UXDI Project 1 Case Study

Designing a new product is never easy, and identifying a potential market is key to the success of any product. If no one wants it, why bother? Tasked with designing a prototype for a new mobile app, we set off looking for users, problems, and possible solutions.

Task: Design a mobile app around a fitness theme.

Tools: sketches, clickable prototype tools like Marvel

First I had to narrow down my user base. Interviewing classmates with broad, yes/no questions led to a variety of unrelated answers and a lack of solid information to extract frustrations from. So I adjusted my questions to appeal to emotional anecdotes and find a storyline within my users’ day to day routines. Questions like, “what frustrates you, tell me about your routine, what made you prioritize certain goals over others?”

Realization: My current fitness communities are dominated by weight lifters. Targeting them would lead to more consistent answers.

Equipped with a new round of interviews, I started looking for what problems lifters are facing in the gym. With strength training, it can be difficult to keep track of your progress and the sheer variety of exercises you can do.

Current apps that are commonly used for fitness and calorie tracking don’t often include lesser known exercises. Many lifters choose to just write in a notebook their daily routine.

Problem: Convenience of tracking weight lifting
1. Eliminate the need for extra supplies like notebooks at the gym
2. Include a comprehensive selection of lifts and their variations

Solution: Use voice commands to log lifts as you do them

The Process

The first step I thought to take was list out necessary screens and functions, and then considering how to streamline the process of logging exercise. Contrary to that desire, I also wanted this to become a one-stop-shop for weight lifters. These two goals were not totally compatible at that point in time, as I soon discovered. Add too many options for customization, and the user flow becomes clunky and difficult to use. Add extra features to enhance the workout experience, and the main purpose of the app becomes lost in a series of buttons and screens all competing for the user’s attention.

For example, my homepage went through almost a dozen different sketches, trying different layouts, adjusting page flow, etc. At one point I strayed too far into motivational app territory, trying to create a section congratulating the user on days logged in.

User Feedback: This extra information just made testers less sure of where to start, and didn’t really fit with the needs of a user who already has a consistent gym routine.

Final Homepage Design
Workout Screen w/ Voice Command
Add/Delete/Favorite exercises within a workout

Another struggle was trying to balance streamlining with options. At one point, I had a pretty complicated user flow for manual logging. As each potential version evolved trying to smooth the flow for voice command, the manual logging got lost in the process. The first prototype does not even have a way to manually track, even though from the start I wanted that to be an option. Once again, a bump resulting from trying to manage content with ease of use. Adding the manual feature back in might mean giving up something else, like a favorited workout option. Favorites are important, if the user just wants to select the one they are doing and change the numbers only. Unfortunately, our first prototype hadn’t quite hashed out the method for using favorites. You could save and edit them, but not really do anything with them.

First user flow detailing manual entry

One goal was to keep all screens just one or two away from the home page, so users don’t have to navigate too deeply to access what they need. I was fairly successful with that, with a button to reach home or the user profile on all screens.

The basic user flow, navigating the workout logging takes longest, with branches for the other menus

For the future versions a more in-depth on-boarding tutorial would be important to make sure users understood clearly the way the app would function. Fixing the manual entry, or even just eliminating the favorites option and having the app operate more like a notebook with detailed records could both improve functionality a lot and reduce confusion.

Experience the clickable prototype here!