Why score algorithm flexibility matters when using a wearable activity tracker

The score algorithm you use, when using a wearable activity tracker like a Fitbit or Nike+ is really important, particularly within a group setting such as a workplace or a club.
In these group environments, it might not be enough to take the “out of the box” scorecard provided by the product vendor themselves.  These score algorithms and leaderboards tend to be fairly one dimensional – i.e. “who walked the furthest today?”.
As well as getting boring over time (like playing the same game day in day out) they can also be misaligned with the goals of the group.
For example, if your objective is to simply “walk far” then the out-of-the-box scorecard will work for you. However, if your objective is something different, to “stay fit”, “walk consistently” or “make friends” then it is less relevant.
For different goals you may need to design a different scorecard – for example in a family setting – a father might aim might be to walk 5,000 steps a day while his son might aim for 15,000. Yet they both want to compare with each other as if equals. If the scorecard were based on whether you hit your own goal – i.e. percentage achieved then both father and son can enjoy comparing themselves in a sensible way.
It’s up to group leaders to develop appropriate scorecards for the shared objectives of their group.  Indeed, what is an appropriate scorecard may evolve over time so having flexibility over both the score algorithm and the leaderboard is a key feature to look out for in any solution.

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