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Fitbit Flex Tapping Sequence Manual User Instuctions

Fitbit Flex WristbandHaving used the Fitbit Flex wristband sensor for over a month now, I've found that there are a few use behaviors I need to learn in order to continue my engagement/use of the device. The primary "user engagement behavior goal" is to become an expert at the taps and understand the vibrations.

The Fitbit Flex wristband interaction only shows a line of lights and gives you vibration feedback. Knowing the tapping sequences to get information from the tiny display and to turn on/off modes on the Fitbit Flex will reduce the need to go to the iPhone app for this information and to change Fitbit's modes; for instance using Fitbit taps to enter sleep mode and exit sleep "waking up" mode.
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The projected result will be the reduction in the activity and attention that the Fitbit device requires of me. Let's face it, we have a lot to do in our lives, so adding more clicks, touches, face-in-phone-trances, and attention diversions is not going to fly; for me anyway.

That said, the Fitbit Flex is going to require behavior use optimization if there is going to be long term continued use and personal activity/health data collection. That is, until Apple's iWatch comes to market. Rumor has it that the new iWatch will have features for personal health data collection, heath monitoring, and hopefully, equal-to or more-than what's on the market for wearable medical sensors currently.

I am writing this post from the perspective of my own needs and in the order that they naturally arise without first trying to hunt down what seems to be missing ... a Fitbit Flex Tapping Sequence User Manual

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Fitbit User Manual and Instructions for Modes with Taps

Steps Taps

First and most obvious: Double tap will show the percent daily achievement of your steps goal. Most people default to a 10,000 daily steps goal. When you double tap the Fitbit Flex wristband, you'll get some or all of five possible horizontal lights. Each light represents 20% of your steps goal. In my 10,000 daily steps goal, if I double tap and see two solid lights and one blinking, I can assume I am past 40%, close to 50%, or just under 5,000 steps. Solid lights = a full 20% and any following blinking light is a potion of the next 20%.

Taps to Enter/Exit, Turn On/Off Sleep Mode

Fitbit Silent AlarmAfter a month of use (and the motive for this write up) I found I was missing days of sleep logs. I would hit the sack and fall asleep when I was supposed navigate through the iPhone (or Android) app to enter sleep mode. Can you blame me? Additionally, I would wake up and begin my day without going to the iPhone app to tell it that I woke up.

Although you can go back and estimate your go-to sleep time and wake time via the Fitbit website, I feel doing that introduces too much inaccurate data. In particular it falsely increases your data regarding wake times and restless times. At the end of the day, for me anyway, the goal is to know, track, and then reduce nightly wake times and restlessness; in addition to the obvious of getting enough sleep. The Fitbit data has shown that I do get enough sleep. The next level of sleep optimization would be to get better sleep.

Needless to say, knowing the tap sequence to enter and exit sleep mode is going to be key!

Taps to enter/activate/turn ON sleep mode = continuous rapid tapping of your Fitbit Flex for two seconds will activate sleep mode. Try tapping your Fitbit Flex 5 times quickly. Do this when you get into bed, and you'll no longer need to open up the Fitbit app and go through the many screens to enter sleep mode.

Device Feedback = When you tap your Fitbit Flex for two seconds, it will vibrate and display two slowly dimming lights to indicate that you have entered sleep mode.

NOTE: When your Flex is in sleep mode, goal progress will not be displayed if you tap twice (remember that in wake mode, tapping twice will tell you you steps achievement for the day). Instead, your Flex will alternate two blinking lights back-and-forth to indicate that you are currently in sleep mode. Remember that when you see those two alternating lights at each end, you're in sleep mode; whether you like it or not.
NOTE: Be careful with activities that simulate entering sleep mode. I was hanging a picture and the rapid hammering of the nail told my Fitbit Flex that I was going to sleep. If you get a quick vibrate during a time of non-sleep "activity", quickly tap your Fitbit Flex five times and it will go back OUT of sleep mode.

Taps to exit/deactivate/turn OFF sleep mode = continuous rapid tapping of your Fitbit for two seconds will deactivate/exit sleep mode. Do this when you wake up and you'll no longer need to open up the Fitbit app to tell it you're awake.


Device Feedback = Upon exiting sleep mode, your Flex will vibrate and flash all five LED indicator lights three times and then display a spinning light pattern.

NOTE: You'll need to sync via bluetooth to your phone or the website to see your most recent sleep stats.

Taps Related To Fitbit Flex's Silent Alarm

One of my favorite features on the Fitbit Flex is the silent alarm. This feature is so cool! You can set up to eight different silent alarms and when it's time to wake up, the Fitbit Flex wristband vibrates. It has built in snooze too. It will automatically vibrate again after 9 minutes; and again after another 9 minutes. A total of 3 vibration/notifications unless you dismiss the alarm.

NOTE: You can set a silent alarm to reoccur on any/all days you choose. Also, you don't have to set the silent/vibration alarm for sleep alone. For example, if you want to be reminded of a daily task on Tuesday at noon, simply set your Fitbit Flex silent alarm to vibrate every Tuesday at noon. You get the idea!

In the olden days you had to have an annoying audible alarm clock. Yes, one that also woke up your partner when they didn't need to wake up. More recently you could throw away your alarm clock and use your iPhone's alarm(s). But those were still annoying with their phone ring tones or repetitively playing some song in your iTunes library (which can quickly turn a song you like into a song you hate).

With the Fitbit Flex wrist vibrating alarm, my wife no longer gets awoken prematurely every morning with my audible alarm(s). Now she wakes up naturally and has no idea when I escaped our night of slumber.

With all the greatness of the silent alarm, there are optimization opportunities regarding the wrist vibrations.
First, the vibration sequences seem to be telling me something, but I don't know what it is. They seem to be different sequences for each time the alarm/vibration goes off. I am concluding, for now, that those vibration sequences are the same and have no meaning other than attention getting.

Second, it is annoying when the the additional snooze alarms go off after you're already awake and engaging with your day. The vibrating may be one of the top contributors to shorter battery life, so reducing the vibration activations is in my interest.
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Taps To Disable The Silent Alarm = You can dismiss the alarm by tapping the window of your Fitbit Flex twice. You’ll know your alarm has been dismissed when one light in the middle of your Fitbit Flex’s display appears, then slowly fades away. If you miss your alarm, your Flex will alert you again after 9 minutes.

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More to come ...

Keep Up With This Page: Link to this page to come back for more updates to this article. Here is the link if you'd like to copy and past it to your blog or social network for later reference:
TIP: Silent Alarm does not work, sometimes Finding: It seems as if your Fitbit Flex's battery is getting low, the silent alarm will stop working. This is important to know if you are traveling or rely in the Fitbit Flex to wake you daily. It seems as if a battery that is approaching the end of its so called 5 (five) day battery life, somewhere into the fourth or fifth day you may find that the silent alarm doesn't go off or "vibrate" you to wakefulness. Therefore, keep it charged so you don't miss that big meeting or begin a trend of being late for work every four or five days ;)

Hot Tub Time Machine

I wish there was a way to tell time on the Fitbit Flex, but it is not a time machine. Nor should it be worn in a hot tub. I know from experience. It drained the battery and has not worked the same since. I've also reduced my wearing the Fitbit Flex in the shower and the pool. Instructions on the Fitbit website says it is okay to wear in water, but it is just getting in the way and it seems to have degraded the wristband's adhesive connection between the rubber wristband and the light window. Plus, I am suspicious that it is tracking my shower routine as steps ....

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