The wristband that was supposed to bring gamification to exercise

The Jawbone UP was supposed to be the product that finally made it easy to track how effective your exercise regiment was doing. Snap it on your wrist, download the app onto your phone, and you were ready to let gamification work in your favor and shed some pounds. But in a recent article for Co.Design Cliff Kuang points out its significant design flaws, which broke down the “game.”

The app for the Jawbone UP got me thinking about that dilemma, simply because for a very basic app, there’s too many paths for ultimately doing the same thing. You can go around in circles on the thing, and that quickly lends the exhausting feeling of being lost. And when you see two different ways to do the same thing, such as take a photo of your meal or track a workout, it leaves you this constant nagging worry that no UI should ever create: Am I doing this the right way?

Kuang’s main points come back to ease of use, and how central a role smartphones play in our day to day planning. It’s a keen look at how a few design decisions can cripple a good idea. Read more here.

Filipe Salgado