Simple Science Fitness

Project 4


  • Time: Two weeks
  • Opportunity: activate the core lesson of the Simple Science Fitness website to help people become healthier through exercise
  • Focus: Contextual Inquiry, User Research Interviews, Competitive Analysis, Comparative Analysis, HIG, Wearables, Platform Limitations
  • My role: UX Designer
  • My amazing partners: Caleb Kenney and Raj Rao

Initial Problem Statement

Initial Problem Statement Users want to save money and time by exercising without a trainer, but struggle to identify a plan that is right for them and stick to it. How might we offer users the guided instruction and motivation of a personal trainer, without the high cost and hassle of fixed appointments?

Target market/Users

We have identified three possible categories of target users: (1) people with wearables who do circuit/interval workouts, (2) people without wearables who do circuit/interval workouts, and (3) people with wearables who do not do circuit/interval workout. Everyone has a desire to workout if they do not already.


We believe there is latent demand for a native iPhone app that offers succinct, detailed and personalized fitness guides, which are translated to an Apple Watch via guided workouts. In the fitness app segment, there is an abundance of instructional fitness guides or vital metrics before and after a workout session, but the current options on the market are disjointed. This dearth of complete ecosystems for fitness education and instruction could explain the poor user retention rates for wearables and gym memberships (most users discontinue within 5 months).

SS Fitness currently offers extensive training information and workout plans for a variety of fitness levels/goals, information which can be tailored to a specific user’s needs through the profile creation process. Simple Science Fitness has a steady active user floor but could activate dormant users and engage new users through launching a native iOS app. With the emergence of circuit training and high intensity interval training (HIIT), there is demand for instruction in this new field for both fitness newcomers and newcomers to circuits or intervals. SS Fitness app would offer users an alternative to Barry’s Bootcamp and Orange Theory that is budget and time friendly. The

SSFitness app would take the place of a traditional personal trainer by offering motivation through guided workouts and fundamental movement instruction. Workout sessions with SS Fitness would be free, work with any schedule and be appropriate for home and commercial gyms. By adding this new feature, SS Fitness could attract new users and bring dormant users back into the fold and would be a boon to the Amazon affiliate link sales which currently fund site operations.


Joachim Lapiak, a web designer and fitness enthusiast with over a decade of experience as a fitness/nutrition expert made the website in 2013. Created the website to offer his expertise to a wide range of users with different fitness needs in one place. He is based in Alberta, Canada.


Competitive Analysis Matrix

Simple Science Fitness has a potential advantage in terms of its low cost and there is room for growth in shortening the usage time.

Competitive Analysis: Wearables Key Findings

  • Wearables rely on heart rate reporting to show users their metrics.
  • Some wearables have screen displays with pertinent workout information, while others lack displays.
  • Wearables are fitness centric.

Competitive Analysis: Mobile App Key Findings

  • The Nike + Training Club and Strava apps allow users to start workouts via the Apple Watch.
  • Instructional audio allows for less text and cleaner screens in the Official 7 Minute Workout.

Comparative Analysis: Mobile App Key Findings

Color is crucial in IA and indicating action elements

Comparative Analysis: Wearable Apps Key Findings

  • Wearable Apps rely on the phone to store history and valuable information.
  • Wearable Apps are an extension of the mobile app, and do not act as standalone apps

