UbiFit is a mobile, persuasive technology (developed before the iPhone or Android were available) that encouraged people to self-monitor their physical activity and incorporate regular and varied activity into everyday life. It consisted of three main components:

  1. a glanceable display,

  2. an interactive smartphone application, and

  3. a fitness device.


The glanceable display used a stylized, aesthetic representation of physical activities and goal attainment (e.g., a garden) to keep the person focused on the act of self-monitoring and their commitment to fitness. It resided on the background screen of the person's mobile phone to provide a subtle but persistent and easily accessible reminder whenever and wherever their phone was used.


The interactive application, which also resided on the mobile phone, included detailed information about the person's physical activities and a journal in which activities could be added, edited, and deleted.


Finally, the fitness device (a separate device worn on the waistband above the hip, like a pedometer — this was before FitBit), automatically inferred and transmitted information about several types of activities — walking, running, cycling, use of the elliptical trainer, and use of the stair machine — to the glanceable display and interactive application.

UbiFit was evaluated with a survey involving respondents from 13 states across the U.S., followed by a 3-week field trial, and finally a 3-month field experiment that was conducted over the Winter 2007/8 holiday season. Among our key findings was that participants in the 3-month field experiment who had the glanceable display maintained their physical activity level over time and on holiday weeks, while the level of physical activity for participants who did not have the glanceable display dropped significantly.

UbiFit-related publications

UbiFit's Glanceable Display

The garden version of UbiFit's glanceable display bloomed on the wallpaper of the person's mobile phone as they performed physical activities.


Different types of flowers represented different types of activities--cardiovascular training, flexibility, strength, and walking. Butterflies indicated goal attainment.

S. Consolvo, F.R. Bentley, E.B. Hekler, S.S. Phatak, “Mobile User Research: A Practical Guide,” Synthesis Lectures on Mobile and Pervasive Computing, Morgan & Claypool Publishing, (2017).

S. Consolvo, P. Klasnja, D.W. McDonald, & J.A. Landay, “Designing for Healthy Lifestyles: Design Considerations for Mobile Technologies to Encourage Consumer Health and Wellness,” Foundations and Trends® in Human-Computer Interaction, 6(3-4), (2014), pp.167-315.

P. Klasnja, S. Consolvo, & W. Pratt, “How to Evaluate Technologies for Health Behavior Change in HCI Research,” Proceedings of the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems: CHI ‘11, Vancouver, BC, Canada, (2011), pp. 3063-72.


P. Klasnja, S. Consolvo, D.W. McDonald, J.A. Landay, & W. Pratt. “Using Mobile & Personal Sensing Technologies to Support Health Behavior Change in Everyday Life: Lessons Learned,” Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the American Medical Informatics Association: AMIA ‘09, (2009), pp. 338-42.

S. Consolvo, J.A. Landay, & D.W. McDonald. “Designing for Behavior Change in Everyday Life,” IEEE Computer, 42(6), (2009), pp. 86-9. [invited paper]

P. Klasnja, S. Consolvo, T. Choudhury, R. Beckwith, & J. Hightower. “Exploring Privacy Concerns about Personal Sensing,” The International Conference on Pervasive Computing: Pervasive ‘09, Nara, Japan, (2009), pp. 176-83.

S. Consolvo, P. Klasnja, D.W. McDonald, & J.A. Landay. “Goal-Setting Considerations for Persuasive Technologies that Encourage Physical Activity,” The International Conference on Persuasive Technology: Persuasive ‘09, (2009).

S. Consolvo, D.W. McDonald, & J.A. Landay. “Theory-Driven Design Strategies for Technologies that Support Behavior Change in Everyday Life,” Proceedings of the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems: CHI ‘09, (2009), pp. 405-14.

T. Choudhury, G. Borriello, S. Consolvo, D. Haehnel, B. Harrison, B. Hemingway, J. Hightower, P. Klasnja, K. Koscher, A. LaMarca, J.A. Landay & J. Lester. “The Mobile Sensing Platform: An Embedded System for Capturing and Recognizing Human Activities,” IEEE Pervasive Computing, 7(2), (2008), pp. 32-41.

S. Consolvo, P. Klasnja, D.W. McDonald, D. Avrahami, J. Froehlich, L. LeGrand, R. Libby, K. Mosher, & J.A. Landay. “Flowers or a Robot Army? Encouraging Awareness & Activity with Personal, Mobile Displays,” Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing: UbiComp ’08, Seoul, Korea, (2008), pp. 54-63. [10-Year Impact Award @ UbiComp 2018]

S. Consolvo, D. W. McDonald, T. Toscos, M. Chen, J.E. Froehlich, B. Harrison, P. Klasnja, A. LaMarca, L. LeGrand, R. Libby, I. Smith & J. A. Landay. “Activity Sensing in the Wild: A Field Trial of UbiFit Garden,” Proceedings of the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems: CHI ’08, Florence, Italy, (2008), pp.1797-806.

J. Froehlich, M.Y. Chen, S. Consolvo, B. Harrison, & J.A. Landay. "My Experience: A System for In Situ Tracing and Capturing of User Feedback on Mobile Phones," Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services: MobiSys '07, San Juan, Puerto Rico, USA, (2007), pp. 57-70.

S. Consolvo, E. Paulos, & I. Smith. “Perspective 10: Mobile Persuasion for Everyday Behavior Change,” In B.J. Fogg & D. Eckles (Eds.) Mobile Persuasion: 20 Perspectives on the Future of Behavior Change, Stanford, CA, USA: Stanford Captology Media, (2007). pp. 77-86.

© 2019 by Sunny Consolvo.