8fit case study
Over the last year I had an opportunity to work on a fitness app that changes lives in the most real, human way.
Launched in 2014, 8fit is a fitness-focused app that’s dedicated to making a healthier lifestyle available to everyone.
With daily exercises, healthy recipes and coaches, the app plays the role of a personal trainer that fits in your pocket.
A bit more than 70% of the US population is overweight. Over the last few decades this number has grown dramatically.
Human by design
Efforts combined, coaches, nutritionists, customer support, product owners, designers and developers help people reach their fitness goals through a human response.
Customer interaction is deeply ingrained in the app. 8fit gathers customer feedback through a number of in-app support points. This data is carefully analysed and streamed into a product knowledge pool.
In addition to collecting and analysing data from various support points, the design team conducted over 40 interviews, which helped the team relate to and experience the customer journey on a very personal level.
At 8fit we built a work framework that allows us to validate product assumptions through this knowledge pool, and test them on the go. I call it the scientific method of product development.
The scientific method is an iterative process. It’s a cycle rather than a straight line. The result of one experiment becomes feedback that improves the next round of question asking. Here is an example of the product cycle:
Being lean in a fitness startup isn’t hard. Being consistent, on the other hand, was one of our biggest challenges.
To begin with, the app lacked aesthetics and consistency, and we wanted to improve these areas. Reusable patterns aligned teams, brought speed and took the pain out of the development process.
The app isn’t there yet, but it’s a living product. As we iterate on its appearance, we evolve our design language too.
Most of what I know now about product design comes from independent learning and on-the-job experience. After years of aggregating granular knowledge about processes and techniques, this experience felt like putting a final piece into a jigsaw puzzle. I was able to come up with an effective design framework, create empathy for our customers, keep consistency with a design system - all of it at a neck-breaking pace. I nevertheless feel that I have yet a lot to learn, and I look forward to it more than ever.