Pebble Watch App encouraging positive health

related behaviors through smartwatch interactions



BACKGROUND - Master’s Thesis - Smart Watch Application - visualized team scores, team leaderboard, personal fitness & team interactions

HARDWARE UTILIZED - Pebble Watch, Fitbit Band, Smartphone

SOFTWARE COMPONENTS - Pebble Watch App, Node.js, Fitbit Web API, MongoLab



  1.  68% of US adults are considered overweight.

  2.  Wearables User Retention suffers after 6 months

  3.  Reliance of Smartphones for Wearables Data Visualization.


Competitive Togetherness, Pebble Watch App A real-time feedback framework based on Competition, Cooperation and Personal Fitness. Competitive Togetherness is a Pebble Watch App that allows people to compete in teams and focus on healthy living through activity and sleep. Personal fitness data from Fitbit Bands is utilized and converted into points. This thesis was a design implementation to a futuristic smartwatch and what that might entail


Concept & Research


  • Gamification

  • Team Incorporation

  • Team Identity

  • Social Comparison

  • In-Team Cooperation

  • Out-of-Team Competition

Wearable fitness technologies have been incorporated into many peoples everyday lives to track health data. Most fitness software have a detailed daily report of sleep and activity (some heart rate tracking has begun to be incorporated). Over 100 research papers were read and 10 in-person interviews were conducted to find focus on health related interactions on the wrist.

In this thesis project, a smartwatch app is created to gamify team fitness and social interactions that encourage maintenance of personal health goals. A Pebble watch is used as the main visualization and team interaction app and users health and fitness data are taken from Fitbit bands.

Ideal Smartwatch design to validate and decrease the connected elements needed

Ideal Smartwatch design to validate and decrease the connected elements needed




The Pebble Classic is limited to a black and white interface, that displays a flat design similar to reading a notice and information on paper or the flat UI of the new iOS. Minimization influenced the design to highlight the important aspects of the application. Each component was designed to allow for quick understanding of data and simple visualizations. The application was designed for ease of user interactions so there would be a low learning curve.

Based on my research, functionality focus was determined early on in the  process and extrapolated here. There are three components to Competitive Togetherness focusing on gamification of team data and allowing for personal goals and fitness:

1)  Leadership Board to show team positions in competition

 2) Team Board displaying teammates daily accomplishments

 3) Personal Board visualizing users own data.

These were first sketched out and tested on users for feedback on which design was desired more. The paper prototypes defined which route the visuals would transpire into.


Design Functionality - Core Features

Based on the research conducted I determined the key features that would make up Competitive Togetherness.

  • Leaderboard to display the competition between the teams. Leaderboards have been utilized to motivate users to be more active through social influence of competition. Several designs were explored but the utilization of bars allowed for a quick visual comparison to understand difference rather than just showing numbers.

  • Team Board to allow for teammate comparison and cooperation. In several products listed above users have solely viewed others data to create competition in groups, but also foster collaboration through social comparison.

  • Teammate Card this page allows for players to gain an in-depth understanding of their teammates and scores. Players also have the ability to cheer or nudge their teammate to encourage their fitness.

  • Nudging/Cheering feature where users could Nudge or Cheer their teammate in order to motivate or praise their efforts. Users need a way to bond with their teammates to encourage achieving healthy behavior goals.

  • Personal Board to focus on users own self data and improvements. The team components are additive features to motivate users more, but the main result is for each player to achieve personal goals daily.

  • Notifications to allow players to sustain involvement. Different users find certain information points more important than others, which is why I integrated notifications about team position, nudging/cheering, daily summaries, remaining activity encouragement and goal achievements.



The purpose of the study is to explore motivation of personal fitness in regards to team competition. This was an exploratory study prototyping a smartwatch interface, designed to motivate later research questions relating to importance of teams in regards to continued fitness achievement. I am seeking to understand effective methods to enhance users usage of fitness wearables through social internet community and competition. 



This is a high level diagram of the system interactions. Competitive Togetherness consists of 3 interaction components:

  1. Fitbit is used to collect user data

  2. Pebble Watch is used to visualize the personal fitness and team gamification data

  3. Smartphone is used to connect the devices by Bluetooth to retrieve updates through the Fitbit App and Pebble App 


The backend was programmed in Javascript used:

  1. Node.js as a server

  2. Fitbit Web API to authorize access to user sensor data

  3. MongoLab to store the created collections of team and user information

  4. Pebble Storage to retain and display user information.


User Testing

Screen Shot 2017-10-14 at 3.53.15 PM.png

I performed 8-day long pilot study w/ 4 participants paired into groups of two. Three days were spent training participants how to use the Fitbit and Pebble Watch, while the last 5 incorporated the Competitive Togetherness app into participants daily routine. Individuals were given a Fitbit band to count their personal health behaviors and a Pebble Watch to visualize Competitive Togetherness. The study required that each participant owned a smartphone as well.


User Reception

I like it because its a motivational tool and it brings out the competitiveness in people, I find competition motivating…It was nice to see what you
accomplished and have positive reinforcement to do more based on points because I don’t usually think about my activity in that way.
— Participant 1

All participants appreciated the different components of the application and the ability to utilize it as they pleased. According the participants they would look at the watch application several times a day, typically first thing when they woke up, after they worked out and whenever they received a notification. Creating goals helped structure participants to understand their current baselines and improve their health-related behaviors.

In the experiment three of the four participants (P1, P2, P4) improved upon their sleeping scores from the initial 3 setup days. Three of the four participants (P1, P2, P3) improved their activity levels after the initial setup days. P1 and P2 focused on achieving both health scores, while P3 and P4 focused on activity and sleep respectively for health-related behavior improvements. P3 and P4 focus occurred due to the facilities open to them and their typical routine was disturbed.

I hadn’t been working out as usual because of work and facility limitations, but because of the app it motivated me to go to the get some activity in so that my team would earn points, even if I wasn’t in the mood to be active that moment.
— Participant 4

Overall participants felt positive about the application and felt it added to the current features existing in the market. Participants appreciated being apart of a team and felt that with some edits to the application details it would increase levels of motivation. Overall the Application rated a 6.375 out of 7 among participants for pleasant usage.


Final Documentation

A 73 page document describing: prior research inspirations, current market wearables, theoretical models to inform the prototype, followed by research discussing importance of social dynamics and team identity in technology. I ended the discussion with guidelines for future development and testing of the system.


AdvisorsGolan LevinEddy Man KimJames Antaki

Funding: Frank-Ratchye Fund for Art @ the Frontier

Timeline: Fall 2015, Carnegie Mellon University