Thoughtful design: Encouraging healthy habits

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The design behind the technology

For many, the answer to improving our fitness lies in technology. Innovative, fast-paced, and increasingly accessible, this cultural shift continues to promote healthier lifestyles on both a personal and mass audience level. But how?

Technology alone is not enough to improve your customers’ fitness levels. The apps and devices they use to track their habits must have a clearly defined purpose. They must be practical, functional, motivational and address the individual user’s needs, without distancing wider audiences.

Where do brands start when creating genuinely valuable health technology? The secret lies in thoughtful design.

Thoughtful design

The key to thoughtful design is understanding the way in which fitness technology impacts how we live and exercise. For technology to genuinely benefit our fitness, it needs to complement our fitness habits and the trends that catch consumers’ eyes. Only by appreciating the way in which we live our lives can companies design health tech to benefit us.

Design drives the development of these technologies. It inspires winning behaviour, can promote healthy habits and encourage success. At its most basic, thoughtfully designed tech can make us feel happy about the exercises we perform or the sports we play. 

Fitbit designer says wearable technology needs to be “nearly sensual”. Design can promote healthy habits and encourage success. At its most basic, thoughtfully designed tech can make us feel happy about the exercises we perform or the sports we play. Our fitness habits are shaped by the design that goes into the technology we increasingly depend on to track, monitor, and improve our workouts. 

Fitbit

“We humanise technology… we make technology connect, speak, and interact with humans in a positive way. We want people to enjoy technology. We want people to really thrive with technology.” — Gadi Amit, Designer of the Fitbit 

We blogged recently about our three top fitness trackers. At number one was the Fitbit Charge HR, a beautifully designed little device with an interactive screen and huge range of fitness trackers. But it wasn’t these features themselves that saw the Charge HR win gold; it was the way they were tailored to benefit the user.


Thoughtful design has enabled Fitbit to design a tracker that meets the precise needs of its target audience. It ticks all the fitness tracker boxes, but it does so discreetly, and affordably, and with accuracy, all of which are desirable values for its core consumers. By promoting these values, Fitbit hit on a product that provides a function while meeting its consumers’ emotional or lifestyle needs.

The way we live

Your consumer should form the core of your innovation. This is not to say he or she should be involved directly in the design process, rather that a comprehensive understanding of your consumer will enable you to design health tech to truly meet their personal needs.

In New Stateman’s article, ‘Designed for life: creating technology that encourages behavioural change’, Philip’s new diabetes app is given as an example of tech designed with user intentions at its heart. Specifically, by understanding that parents of diabetic children worried when their child went to a birthday or sleepover, they were able to design their app to stream the child’s insulin-level data direct to the parents, helping to ease this deep-seated concern. 

The result? Humanised technology, or health technology that genuinely appears to care about its users. Philips aren’t the only technology company taking this consumer approach. Fitbit have gone lengths to understand the needs of their target audience.

Beyond Design

Thoughtful design is all around us. By taking into account your target audience’s emotional wants and practical needs, you are better placed to design products that address both. The resulting technology can help your consumers to improve their fitness for happier customers and a healthier brand.

We work with sports, and technology brands. Call Beyond on +44 (0)20 7036 0603 or contact us to find out how we can help you to improve your brand engagement.

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