A revolutionary app to allow fitness enthusiasts to meet, interact and cheer each other on from the comfort of their own devices
To conduct extensive primary and secondary research, design and build a clickable prototype for an application that will allow people to search for and find workout partners specific to their location/gym/sport/etc.
People struggle to find fitness partners who go to the same gym, or play the same sports as them and have similar goals.
Apps such as Fit Flick and Bvddy (no that's not a typo, and no, no one actually knows how to pronounce the app name) have attempted something similar before to limited success. Both apps struggled to attain sizable user bases and often lost developer support leaving the apps to slowly collapse beneath their users.
“Nice concept, easy to navigate however needs more users in my area”
“Can’t login with fb, login/create acct. Gets cancelled.”
“Not many near me. Sot sure it will serve the purpose of trying to find a gym buddy to gym with”
“I love the premise behind this app and so therefore will not delete it out of the hope that the developers will fix it. At the moment I can not load anything, not even my profile. The app simply just does not work.”
“Neat Concept but…”
People found the idea of using an app reminiscent of tinder weird to match with non romantic partners (this will probably be the biggest hurdle of any app that’s similar)
Through conducting extensive secondary research, I learned much about the state of fitness, fitness technology, and people's preferences when it comes to working out solo vs. with partners/groups.
People who workout with someone they perceive to be better, increased their exercise time and intensity by 200%
Study mentions using similar matchmaking software for romantic relationships online to match people up based on their fitness goals. Using technology you could run with someone simply using a smartphone
Finding a new workout buddy increased the amount of exercise people did
People exercised more when they received emotional support rather than physical support
It’s more important to encourage each other than to actually do the workout together
80% of all fitness related new year’s resolutions fail by the second week
Finding a workout buddy can provide several benefits such as: Accountability, healthy competition, variety, companionship, buddy workout/group workout, personal trainer
It’s easier to reschedule a workout with yourself, not so easy to blow off a fitness buddy who’s counting on you to meet up
A study conducted between 2008-2010 by the CDC indicated that 46.1% of US Adults engaged in physical activity
The study also found that approximately 41 million Americans have gym memberships, though only 16 million go to the gym more than 100 days/year
MyProtein conducted a survey of 1,350 Americans between the ages of 18-65 and found that the average American adult spends $155/month on health and fitness, that’s an average of $112,000 in their lifetime
The global wellness market is estimated to be worth $3.4 trillion dollars
Following up the secondary research, I conducted potential user interviews, participants were drawn from those who elected to be contacted further for in depth discussions after completing my initial screener survey. I conducted four interviews including two with men and two with women in order to ensure data collected was balanced between genders.
“App like this would be useful for young women who belong to big gyms”
App needs to be explicitly for finding fitness partners, cannot be confused with a dating app
App needs to allow users to have options when setting up their profile including whether they like teaching others or not
People enjoy working out with others for the social and stress relief components
Empathy Maps & Personas
Data collected from the User Interviews was broken down and categorized based on gender. This data was then used to create a Persona and Empathy map for each gender of potential application user. Personas are vital to the design process as they encapsulate all pain points and goals of individual users and allow them all to be represented by an individual or as in this case, a couple of individuals who while sharing many similarities, differ enough as to require separate representation.
Moving from research into the design phase prompted me to outline the primary paths or Red Routes that users would inevitably take within the application. These routes must take users through all the necessary steps to achieve their goals through the application from Sign-up, through matching with other users, and onto starting conversations with their matches.
While these processes, especially Matching would go on to receive updates as feedback from user testing was received, this was the initial red route structure.
Sketching & Paper Prototype
Once the Red Routes were defined, I moved on to creating my first prototype of Fitness Family. While some designers prefer to begin designing with the basic outlines of Wireframes, I like to move straight into creating a Paper Prototype. While this process takes more time up front, it also allows me to receive more detailed feedback upon initial usability testing. I broke the prototype down into three sections to match that of the three outlined Red Routes.
Log-in/ Sign-up & Profile Creation
The main struggle faced in this section of the app was allowing users a way to input the frankly vast array of sport options available throughout the world without limiting their options. Some apps, such as Fit Flick, attempted the use of check boxes, but this always resulted in either an insanely long list of options or many options being left off the list.
My solution was to allow users to type in their sport option, from which the system would auto fill suggestions. The submit button would then allow the user to submit a sport option even if it was not listed within the app's available options.
Member to Member Chat
Sign-up / Profile Creation
User testing provided insight into many aspects of the sign-up and profile creation process.
Chief amongst these insights was the addition of social media sign-up options. In addition, users were frustrated at having to fill in their name on both the sign-up page as well as the profile creation page, so I decided to have the app autofill those boxes on the profile creation page.
Testing also revealed that instead of tapping the submit button to log their sport selections, users were more accustomed to tapping return/done on their keyboard. I also removed the downward arrow, as this confused users, leading them to believe they would open a drop down menu rather than a text input box.
The profile by which users view potential match options was heavily inspired by dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble. It was my hope that despite having similar designs, the name and branding of Fitness Family would prevent users from thinking of it as a dating app for fitness focused individuals.
Users expressed a dislike for the one profile at a time view of the initial design. Especially since the goal of Fitness Family differs from that of the dating apps it was based on, users didn't see any reason they should have to immediately decide once and for all whether to match with or skip on each profile. Allowing users to see multiple profiles and select which to view more information on was suggested by a few users as an alternative.
In addition, visual feedback as to whether the user wished to match with or skip on a profile was missing upon initial testing and thus added in the forms seen to the right.
Learnings & Next Steps
In hindsight it seems that while taking inspiration on a conceptual level from dating apps to create a fitness enthusiast matching application should have been where the mimicry ended.
It has come to my attention that while my user profiles contain all the necessary information for users to make informed decisions on who they would and wouldn't match with, the design could stand to be improved. Specific next steps would include but not be limited to highlighting shared activities between users, testing different layouts of the information overall within the profile, and improving the hierarchy of information through the use of both text size and color.
Unfortunately due to time constraints on this project, I was unable to fully explore my complete vision for Fitness Family. In continuing this project, as I hope to, I will focus the majority of my efforts on the creation of the app's Newsfeed feature. This feature will allow mutual matches to share their fitness exploits in a semi-public format and allow for more direct support. It is my hope that the addition of this feature will further encourage current users to continue using the application long term, as well as to entice new users to switch from other similar platforms such as Strava.
All rounds of User Testing culminated in this "final" interactive clickable prototype. While there were many aspects to the overall application design that I did not get a chance to fully research or design, this prototype serves as a functional minimum viable prototype. This is certainly a project I will be coming back to as free time permits as I believe strongly in its merit to society as a functional application and wish to do more work on fleshing out the idea so that others may see its value as well.