Phases of Accuracy Diagnosis: (In)visibility of System Status in the Fitbit
Keywords:Fitbit, Activity trackers, system status, maxim of quality
AbstractThis paper analyzes the Fitbit – an all-in-one step, floor, distance, calorie, and sleep tracker – in order to discover how users approach and deal with the question of accuracy in black-box systems. Due to learned expectations of system unreliability, users are skeptical of the authenticity of Fitbit-recorded data. However, due to the limited visibility of system status their efforts to test and calibrate their data are ultimately flawed. Users move through four main phases in which they perform a number of tests to diagnose and understand the Fitbit’s level of precision, while revising their mental model of the Fitbit itself and attempting to calibrate their personal use of the device. This paper examines the results of seven interviews with Fitbit users, hypothesizes and describes four phases of use many Fitbit users undergo, and critiques the usability problems that these interviews unearthed.
LicenseAuthors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).