Competitor User Flow: 7 Minute Workout

  • The app solely focuses on having the user run a workout

Competitor User Flow: Fitstar

  • Has the user go through a Fit Test to determine the best plan for the user

Competitor User Flow: Nike + Training

  • Has too many ways to find a workout and overall, too many features

Market Research

Gym Trends

  • Mobile workout applications have Increased by 168%
  • Online training Services Have Increased by 163%
  • New Year’s Resolutions — “4 percent of new gym goers don’t even make it past the end of January and 14 percent drop out in February”
  • Men and women join in similar rates but women are 6% more likely to discontinue gym use than men (in the first membership year)
  • Only around half of gym members go regularly, this effect is so consistent that commercial gyms expect only 18% of users to use the gym regularly
  • 46% of members cite price as their biggest factor for dropping gym memberships
  • The more a user pays for gym, the more likely they are to go
  • Gym goers spend an average of $500 a year on gyms, according the fitness market is valued at $27 billion in the US
  • The average gym goer is around 40 years old
  • Members who go to the gym most often are wealthier and make an average of $75,000 a year
  • Location, location, location — half of members surveyed indicated location is the most important factor when choosing a gym
  • Around 44% of gym users like to workout with another person
  • While the number of personal trainers is expected to grow 13% in the next decade, only 12.5% of members use trainers
  • More than 2/5 health clubs offer group workouts
  • 30% of gym goers go purely for social reasons
  • “‘Right now there is no competition. Peloton is the only game in town. But because it is so good, because it is so coveted, because the consumers love it, we expect competition to come from all angles,’ Foley said. Foley started as an engineer for Mars in 1990 and later held positions as the CEO of, co-founder and CEO of and President of He said he was inspired to create Peloton after he and his wife became addicted to instructor led group fitness classes. However, with kids and a busy career, time to go to those classes became limited. Instead, he and his team built a technology enabled platform that allowed users to consume the content on their own schedule and location. The key to its business model is that Peloton does not make a lot of money on the bikes that it sells. Instead, the company makes its money from the $39 a month subscription fee. ‘We are not going to be a stationary bike company. We are going to be a disruptive company,’ Foley said.”

Wearable Trends

  • Line between “health” and “fitness” wearables is blurring (in order to help wearables become a necessity)
  • As prices for materials drops, even basic fitness focused wearables are adding notification or tracking functionality without sacrificing looks
  • Wearables are trending toward traditional smartwatches with fitness capabilities and fitness trackers with smartphone capabilities
  • Smartwatch sales are expected to slow to less than 10% growth per annum by 2020, with the most precipitous drop being in multifunctional devices
  • With the need for more data to power apps’ features and technological miniaturization, smartwatch producers are offering a wider range of metrics
  • Users are fatigued with metric data they cannot process and this prompts discontinuation of use.
  • “Wearable devices can help make the process of habit formation more effective and efficient than ever before. The best engagement strategies for wearables will move beyond presenting data (steps, calories, stairs) and directly address the elements of the habit loop (cue, behavior, reward) and trigger the sequences that lead to the establishment of new, positive habits.”(Sources: Juniper Research, Tech Republic)
  • Just 2.5% of US smartphone users said they used wearable fitness and activity trackers while exercising. However, usage was relatively low for all devices except smartphones (57.7% of respondents) (June 2014)
  • “Nearly two-thirds of fitness band owners in the US belonged to households on the lower end of the income range, possibly because fitness bands could be cheaper than gym memberships in the long run.”

Fitness App Trends

  • 1,000 US internet users who used or planned to use mobile health and fitness apps and found that 70% of respondents accessed or planned to access these apps at least daily. Nearly two-thirds of respondents intended to use such apps more frequently over the next five years.
  • Goal tracking was the №1 reason for accessing mobile health and fitness apps, cited by three in 10 internet users who used or planned to use them. Being aware of health issues and motivation were also primary usage drivers.
  • High interest in wearable health and fitness devices: 81% of US internet users said they would use one. Tracking fitness was the top reason, cited by 48%. Keeping up with personal health issues landed in second place, while tracking diet and nutrition ranked third.
  • “SoulCycle could go digital with at-home classes. “We believe a clear opportunity exists to expand our digital platform with content created or curated by our world-renowned instructor talent. Additionally, we believe there is also an opportunity to expand SoulCycle class content to an ‘at-home’ audience. We intend to explore these brand extension opportunities going forward.”

Key Takeaways

  • Wearables are trending toward traditional smartwatches with fitness capabilities and fitness trackers with smartphone capabilities
  • “Wearable devices can help make the process of habit formation more effective and efficient than ever before. The best engagement strategies for wearables will move beyond presenting data (steps, calories, stairs) and directly address the elements of the habit loop (cue, behavior, reward) and trigger the sequences that lead to the establishment of new, positive habits.” (Sources: Juniper Research, Tech Republic)

Technical Background Research

Technical Limitations

The native iOS mobile app is the most appropriate platform for this fitness app. Users will be able to access their workouts and content while they are offline. User’s personal plans within their accounts will be easily accessible as they will be able to stay logged into the app. Per the native mobile app design patterns, designing for iOS first will be more profitable than designing for Material Design first.

