Samsung had incredible success in the smartphone market, but most of it’s success was thanks to great hardware at reasonable prices. While this simple equation worked for a while, other hardware makers quickly encroached on their turf, causing Samsung to turn to higher quality software as a potential differentiator. We helped Samsung bring new life to their S Health application, turning it from a complex and generally ignored app, into the simplest way for Galaxy owners to become more aware of their level of fitness. And because it’s built in, it immediately had millions of users.
A Large Untapped Audience
The fitness and wearables market around this time was still a largely untapped market. While companies like Fitbit had reasonable success, their target market was already partially committed to tracking their fitness. This was a market willing to shell out $100 for a small band dedicated to doing so.
With a built in fitness tracking application, we had the opportunity to introduce millions of people to fitness tracking who might otherwise never invest in a dedicated piece of hardware.
Samsung has an unfair advance of being able to pre-install a fitness app onto their devices purchased my millions of people. And being completely free, a high percentage of Galaxy owners are likely to open a pre-installed app at least once. We needed to make S Health a simple way to gain immediate health and fitness insight, but also the most obvious platform to stick with long term. The software would act as a differentiator on Android and the platform would need to support all of Samsung’s health tracking hardware going forward.
Perspective & Context
We focused our efforts on a small handful of concepts that we believed were approachable by a large audience: an audience with at least some open interest in Fitness tracking. This group, while interested in taking control of their health, was often overwhelmed by the wealth of tracking tools available on previous versions of S Health. Samsung’s health tracking hardware has dozens of sensors and potential vectors to track. It’s software had reflected this large number of trackable data points as well, without any restraint.
With this new version of the platform, we wanted to narrow the focus of S Health, and give users more context. By giving users an easy to understand and high level fitness goal, and adapting to the individual’s level of activity, we provided the context necessary to focus the experience on the only the small handful of data points that are actually meaningful.
Importantly, we created a platform and experience that would grow with the user as they came to be more passionate about their health and fitness lifestyle.
The new S Health starts new users off simply, by giving them a very high level goal to ‘Be More Active.’ This starting goal looks at basic behavior like steps and exercise. Tracking other activities such as calorie consumption, or heart rate are available, but completely optional.
Goals have a limited number of activity trackers associated with them, but the activity library allows users to track anything they want.
As users become more passionate about their fitness, they can choose to apply themselves to special programs and more targeted goals. Some of these are built in and available in S Health. Others may be added and made available for download over time.
S Health Grows With You
S Health 4.5 was designed to let people use as little or as much of it’s capabilities as they desire. Goals can be committed to at the their leisure, and the UI adapts automatically to the person. More active people may get into complex programs or activities, but it’s designed to let even novices find modest benefits from even very little effort.
Additionally, it will be the platform upon which all other Samsung health related devices (or 3rd party devices) will feed into.