Apple Watch Health And Fitness Has Social Potential

1 June 2016

Zac Hall, 9to5Mac:

After starting a streak on April 1st, closing those Activity rings each day has been the biggest motivation to keep up my new routine. I missed two days near the end of April when I was under the weather, but picked back up and haven’t missed a beat in 42 days.

Closing the Activity rings is rewarding, but actually seeing results has also been a big reason to keep going. Apple Watch revealed one thing for certain during year one: my lifestyle is generally pretty sedentary throughout the week. If I don’t make an effort, I can easily go a whole day and only burn 150 active calories.

Zac has succeeded where I have failed, beating his Move goal for every day in the month just gone. Over a year since Apple Watch’s launch, I would have hoped that I could have managed the same thing at some point … alas laziness. What’s interesting though is that his achievement has actually motivated me to do it too. I was planning to go for the month-long award soon anyway but now I want it doubly so; there’s an implicit social pressure.

Apple’s software could do better to assist here: there is no social element to the Health app or Activity app. It would be cool if they build on the Activity app medals system and introduced things like shared leaderboards and achievements. Gamification can be annoying and cheesy but Apple has the design sophistication to execute well. Even something small like a dashboard of live Activity rings from family and friends, and the number of steps taken by them so far today would be incentivising. Nothing too in your face, no push notifications bragging about your social circle’s achievement, no pressure. Just a list that you can look at and see how you compare, if you choose.