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Consistent Workouts With Peloton — A UX Case Study

Empowering Peloton users to personalize their experience and build the habit of working out

P.S. I want to preface this case study by stating that I have the utmost respect for the designers and developers at Peloton, and this concept redesign is born out of a desire to further my own education as a designer.

Some Background

Like many of Peloton’s new users, I started using the Peloton app in the early weeks of the pandemic. Being stuck at home, it was a great time to devote to at-home workouts. However, I noticed that I couldn’t really set up a good workout routine on the app.

Peloton’s schedule feature allows users to schedule live classes. However, most users find that it doesn’t optimize their busy lifestyles, thus not interacting with it as much.

Peloton Schedule Doesn’t Do Its Job

Going into this, my original hypothesis was: If Peloton had a better scheduling feature, users would be more inclined to be consistent with their workouts.

But Why Aren’t People Consistent?

To really understand this I did some initial user research to learn about how users plan their workouts and how they interact with the schedule feature. Here are some key insights:

1. Users prefer to take a class according to their own schedule

“The live classes don’t fit well in my schedule. I wish there was a way to plan a future workout schedule of the on-demand classes.”

2. Users want their Peloton schedule on their personal calendar

“I check the schedule a week in advance and add my “counted in” classes to my phone calendar manually. It’s a major pain in the butt.”

3. Users can’t track or view their saved workouts easily

“I am not sure where I can find the classes I have bookmarked. I don’t want to scroll through the featured section again to find them.”

4. Users want to create a queue of their favorite classes

“You can’t put together a custom workout. I have to keep going in and out of programs to find my favorite classes.”

Turns out that my initial hypothesis was correct. Users weren’t finding much utility in the schedule feature. But there was more to the problem. To make the schedule feature really usable, the content (i.e. classes offered on the app) that the user desires to schedule had to be quickly accessible. But a space where users can sort, arrange and schedule their favorite content did not exist either.

To make the schedule feature really usable, the content (i.e. classes offered on the app) that the user desires to schedule had to be quickly accessible. But a space where users can sort, arrange and schedule their favorite content did not exist either.

Why This Should Matter To Peloton

According to Peloton co-founder & CEO, John Foley, the target demographic of the brand is individuals who do not have “time to go to the gym”

Figuring Out How To Solve This Problem

The larger theme here is that although the content offered on the app is great, there needs to be a way to empower the user to prioritize what content they consume and automate the way they consume the content. Providing these tools would help the user be more in control of their workout routines, and thus help them build the habit of working out.

This is important because as a fitness app, Peloton has a lot to gain from becoming a habit-forming product. If Peloton provides the tools for building this habit, it would lead to an increase in important growth metrics like engagement and retention.

Brainstorming Ideas

How might we provide users the tools for making Peloton workouts a habit?

I recruited my friend, Rukaiya Batliwala, as my brainstorming buddy. After exploring and analyzing several ideas, we decided on two feature opportunities:

  1. Improve Peloton Scheduling, to help users automate the way they consume content.
  2. Implement Peloton Lists, to enable users to prioritize the content they consume.

But Why Scheduling And Lists?

The “Hook Model” largely influenced the decision to choose these features.

The main idea of the “Hook Model” is to connect a user’s problem to the solution with enough frequency to make it a habit.

This model has been proven to increase growth metrics if used appropriately. Features like Scheduling and Lists can act as important triggers to direct action towards organizing workouts regularly.

Improving The Scheduling Experience

The main problem with using the schedule feature was that most people had to go specifically into the schedule section to do so. Intelligent placing of an “add class to schedule” button could nudge users to schedule more workouts, easily.

But before deciding where the point of entry would be, I had to design the icon for the “add class to schedule” button. I referred to the existing icons in the app to create one that fits well within Peloton’s design system.

Exploring Points Of Entry

I explored two different points of entry for the schedule icon. One from the workout card, and one from class details.

Showing the schedule icon on the class card could overwhelm the user. For features to be successful, they should progress through the interface naturally, from simple to complex. It would create a better experience if the scheduling option is shown after the user taps on the class. So, I discarded option 1 and pursued option 2.

This button would make scheduling accessible not just from the classes in the schedule section, but from any class on the app.

How Other Products Do Scheduling

Moving on to the actual schedule flow, I looked beyond the fitness domain for some inspiration.

