Having 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.
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
After 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!
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.
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.
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.