Earlier this week Garmin announced the beginnings of a revamp of the Garmin Connect Mobile app – something that many people have been eager for…for many many years.
As part of this revamp, they’ve also opened it up to public beta, so you can poke at it yourself, and provide feedback on what still needs some love. While Garmin started that public beta access part on January 8th, there isn’t the option to manually join it, rather, Garmin is slowly rolling out access to join the beta, and like roll-outs of new firmware, they’ll expand the ability to join it each day.
Thus, I figured I’d give a walk-through of what things look like today, until your toggle gets lit up. Of course, the video above does that as well, with a bit more details/thoughts/suggestions along the way.
Speaking of which, in case you somehow dismiss the beta invite in the app, the Beta App toggle is otherwise in the app under: More > Settings > Beta Program > On/Off (you can leave/join as much as you want, once your account has been activated).
Now, once joined, you’ll get a Quick Start guide, that asks you about the areas you want the Garmin Connect app to surface/focus on the most. The first page is general areas, and then the second page is a longer list of priorities that you assign a 1-5 score. After that, you’re done:
From there, you’ll see the new revamped home page. This home page is roughly divided up into four sections:
1) Latest Activity/Planned Workouts: Pretty self-explanatory
2) In Focus: A set of five swappable tiles each focused on a different training/health related thing
3) At a Glance: A bunch of tiles of various training/activity/health stats
4) Events/Training Plans/Challenges: A place to check-in on scheduled things you’ve joined
There’s also a secondary piece of sorta non-configurable information that lies between The ‘In Focus’ and ‘At a Glance’ tabs, that you’ll see in a second.
First up though is the ‘Today’s Activity’ panel. That shows any completed workouts from today, as well as any scheduled workouts (such as those from a 3rd party training platform like TrainingPeaks or TrainerRoad, as well as Garmin’s own internal coaching systems). Tapping on these simply takes you to the existing activity screen (if it’s a completed workout), or details about the planned workout. You’ll notice that virtually all of the changes here in the app revamp are on the ‘Home’/Dashboard page, and not other areas of the app that have additional details. Some pages, like this activity page, saw some minor UI changes this past fall already.
Next, below that is the ‘In Focus’ panels. These are a series of up to five customizable panels (you choose what you want), that you can swipe left/right through. Each of these panels has a focus area, and if you tap them, you’ll get brought to a more detailed section of the app (identical to before).
You can customize which panels are selected via the settings, again, up to five of these:
Below that, we’ve got the no-mans land metric, which in my case is Sleep Coach. This is likely because for one of my focus areas, I selected sleep. And, Garmin decided it was going to put the single feature I find least useful in that spot (Sleep Coach). There doesn’t appear to be a way to change this directly, though indirectly I could change my focus areas. I’d like to see this be more changeable directly, and also not necessarily be a duplicate of what’s above/below.
In any case, below that we’ve got the ‘At a Glance’ metrics, which are small cards showing you various data metrics. You can have up to 8 of these on the homepage, but it’ll show the rest on a secondary page.
If you tap on any of these cards, it’ll bring you to the previously existing data page/report on that particular item. Again, the secondary pages it links to haven’t changed at all (more on that in a second).
After that, you’ve got the Training Plans, Challenges, and Events section. This is where you can toggle none, some, or all three of these, and if you’ve got these configured in your Garmin Connect account, it’ll show data about what’s upcoming. In my case, I quickly threw a half-marathon plan on there, just to illustrate this:
Finally, Garmin has also revamped Garmin Connect (desktop/website) to match all of this, which includes the home page specifically. Also, it’ll automatically sync changes of your ‘design’ from Garmin Connect Mobile, to Garmin Connect website, which is a nice touch:
So, what are my initial thoughts?
It’s important to note that Garmin says the focus area for now is on that ‘Home’/Dashboard view – not on the rest of the Garmin Connect app. In other words, it’s on the thing that people see first and foremost, and see every time they open the app. That’s concurrently the piece that it seems most people complain about. The general consensus being many find the Garmin Connect Mobile app cluttered and full of confusion, especially if they’re new to the platform.
Thus, this revamp is clearly aimed at that criticism, and trying to make it simpler and more clear on your home page, as well as offering what are effectively quick-links to a deeper look at those particular data bits (e.g., Training Status or Stress). Meaning previously, to access some of that data, you had to fumble around more places, or the whole thing was simply overwhelming on the dashboard.
Garmin is not however on this go-around, addressing the rest of the Garmin Connect App. And honestly, I think that actually makes sense. One of Garmin’s advantages (if you can get out of the Home Screen), is that they’ve got FAAAR more data than any other sports-focused watch out there. Only Apple’s ‘Health’ app/database rivals it, but much of that data is more focused on Health/Medical/etc stats than the performance/training/recovery stats that Garmin has. Two different things obviously.
But the point there being that I rarely hear people being upset at Garmin’s depth of data, rather, the organization and accessibility of it. This seems to address that initial accessibility/organization side well. I’d just hope if they continue beyond the home page, they don’t dumb things down, or otherwise limit access. Many times when companies do user interface revamps, it’s at the cost of useful data. Even Garmin themselves if we look at the ‘Training Status’ panel on the updated home page, got rid of the actual training load #, some that’s kinda-sorta the most important number (instead going with more generic terms). Of course, hopefully with beta program, people will provide feedback that Garmin can act upon.
And finally again, Garmin hasn’t provided a timeline for when exactly this will hit product for everyone, nor when everyone can toggle it on/off in beta. But at least initially, this is a good start.
Thanks for reading!
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