As seen from above, all the date and time pickers are similar with their interactions. For solving Peloton’s problem, my goal was to determine the best type of picker for short-term workout scheduling (up to a few days) and long-term workout scheduling (up to two weeks).

Choosing The Perfect Date And Time Picker

I pursued iOS 14’s native picker because it has a calendar-like layout, which makes for a better scheduling experience for short-term as well as long-term. iOS 13’s picker is inadequate as it only feels intuitive for the short-term and does not show the perspective of a larger timeline.

Interaction For The Scheduling Flow

Below is a visual of what the final interaction flow for scheduling would look like. Classes added to the schedule from here would be visible in the original “Schedule” section.

Sync Schedule With Personal Calendar

An icing on the cake would be to add a pop-up for automatically syncing the Peloton Schedule with the user’s personal calendar.

To avoid this step during class scheduling, asking for permissions at some point during onboarding would be beneficial.

Implementing Lists To Organize Classes

The main motivation for designing lists is that not being able to find bookmarked classes is annoying. It is even more annoying if the user is unable to organize them. So lists take bookmarks to the next level by providing a way to do so.

How Other Products Do Lists

After getting inspired by top mobile apps like Instagram, Twitter, and Robinhood, I figured that placing bookmarked classes and lists together made it easy for the user to organize.

Exploring List Layouts

I explored list layouts to find the most efficient way of placing “Bookmarked Classes” and “Custom Lists” on one screen. During this process, I realized that instead of organizing the classes into list collections, it would be better to organize them into “To-Do Lists”. This would encourage the users to not just plan but take action.

Then I did some explorations on the list cards, and what they should contain.

After testing these list cards with some users I realized that having “no button” indicated no action, and the “play list button” seemed confusing, as users didn’t expect to play anything without opening the workout first. So I pursued the “enter list button” as that seems very easy for users to learn, and indicates them to open the list to see what’s inside.

Accessing Bookmarked Classes And Lists

I decided that it would be best to access lists from the “More” section in the navbar. This was mainly because all information related to the user’s account could be accessed from there, so placing account-specific information like bookmarked classes and lists there would make sense.

Interaction For Creating New Lists

Below is a visual of what the final interaction flow for creating new lists would look like.

Interaction For Adding Classes To Existing Lists

A short tap would automatically add the class to “All Saved”, but a long tap would provide the users with options of adding to a new or a particular to-do list.

What About These Designs Might Not Work

A big part of being a designer is not just being able to take criticism, but also self-criticism. So here are a few concerns I had about my design:

  1. I tested this concept for the iOS app only, so I imagine that it might be difficult to have these features consistent across all of Peloton’s hardware interfaces.
  2. Maybe these features could sway the audience away from live classes, and that could be bad for Peloton’s business. Only internal data could tell the probability of this happening.

Learnings And Takeaways

For the product, I learned how designing for habit can potentially have a positive impact on the users, and align with the company’s business goals at the same time. Habit-forming products can help how long and how frequently a user uses the product, make users less sensitive to the pricing, supercharge important growth metrics, and sharpen the competitive edge.

In terms of the design, this was a huge learning experience. Going through my first design process, I learned most importantly that to think about the system as a whole rather than just individual screens. Looking back, I lacked explorations throughout my process. The more iterations and options I explore for myself, the better product I will create in the end. In the future, I would focus on creating more higher-level explorations, and the impact that they can have.

Looking Forward

As for thinking into the future, I saw myself thinking about how these features might look like on Peloton’s hardware devices — like the Bike or the Tread. Is it a good idea to maintain GUI consistency throughout all the devices? Is it better for devices to complement each other? Or is it best to do both? These would be interesting questions to explore in the future.

Overall, there is an opportunity to make exercising a habit through meaningful features on the Peloton app. Users need to be able to use the app efficiently and integrate it with their lifestyle. With an improved scheduling feature and the ability to create to-do lists, Peloton can serve more than just the role of streaming workouts. It can be an active tool in helping users around the world to make exercising more enjoyable.

Hope you enjoyed this case study! I am a product designer based in Houston, TX and I am focused on crafting experiences that impact human habits and improve human behavior. To see more of my work visit adityamankare.com.

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Aditya Mankare

Aditya Mankare

Humanity first. Design at Meta. HCI at UMSI. More of my work at adityamankare.com.

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