Skipping a Beat: Inclusion in Sports Technology, The Case of Heart Rate Monitoring

Daniel Harrison*, Faye Green

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Inclusivity and access challenges in sports are widespread, particularly in cycling, which can result in excluding those outside of the narrow view of a “typical cyclist”. Unfortunately, these challenges appear to be equally common in the design of sports technologies, but despite this, there has been relatively little examination of inclusivity in sports from an HCI perspective. Partly inspired by a major manufacturer’s early- 2024 announcement of a new “women’s” heart-rate monitor, this paper looks towards chest-worn heart rate monitors, common in sports tracking, as a narrative case study to explore inclusivity in CyclingHCI. Despite their ubiquity and relative affordability, traditional chest straps often fail to cater to diverse bodies, resulting in issues around fit, comfort and accuracy for many women and other groups. Online commentary highlights many women, trans, non-binary and cyclists of size reporting problems from discomfort, to inaccurate readings that impact training, which can further contribute to feelings of exclusion and barriers to cycling. We argue that non-inclusive design can negatively impact general engagement, so drawing on our research and experience of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), we highlight the importance of considering inclusivity from the outset when designing sports technology. Ultimately, the case of chest-worn heart rate monitors demonstrates the real-world impact of inclusivity not being prioritised, presenting an opportunity to envision a more inclusive future for sports technology.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 19 Jan 2024
EventCyclingHCI: A CHI 2024 Workshop - Hawaii, Honolulu, United States
Duration: 12 May 2024 → …


WorkshopCyclingHCI: A CHI 2024 Workshop
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Period12/05/24 → …
Internet address

Cite this