If the user has an Apple Watch, they will be able to begin and run a workout with timed instructions and visuals. This workout will be reported back to the mobile app and stored. The workout that is available that day is tethered to the workout plan for that specific day. A limitation of the Apple Watch is that the user cannot change to a workout scheduled for a different day, nor can they refer to their workout calendar.

A benefit to having the Apple Watch app, is that the hardware measures the users heart rate.

The native iOS mobile app platform and the Apple Watch platform are limited in tracking exactly what the user has done whether it is lifting weights for a certain number of reps or how much weight was lifted. The app relies on the user entering the information.


At this time, no information is needed to be accessed through APIs. The only non-app interaction occurs when the Apple Watch reports a completed workout to the app. In the future, playing music as a feature, would require access to music apps such as Apple Music and Spotify. Accessing the calendar and alerting the user when a scheduling conflict may arise can be explored.

Third Party Services

Functionality can be improved in providing additional Wearable support via the Fitbit, Garmin, etc. Functionality can also be improved in working with Tabata to add interval/circuit training support.

Design Standards

iOS HIG guidelines were followed as best as possible. Due to the brand using just Roboto font, iOS HIG guidelines were adapted as best as possible.

User research process and takeaways

Contextual Inquiry

New York Sports Club: 2/27/17–3/2/17

  • 4 days total contextual observation (night sessions)
  • Observed cardio area, class room setting and free weight area
  • Most gym goers used their smartphones while waiting for machines and in between sets (headphones in).
  • Some appeared to be reading workout plan or watching workout videos, trainers and their clients used clipboards to track sets.
  • Trainers led clients on circuits (weight & aerobics)
  • Observed use of wearables in spin class setting
  • Observed users doing circuit training, traditional weight training, regular cardio and intervals
  • Age range: 25–60

Orange Theory Fitness: 3/1/17

  • Focused on strength
  • Wore heart rate monitor around torso
  • Everyone’s heart rates were visible on monitors around the room
  • Five color zones
  • Grey, Blue, Green, Orange, Red
  • Goal is to spend 12% in orange zone — to burn 20% more calories after you workout
  • 16 people in the class, all women
  • Instructor split us into two groups
  • Instructor
  • Was really confusing to hear what group the instructor was talking to as we were doing different things
  • Could not understand the reps (squats, weights)
  • She was saying positive/encouraging things to everyone
  • The weirdest past was looking at myself in the mirror
  • She was not able to really help anyone
  • She did try to help me with the reps but I had no idea what I was doing
  • Room
  • 20 treadmills, 3 bikes, 10 weight stations, 20 rowing machines
  • Orange lights
  • Loud music
  • Intense workout
  • First group started on rowing machines/reps for first 30 minutes
  • 200 meters on rowing machines
  • 4 reps of 8/20 with weights: squats, lifting
  • 200 meters
  • 4 reps of 8/20 with weights: squats, lifting
  • Last thirty minutes on the treadmill for last 30 minutes
  • Few minutes at your pace
  • 1 minute at 5% incline and above your limit
  • 1 minute of normal
  • 90 seconds at 5% include and above your limit
  • 1 minute of normal
  • 2 minutes at 5% incline and above your limit
  • 2 minutes of normal
  • 1 minute at 6% incline and above your limit
  • 1 minute of normal
  • 90 seconds at 6% include and above your limit
  • 1 minute of normal
  • 2 minutes at 6% incline and above your limit
  • 2 minutes of normal
  • 1 minute at 7% incline and above your limit
  • 1 minute of normal
  • 90 seconds at 7% include and above your limit
  • 1 minute of normal
  • 2 minutes at 7% incline and above your limit
  • 30 seconds of maxing out
  • Monitors all over: displaying what zone everyone was in

