Personal Record Case Study: User Research

Setting a new high bar for workout applications


I aimed to conduct thorough user research into the essential features required for a workout logging application. Making note of the many frustrations, motivations, research, and workout habits of as many people as possible through user interviews and survey responses.​


  • Survey writing
  • Survey analysis
  • User interviews
  • MVP diagram
  • Project presentation
  • Sketch

Survey Analysis:

Total Responses: 24
When asked over 75% of respondents said that they lift weights at the gym. (Free or Machine)
These 6 measurements are most commonly recorded by survey respondents 

Competitive Analysis:

Since I conducted research with the intent to design a new application rather than re-designing an existing app, I decided to compare general features of existing recording options to one another

User Interviews:

For research, I conducted 7 interviews with people whom I know workout in a gym on a fairly regular basis. One interviewee, in particular, is an extremely knowledgeable personal trainer whom I worked one on one with for over 6 months. 
Sample Questions Included:
  1. What features are a necessity for a workout application?
  2. Where would you utilize the application?
  3. Describe a time when you tried to find a new exercise to perform. 
  4. Describe a time when you wished you had a log of your exercise history. 
Due to the extraordinary amount of information collected, I did not construct a typical affinity map
Key Findings Include:
  • There are more than 30 separate features in all that users cited as necessary for a workout recording application.
  • Most users agreed that the application had to be as non-distracting as possible especially for use during a workout.
  • Most people currently use Google to search for new exercises but run into two major issues
    • Always finding the same basic results
    • Not being able to find instructional depictions of how to complete an exercise correctly
  • "My biggest problem is when people say something is an awesome workout, but there is no description of how to do it."
  • Nearly every interviewee asked could list at least one instance where they wished they had a log of their workout history. 
  • Speaking about completing a workout program, one interviewee told me: "At the end of the weeks I was like, crap, where did I start?"
  • "When I got back from abroad I gained the abroad bod, knowing what I had been doing before I left would have been helpful."

Feature Analysis & MVP Diagram

The complete list of the features deemed necessary by users for a comprehensive workout logging application along with an implementation difficulty scale provided by a web developer is listed below.

Features highlighted in green were the most commonly requested among the more than 30 listed

Next Steps:

  • Competitive analysis among the most popular workout applications based on the features deemed necessary by users in interviews
  • Observe people in the act of recording their workouts
  • Re-design the survey using the new list of requested features for larger sample size data analysis
  • Begin paper prototyping with the most commonly requested features