Dan Ostrowski

Fitness Tracker

Microsoft Band 2

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Product Overview

The Band 2 is the evolution of Microsoft's fitness wearable that allows users to reach their health and fitness goals on their wrist.

I led a design team that was responsible for every interaction and every pixel of the Microsoft Band. We crafted compelling narratives that sought to solve real customer problems and then delivered these pitches in formats that ranged from from concept video to the real product. For our engineering teams, we provided fully functioning prototypes, redlines and elbow to elbow implementation guidance. For our project management team, we partnered in feature prioritization, bug bashes, and writing functional specifications. For our mechanical design teams, we drove physical interaction requirements and specifications. For our customers, we designed intuitive experiences, tested our product extensively with real people, and pushed the team to focus, prioritize, and build better experiences.

Role: Senior Design Lead



Refactoring the Band

With Band 2, we strove to improve the ergonomics, sensor capabilities, and general interactions. We moved to a curved OLED display, redesigned the battery location, and slightly improved the internal capabilities. These adjustments, like changing the screen’s dimensions, forced the firmware development team to refactor their work and gave my team the freedom to think ahead. Below are some information architecture concepts I developed during this period.


Featured Experience - Golf


During the spring of 2015, we developed a golf experience in partnership with TaylorMade. Working with our algorithm team and machine learning teams, we were able to develop a golf experience that tracks your shots, gives you distance to the green, knows where you are on the course, and monitors your biometrics during play for later correlation.

During the development of the golf experience we built two key controls that would change our system:

  • The left and right pull controls were introduced to allow users to quickly add and/or remove a shot. These controls were later implemented in our music experience.
  • The extended full bleed pause menu was based on our notification layout and allowed for an increase of options during an activity. This design was later implemented in all activities. 

Final Product

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"The Band 2 is one of the most successful fitness wearables ever made. It strikes a unique halfway position on the spectrum between fitness band and smartwatch."
David Pogue's review of the Band 2

Activity UX

The activity experience was improved by increasing the readout font sizes, moving the secondary metrics to a drawer on the right, allowing for temporal progress to be shown above (e.g. the mile progress bar in run), quick battery and time readouts, improved "paused" states and a more refined haptic language. Sensor improvements allowed us to implement desired "smart" features like auto-pause in run, auto-sleep detection, and better shot detection in golf.


Communication UX

The communication capabilities of Band 2 were increased both in the connectedness to the phone and their physical interaction. I pushed to remove the unnecessary borders of the soft buttons and grow them to full bleed. I also pushed to re-configure the button layouts to better take advantage of the Band's horizontal screen design and allow for a more seamless, often blind, interaction.


 biometrics and system UX

Small delightful improvements we made to the biometric feedback experiences. Goals are now celebrated with small animations, the MeTile's progress bars are full bleed and animate up, inactivity and UV exposure are now monitored, etc.


Key Learnings

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Craft the Micro-Experience 

Knowing how and when to "nudge" your users is key. People bought the Band to potentially change their lives for the better, however nobody wants to be annoyed by a product. Choose the experiences you'd like to promote wisely and then craft them for quick delightful moments.

Using what we learned from BJ Fogg, we worked hard to nail the haptic alert language, the timing, screen transition, and the celebratory animations of the goal notifications to nudge our users to achieving a little more each day.

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Push hard for the delightful moments

Often left on the cutting room floor, the small delightful moments are the subtle animations and visual cues that help users navigate and enjoy your product. My favorite delightful moment on the Band is the growth of the progress bar in the Run experience and the split marker notification that appears when a mile/km is reached.

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Place Visuals in Situ

Having your team test their concepts on the Band's screen is the only way to know if they are optimised to work. Get them out of their computers and onto their wrists as soon as possible.


Related Work