthroughs and a quick start booklet

3. Keep it simple

4. Make challenges just challenging enough

5. Make it competitive

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Fitbit allows you to compete with friends and family

6. Make it social

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Fitbit allows users to set-up and join groups

7. Nudge, but don’t nag

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Fitbit provides encouraging reminders to hit daily goals

8. Make it easy to check progress

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Fitbit allows users to easily check their progress via dashboards and reports

9. Reward hard work

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Fitbit ensures that hard work is rewarded and allows users to easily share their achievements

10. Make it fun

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Fitbit provides plenty of fun challenges for users

Conclusion

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See also

Originally published at www.uxforthemasses.com on June 21, 2018.

Written by

Former techy turned UX Jedi. Checkout out my blog (UX for the Masses) for more about me.

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