Dodge YMCA: 2/28/17

  • 2/4 people were looking at their phones in weight area
  • Swimmer with paper workout in a sleeve
  • Kept referring to it
  • Spoke with Lois
  • Follows a workout in his head
  • Different workouts — combination of freestyle, butterfly
  • Alternates strokes
  • Aims for 2,000 yards
  • Uses digital watch
  • Spoke with Ilana
  • Swims for 1 mile everyday
  • Freestyle the whole time
  • Gets frustrated by swimmers doing different strokes, sometimes faster, sometimes slower

Key Takeaways

There are two types of workouts:

  1. Continuous: more about long distance or set time
  2. Instructional: stop and go, reps, yoga

We confirmed our market research that people do look at their phones while at the gym.


To further understand what we wanted to develop, we created a survey to find our target audience, so that we could learn about their pain points and needs to then predict their behavior and meet their needs.

We asked the following questions:

What gender do you identify with?

  • Male
  • Female
  • Prefer not to say
  • Other:

What age range do you fall under?

  • 18–24
  • 25–29
  • 30–34
  • 35–44
  • 45+

How would you describe your fitness level?

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Expert
  • Professional

How often do you exercise in a week?

  • 0
  • 1–2
  • 3–5
  • 6–10
  • 11–14

In what ways do you exercise? (Select all that apply)

  • Running
  • Weight lifting
  • Sports
  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Yoga
  • Workout Classes
  • Other:

Do you do some form of interval training (swimming, running, cycling, etc)?

  • Yes
  • No

Do you do some form of circuit training (weight or aerobic)?

  • Yes
  • No

Do you use a workout plan?

  • Yes
  • No, but I would like to
  • No, but I am not interested

How do you find workout guides or information?

  • Searching online
  • Friends or family
  • Media (newspaper, magazines, etc.)
  • Books
  • Word of mouth
  • Apps
  • I don’t and I’m not interested
  • I don’t because it is too hard to find the information

How often do you adopt a new workout plan?

  • Weekly
  • Monthly
  • Yearly
  • Never

Do you use a phone specifically for working out?

  • Yes
  • No
  • No but I’ve considered it
  • Other:

Do you use a wearable (Apple Watch, FitBit, etc.) specifically for working out?

  • Yes
  • No
  • No, but I’ve considered buying one for that purpose

If you use a phone or wearable workout app, how often do you use it when working out?

  • 10% of time
  • 25% of time
  • 50% of time
  • 100 % of time
  • Other:

Which of the following statements best describe your level of expertise when working out with an app?

  • I consider myself a beginner, just starting
  • I consider myself intermediate. A good working knowledge
  • I consider myself fairly advanced

Do you share your workouts?

  • Yes, verbally
  • Yes, via social media
  • Occasionally
  • No, and I am not interested
  • No, but I am interested

Do you use a wearable or phone app for specific workouts only? If so, please detail these below.

If you’re amenable to answering a few more questions about your fitness app needs (15–20 mins), please indicate your email below.

Survey Actions

  • looking to gather information from possible users who workout
  • posted on Craigslist
  • shared survey with friends

Survey Results

  • 64 responses
  • identified 7 people who indicated that they workout regularly, they do a combination of continuous and instructional workouts
  • conducted 7 user research interviews

User Research Interviews

We conducted 7 user research interviews. We interviewed both men and women who ranged in age from 22 to 61 years old.

Key Quotes from our user research interviews:

  • “Because I don’t do that [workout] regularly, I have to look at my phone to make sure that I am doing it correctly.”
  • “It’d be cool if my phone called out the exercises by name.”

Affinity Mapping

We used affinity mapping to help us synthesize the information that we gathered in our user research interviews.

