Fitbit App Ecosystem

When I joined Fitbit, a smartwatch was already in the works and we knew users would expect a customisable experience of their product. With this in mind we began thinking about how that could look and feel. 

By leveraging my previous expertise developing the Vector Watch Developer Portal I was able to see this project from inception to delivery in less than four months. Since it's launch is has grown to accomodate a larger line of products and content.

The Problem

As we were going to launch our first smartwatch, the Ionic, our customers needed an easy way to download new content to their devices. The solution would have had to integrate into our existing app as engineering resources and options were limited. The timeline was stretched over four months from kick-off to launch.

Team Setup

On this project I was part of a cross-functional team, acting as Lead Designer in Bucharest and working closely with a Product Manager and an Engineering Lead in San Francisco. I took the project from inception to launch making sure we touch on all the important steps of a design process such as prototypes and usability testing.

Obviously one of our main challenges was the time difference (+10 hours) and the distance (+6000 miles). We leveraged our main videoconference tool - Zoom - while also making good use of email and JIRA tickets. Part of our collaboration we also scheduled three work trips to San Francisco that ensured we communicated efficiently and cleared any confusions.

UX Audit

Some explorations were began by a previous designer at Fitbit who left in the meantime. However I wanted to leverage his work, so on the project kickoff trip to San Francisco I asked the help of the design team and I facilitated an UX audit.

Out of this audit I came out with a better understanding of the current app limitations but also on how the current UX team saw the development of this solution. A crucial part of being a designer at Fitbit is desiging in a consistent way with the rest of the team.


Competitive Analysis

To understand better what kind of expectations our users would have of us I also took a look at our main competitors: Apple, Android and Garmin.

Understanding the device

As with any hardware project, it's crucial to understand what are the limits of the device, how it works and how you can bring that complexity into something user-friendly.

For this part I spent a good time with my Engineering Lead trying to understand what the device was able to do in terms of installing custom content, pitfalls and caveats.


App Flow

Once I had a comprehensive list of assumptions, constraints and technical specs I went ahead and started laying out the app flow with all the possible routes.

One key decision we took was to use the device settings page as an entry point, a decision that later proved itself an issue as we were having more and more devices join the platform.


Visual design

Without a centralised assets library for our app and no design system, desiging for the Fitbit app was a challenge. My first step was to do a visual design audit resulting in a library of the most common instances in the app. While doing this audit I discovered a lot of inconsistencies in terms of color palette, padding, spacing, iconography and typography.

One key decision I made at this point was to leverage each operating system's app store interaction design and visual patterns.

This decision made possible for an intutivite experiece for users despite the fact that this was entirely a new feature set for Fitbit.

Usability testing

While on another visit in the San Francisco office I wanted to use the opportunity to test out a prototype of the app in our super-cool user testing lab. I put together a Flinto prototype and with the help of a colleague in the user experience research team I recruited non-technical employees which I asked to test it out.

At this stage I wrote the test script and drove the interviews in the lab.

The usability tests validated my assumptions and the app flow while hinting at small improvements we could make.



Tracking the activity on the App Gallery is important so we can understand how different product decisions affect users and usage. Numbers are one year after project launch.


Clock Faces & Apps Published

+245 Million

Clock Faces & Apps Installed


If I were to do this again and with less contraints I would definitely reconsider the entry point in our app as well as the priority of some features we designed. Doing a couple of interviews with developers who were publishing content on our platform quickly highlighted features we should have considered earlier, such as searching, bookmarking and being able to install multiple clock faces.

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