Improving the Activity Feed on Strava’s Mobile App

Defining What Specific Numbers Represent

It is unclear to most users what a number presented on the mobile activity feed represents. Because it is part of mobile feed which is a crucial interface for users on Strava, there is an opportunity to more clearly represent what the number means. The number in question is one that represents total loaded activities for the time period that is displayed parallel to the number.

The number pointed to on the right is the number of activities currently loaded in your mobile feed for the time period listed.

Background

The number shown next to the time period presented has been something that has routinely caught my eye, but regularly confused me. After some self testing and manual counting, I determined what the number represented. Most of the time I would ignore this number, but from time to time it would catch my eye and I would have to remind myself of its meaning.

What the number represents is the total activities loaded on your mobile activity feed for the corresponding time period.

In the photo above, the numbers represent that there are 2 activities that took place today, and 38 that took place yesterday. These numbers, however, represent only the numbers of activities that are currently loaded in your feed, not all activities for that given time period. If you scroll down and load additional activities that took place on a given day, the numbers grow as shown below.

Because this number grows without signifying what it directly means, it adds to the confusion of what the number represents. As I scrolled down on my feed the number changed from 38 to 59 as more activities were loaded.

When viewing a feed such as your own with fewer activities spread out over a larger time period, the time period is represented as a range of dates and the number displayed is the amount of activities loaded on your feed for that date range. The image below displays that there were 15 activities completed during the date range Nov 2 — Nov 8.

Questions I Wanted to Answer

After thinking more in depth about the presentation of the number, I wondered if I was the only person who was initially confused. I wanted to find out if other users:

  1. Were confused by what the number represented?
  2. What did they think the number actually represented?

Tasks and User Feedback

To try and identify trends among users of the Strava mobile app, I created a survey with the same images used above and arrows pointing to the numbers, nothing else. I wanted to ask a simple question that represented the understanding of the number in question, so I had survey responders answer the following prompt:

Without further investigation, in your opinion, what do you believe the numbers pointed to with red arrows represent in the Strava mobile app?

After collecting results, it was evident I was not the only person who felt like the number was a bit unclear. Below are some of the select responses to the prompt, most of which express some sort of confusion.

At first I thought it was the day of the month, but then when I saw the numbers go above 31, I knew it wasn’t. The numbers change as well, so I’m not sure.
How many new items the user has left to scroll through on their feed.
I have no idea. My best guess is how many activities are available to be seen in the feed.
The number of days a person ran this same amount.
I believe the numbers pointed to are the number of people who viewed your activity.
It is not entirely clear to me what it is. If I had to guess I believe that it is the number of activities on my feed from that given day.
Feed entries per time interval, such as today/yesterday/etc…

Some responses were closer to what the number represents than others, but there was a general sense of ambiguity amongst responders.

Product Suggestion

There are a number of different changes that could made to represent more clearly what this number means. But first, one could ask is there value to presenting the number at all? Does identifying the number of activities completed within a given day or time period add value for the users? Strava’s website does not list that number when viewing activity feeds, so further analysis on whether it is needed or not is worth exploring.

Assuming the number is a value add to the mobile activity feed, there are some simple ways to present the information more clearly.

My first suggestion would be to present the data in the floating header, all left aligned, in the following format:

15 Activities Completed Today
28 Activities Completed Yesterday
19 Activities Completed from Nov 2 — Nov 8

By adding the words “Activities” and “Completed,” it adds relevance to both what the number and time period represent. There could be an issue where not all activities load for a specific date range (the number increasing as more activities load on the feed issue), but in those cases the information could be presented as:

28+ Activities Competed Yesterday

The number would grow as more activities loaded, but users would anticipate that number growing as they scrolled down when the + sign is added.

My second suggestion would be to change the color of or add emphasis to the floating header with the date and activity number information.

Changing the color of the background or adding emphasis to the area highlighted would draw more attention to the fact that it is a floating header for the information below it.

Because the floating header is the same color as the area above it, its effectiveness as a header for the information below is low. Placing more emphasis on the highlighted area would more clearly represent the purpose of the floating header and prevent it from getting lost against the same colored panel directly above it.

Conclusion

Whether or not there is value in displaying the number of activities for a select time period, there are some easy wins Strava can implement to make the data more understandable for users. People would have a better understanding of the activities in their mobile feed and the relation to the date and number displayed.

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