With this in mind, generally my opinion of Fitbit's customer service is very very positive. I do quite like the company and while their API could be much better documented (I spent four hours over Christmas trying to figure out how to include their jar file hosted on Github from maven > >) - generally their documentation is pretty decent.
That said, when I looked up the instructions on how to calibrate my Fitbit, I came across an alarming inconsistency. My explanation of this was clear enough in the email I sent their customer support:
I'm a little bit confused about calibrating my stride length. The description given on this help page ( http://help.fitbit.com/customer/portal/articles/176045-how-do-i-measure-and-adjust-my-stride-length- ) is actually of what is traditionally called the step length.
Stride length would actually be double this - since stride measures the distance between consecutive steps by the same foot.
When setting the stride length in my Fitbit settings, am I supposed to use the stride length as discussed on that help page or should I use the correct and traditional definition of it - where I multiply the step length by 2.
For example, I took 210 steps to walk 160 metres. This means that, using Fitbit's definition of stride length, I have a stride length of 76 centimetres. However, the stride length for the average man is approximately 157 centimetres, and the step length for the average man is approximately 78 centimetres. My calculated stride length is actually closer to the average step length - which suggests Fitbit's explanation of stride length is incorrect - or that you actually mean step length.
I'd appreciate some clarification on this (and it would be helpful, if it is wrong, to update the help page).
I was certain they mean step length - this shouldn't be a difficult thing to change - it involves changing a handful of field labels and their help documentation. Justifiably I was dismayed to receive their response - which was essentially a copy of their help page (that I originally linked them to) sent back to me.
To clarify, the Fitbit definition of a stride is the distance you cover in a single step.
To reiterate the instructions on that page:
1. Go to a track or somewhere that you know the exact distance of.
2. Count your steps as you walk across that distance, making sure you travel at least 20 steps.
3. Divide the total distance (in feet) taken by the number of steps to get your stride length.
Your running stride can be calculated the same way, only by running a known distance rather than walking.
To adjust your stride length on your Dashboard, please do the following:
1. Log into your Fitbit.com Dashboard and click on the gear icon in the upper right corner of your Dashboard and select "Settings".
2. You will see a field for Stride Length and Running Stride Length. From here, you can manually enter your personal stride length. If you leave these blank, your profile will estimate these values based on your height and gender.
3. Click the "Update Profile" button to save your changes. Note that a sync will be required to update your tracker with your new stride measurements.
Let us know if this answers your question, or if we can provide further insight.
Matthew and the Fitbit Team
Now, I'm all up for supporting these startups as much as possible (and from my experience at Last.fm, it's absolutely amazing how supportive some users can be) but I don't have the time or effort required to continue to push this relatively minor change through. Hopefully this post will help anyone curious about Fitbit's use of 'stride length' in the future.