Google designers detail the ongoing effort to revamp Fitbit app

Pixel Watch 2 with Fitbit app on OnePlus Open
(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google has overhauled the Fitbit app since it officially acquired the company in 2021, making it fit in line with Material You design language.
  • In an interview published to the Google Design website, the Fitbit UX team explained how it decided to adapt the Fitbit app to integrate it with Google platforms. 
  • The designers share the thought process behind the transition, which has spanned two years and is still ongoing. 

Google officially closed its deal to acquire Fitbit roughly three years ago, and it is still working to integrate Fitbit into its health portfolio and larger devices and services ecosystem. We can see the effects of this project in a few ways, like the Fitbit app redesign matching the Material You design language. However, we just got a rare look at the thought process behind Google's visual redo of the Fitbit app through an interview with the Fitbit UX team posted on the Google Design website.

While it's obvious that the new Fitbit app — which has been rolled out in parts starting last year — fits the Material You theme, designers had to start working on the project before it was finalized. They started work two years ago and leaned into the Light and Space art movement that originated in Google's home state of California in the late 1960s. 

"We knew there was momentum around the concept of 'form follows feeling,' we knew it was about personalization, and we knew it was all about you — that worked really well for celebrating the best of Google with Fitbit," said Mat Helme, a Fitbit product and brand design lead. 

This approach towards design is how we got the Fitbit app as it appears today, with light backgrounds, rich colors, and multiple pastel shades. We can see the effects of Google and Fitbit's design preferences still directing app updates, like the just-released Fitbit Sleep revamp

A Fitbit app image edited with a gradient background.

(Image credit: Android Central / Google)

"Having Fitbit lean into rounded forms and softer colors feels fairly unique, and the circular form factor is a big part of how we design for that uplifting and compassionate feeling," said Judy Zhao, who is a leader of the Fitbit visual motion and systems team. "We're able to do this because we're combining multiple worlds into one holistic health journey experience."

However, it's about more than just design. The designers at Fitbit also wanted to make health and fitness metrics available in a way that was easy to digest. 

"We're on a journey as a product team to become less about data collection and more about giving you insight and actionable information to take charge of your health journey," said Fitbit UX Design Lead Sarah Wilson. In practice, Wilson says that this entails using charts and text to explain all the fitness and health jargon that might not be naturally understood by everyone. Going a step further, Fitbit wants to make it easier for users to take recorded data and apply it to make the right fitness and lifestyle changes.

That leads us back to the Google Pixel Watch 2, which has the circular form factor to match Fitbit's rounded design preferences. It also includes the sensors required to provide the data Google wants to share in a simple way. So, it stands to reason that the Pixel Watch — and its circular form factor — is a big part of the Fitbit strategy moving forward. 

Brady Snyder

Brady is a tech journalist covering news at Android Central. He has spent the last two years reporting and commenting on all things related to consumer technology for various publications. Brady graduated from St. John's University in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. When he isn't experimenting with the latest tech, you can find Brady running or watching sports.

  • infinidim42
    It's a real pity that they don't either have a dark them or follow the system theme like nearly all the other Google apps do.
  • mech1164
    It's good that they're updating for for it to work better on pixel watch. I'm still not getting either cause of the terrible upsell of Fitbit premium on their flagship watch.

    The insult of letting you have all the functions but for a limited time is just anathema on your flagship product.

    This is why I'm still using my AW7 on my Xr. All the features work otb. No hard push and the rest extras are just that, extras. With PW no we'll time limit all of it. After that pay up, well that's a big nope.