Combining Gaming, Social Interaction &
Physical Fitness

An Apple Watch app that combines Nintendo’s most popular console games with the physical engagement of their Wii Fit U.

Naaja King
6 min readAug 23, 2015

Project Overview

The Nintendo brand personality is known for being fun; their tagline is “Putting Smiles of the Faces of Everyone Nintendo Touches”. As part of the User Experience Design Immersive, our 2 person team focused our project on finding areas of opportunity for this iconic brand. We proposed expanding the gaming opportunities for existing Nintendo users to promote the characters and games to those who are not already existing fans.

Challenge: Most fitness apps fail to help people enjoy exercising. Users lose interest in the apps. The lack of motivation can lead to problems associated with inactivity and weight gain.

Opportunity: Nintendo prides itself on producing products that impacts their consumers positively, making the brand perfectly positioned to expand their reach by developing their first app with a focus on motivating people to stay physically active. The social element would empower existing fans to easily promote the Nintendo brand to their friends. The rewards feature would also be a potential for the company to establish partnerships with non-competing retailers and service providers.

Goal: Integrating game-like features for an app for iPhone and Apple Watch so users will be inspired to participate in more physical activities that allow them to interact with friends and others in the Nintendo community through interactive physical challenges. The app would be positioned to attract existing fans and new players through popular games and social media sharing in the app.

My Responsibilities: We both worked on each aspect of the project. Collaboratively we drafted a proposal, conducted comparative analysis & user research, ideated features, sketched User Interface options, conducted usability testing, creating low-fidelity wireframes, refining the interface and created medium & high fidelity interactive prototypes (I created the final high-fidelity prototype).

Research Summary

The Apple Watch is a prime opportunity for the brand to push the exercise focus by taking the user outdoors with real life experiences. The Apple Watch allows for the expansion the functionality of Nintendo Wii U remote with the heart rate sensor, and calorie-burning measurements.

This is a great opportunity to launch Nintendo’s first app utilizing the new technology of this cutting edge platform.

Competitive / Comparative Analysis

We compared 4 different Fitness apps, including Zombie Run! which has a gaming element incorporated into it. We listed the features that each app contained. We tracked 10 different features and then narrowed our focus to
5 primary features:

In order to get an idea of how users felt about the competition, we asked a sample group to try them out. The users were asked to complete basic tasks within the apps; selecting a workout and then finding their personal stats. We found that the apps had between 9–7 pages, and 7–8 clicks. With the exception of the Nike training app, which had the most complicated interface, requiring the user to go to 14 pages and 13 clicks. The features that users found helpful or convenient were also noted.

User Research

We sent out an initial survey and received 55 responses. We found that:
The average Fitness App user who is also interested in Gaming is between 25 to 35 years old. They work out or engage in physical activities Often. Final Fantasy, Legend of Zelda and Pokemon (Nintendo games) are among the most popular. The majority of them have iPhones.

We initially thought that our target audience would be more interested in gaming than working out. We were surprised to find that not only did the largest group work out or engage in physical activity often, but the second to largest group worked out very often.

We conducted user interviews and gained valuable feedback include:

Users were incentivized by rewards…

I used to use Oscar & Misfit because my insurance company sent it to me
and I got Amazon dollars for using them.

Users used games to connect with family & friends…

I like getting nudges from my Dad through Words with Friends.
But if I only got alerts from the game I would find it annoying.

Users enjoyed incorporating their physical actives
with their social time…

I like to organize hiking trips with my friends.
These are the same people that I drink martinis with. I like the fact that we get to hang out and doing something healthy at the same time.

Technical Research

In order to conform to the standards of the Apple Watch, we researched the platforms capabilities…

Analysis & Synthesis

We laid out our findings into an Affinity Map and plotted the feedback into 4 categories: • Pains • Pleasures • Context • Behaviors

Based on that feedback, we thought of features that might address the needs expressed by users:

Based on the results that we gathered, we saw three distinct types of users emerge. We crafted personas to represent users who had similar behaviors and goals:


We sketched out the initial screens and took the solutions that worked the best with the limited real-estate of the Apple Watch screen.

We conducted 3 usability tests on a low fidelity paper prototype of the sketches.

Based on user feedback, we incorporated Apple Watch specific behaviors & functionality, such as the progression to long glance from short glance, and synching data from the existing health app options.

We then conducted 3 usability tests on a medium fidelity paper prototype of the screens of the app.

We incorporated the feedback and conducted 3 usability tests on a medium fidelity paper prototype of the screens of the app.

Based on the feedback that we received, we added more competitive elements, such as seeing where you were ranked among the other players. As we proceeded to the final interactive prototype, we added more game themed elements, like animated characters, and additional notifications with game themed message.

Download the deck of Annotated Wireframes.

You can also try the Interactive Prototype.

Next Steps

  • More game theme options based on other Nintendo games
    (Such as Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, and others)
  • More types of physical elements
    (Jumping, squats, shadow boxing, etc.)
  • Create the remaining screens & function for the Apple Watch app
    (Calendar, invite friends, solo player games)
  • Fully functional Mobile App
    (Research, define and design)