When Fitness Trackers Don’t “Fit”: End-User Difficulties in the Assessment of Personal Tracking Device Accuracy

Publication/Creation Date
September 10 2015
Rayoung Yang (creator)
Eunice Shin (creator)
Mark Newman (creator)
Mark Ackerman (creator)
University Of Michigan (contributor)
IBM Interactive Experience (contributor)
Media Type
Journal Article
Persuasive Intent
Personal tracking technologies allow users to monitor and reflect on their physical activities and fitness. However, users are uncertain about how accurately their devices track their data. In order to better understand this challenge, we analyzed 600 product reviews and conducted 24 interviews with tracking device users. In this paper, we describe what methods users used to assess accuracy of their tracking devices and identify seven problems they encountered. We found that differences in users’ expectations, physical characteristics, types of activities and lifestyle led them to have different perceptions of the accuracy of their devices. With the absence of sound mental models and unclear understanding of the concepts of accuracy and experimental controls, users designed faulty tests and came to incorrect conclusions. We propose design recommendations to better support end-users’ efforts to assess and improve the accuracy of their tracking devices as required to suit their individual characteristics and purposes.

From the Engagement and Disengagement Panel Session, UBICOMP 2015.
HCI Platform
Location on Body

Date archived
September 26 2015
Last edited
November 16 2018
How to cite this entry
Rayoung Yang, Eunice Shin, Mark Newman, Mark Ackerman. (September 10 2015). "When Fitness Trackers Don’t “Fit”: End-User Difficulties in the Assessment of Personal Tracking Device Accuracy". 2015 ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp 2015). International Joint Conference On Pervasive And Ubiquitous Computing. Fabric of Digital Life. https://fabricofdigitallife.com/index.php/Detail/objects/1240