Affinity Mapping Findings

  • People use non workout apps (calendar and notes) or paper to remember workout plans
  • Everyone has changed their workout plan due to injuries and time constraints
  • All seven interviewees do more than one form of exercise
  • for long distance workouts > needs are met
  • for reps/cycles/intervals > needs are not being met with wearables
  • People want personalization: they do not want a boring plan and they do not want the workout to cause injuries
  • Motivations include: endorphins, energy from working out, being fit and healthy
  • Surprised by all these people doing weight lifting and their wearable doesn’t count reps, why wearing it?
  • Long term goals include: be healthy for life, overall health and wellness
  • Wearable positives: love the tracking and goal setting
  • Wearable negatives: cost (but apple watch cost has dropped), not like having two watches, feature overload — sometimes not that helpful, and not relevant for strength training but are for cardio, the lack of interaction and communication, and people want coaching when doing
  • Behaviors while working out include: not everyone looked at phone and people listen to music/podcasts, and some people memorize the plan they have done for a while, but if it is a new plan have to refer back to via their phone
  • Pain points include: time, money, and personalization

Affinity Mapping Takeaways

  • People want personalization and diversity in workout plans.
  • People want instructions to be clear and easy to follow.
  • People do not want to hurt themselves.


Based on the data synthesis, trends via personas emerged into:

Primary Persona

Secondary Persona


Feature Prioritization

Feature Prioritization Takeaways

  • Given the two week project length, not all of the features are categorized as the most viable product.
  • Given that this app is all about providing users with personalized workout plans, enabling this to happen became the first important focus of the app.

Dot Voting

  • Dot voting was completed to determine how the features of the app would operate, using competitive and comparative screenshots.

Design Studio

  • Design Studio facilitated rapid prototyping and established the basic flow and look of the app.

Annotated Wireframes

Annotations of Features

Apple Watch integration

Personalized Plan


Annotations of Iterations

Login Page

Workout Start Page

Calendar Overlay


Usability Testing

Mobile Round 1: Low Fidelity — 2 user tests


  • Confusion over why user enters cardio exercise preference after entering the weight lifting equipment
  • No place to enter the weight that the user just lifted for the exercise, or to specify the results
  • Unsure of what specifics are, such as the weight that should be used for the specific exercise

Mobile Round 2: Medium Fidelity — 2 user tests


  • The hearts on the calendar that symbolize the cardio days were confused for the tester’s favorite workout day
  • Language “Base Test for Fitness Test” confused testers
  • Testers want to see more information such as what weight they should use at that moment
  • Testers were frustrated by looking at the list of workouts not in alphabetical order
  • Want to see the summary of the workout on a specific day in the calendar

Mobile Round 3 — Medium Fidelity — 2 user tests


  • Confusion around why users are being asked to enter so much information in the beginning
  • Still have confusion around the Fitness Test and the starting page
  • Not sure what is on the Fitness Test results page
  • The calendar is not matching the title for this tab, Progress
  • Confusion over what “the plan” is

Mobile Round 4 — High Fidelity — 1 user test


  • Need to simplify the on-boarding process
  • Expect to see a countdown before begin the exercise
  • Want to see the plan for the entire week

Apple Watch Round 1: Low Fidelity — 2 user tests


  • Worked well (limited in testing as no way to test heart rate)

Apple Watch Round 2: Medium Fidelity — 1 user tests


  • Worked well (limited in testing as no way to test heart rate)

User Flows

Conrad 1

On boarding via mobile app

Conrad 2

Apple Watch workout


Working out using her phone

Site map

Mood Board

Style Guide


  • Informative
  • Trusting
  • Encouraging
  • Playful


  • Roboto — entire site uses it


  • Black, white
  • Red -> Orange: branding originally red but usability issues led to use of orange


  • Minimalistic and adhered strongly to Apple’s HIG

Interactive Prototypes

iOS Native Mobile App

Apple Watch App

Next Steps

Possible Further Developments

  • Add audio to accompany the visual guide
  • Notifications with health/fitness tips
  • Add video in lieu of the images
  • Add nutrition, insert nutrition research
  • Customize colors of app for your sports team, etc for personalization (increase user engagement and use time — i.e. SnapChat filters)

What It Would Take To Build

  • With the complex algorithm it would take two developers about two months to code
  • $40,000 for two developers for two months in New York
  • $10,000 for two developers in four months overseas
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