Fitness when & where you are

Design a fitness and wellness marketplace app for a user-centric experience and increase revenue for small businesses.

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My role & responsibilities

Product Owner and Designer

Visual and interaction design, user research, user interviews, and information architecture.

As product owner, I led the ideation of the platform with the founders. I designed the brand, the app for iOS and Android, the web back-office application, the Momentum website, and the information architecture for the Admin Portal (built with Forest Admin) needed to maintain the platform.

I led the team of developers (one frontend, one app developer, and one backend developer) for over a year to build the platform. I onboarded a junior designer to manage the ongoing design work needed to keep up with the expanding vision of the product.

Started March 2020- ongoing.

Shipped first release of app and web app February, 2021.

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Overview

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Momentum was originally based on a simple concept to bring ease of use and variety to fitness and wellness through the sharing economy. The sharing economy is a recent development in the last decade that has created a new way to share our experiences and profit off of previously untouched areas of our lives.

This app aims to bring this element of flexibility and availability to the fitness and wellness world. By using existing design models similar to other marketplace apps, this new application plays on existing mental models to take what was previously a new concept and give users a familiar and delightful experience.

The client required our support to conduct a deep understanding of user needs and design the app for a better user experience.

We set out to fix the typical issues faced by the usual users by designing a better app; the layout was designed with feedback from users across diverse cultures.

This design will bring ultimate flexibility to the fitness and wellness world, resulting in a better user experience and increased revenue for the brand. 

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Challenges

 

There are two primary challenges. One for the end user side and one for the business side. For the end user side it was creating a mobile app that entices users via a simple and accessible experience to be more valuable than competitors.

 

For the business side it was creating a back office that simplifies the tasks for the businesses and has intrinsic value in helping them manage their organization.

Objectives

The main objective was to design the app’s layout to easily access fitness and wellness activities for users who cannot join a regular gym due to time restrictions, location, and more. The app will use a few predictive technologies to help the users find important contextual features (popular, recommended, etc.).

The concept will increase the number of members for the businesses, resulting in increased revenue, awareness, and business growth. The app’s layout, user interface, and functionalities needed to be designed to better connect with its users.

 

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Users & audience

Based on the research, the users that are more likely to use this app are:

· Male and female between 24 – 35. They are working professionals and hardly find time to join health clubs due to busy lifestyles.

· Small fitness business owner and wellness coaches.

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User Research

Firstly, we performed qualitative information research with user interviews to give us some direction. The goal was to understand how users plan their fitness routine, look for fitness training programs, and what motivates or demotivates them from using fitness apps.

We also conducted interviews with small business owners in the space to understand how they manage their businesses.

 

Interviews with ideal users and business owners

We asked the following questions to end users:

·   Are you using any fitness app right now & how do you plan your workout?

·   When do you like to work out?

·   What are some of your most significant pain points or gripes when using a fitness app?

·   What device are you most commonly found on?

·   When else do you do during workout time?

·   Did you ever use a fitness app to plan your workout and stay fit?

·   Tell me about a time you were committed to workout, but you gave up?

·   How would you describe your typical experience when it comes to stay fit and plan your workout through an app?

·   What do you think can improve the overall fitness app experience?

We asked the following questions to business owners:

·       How do you manage your business model?

·       What kinds of issues are you facing right now?

·       How do you keep members’ records and handle recurring payments?

·       How do you find new customers?

 

Findings from user interviews

The end-user interviews validated the hypothesis of the value of the app. We found that many of the people we interviewed had at one time or another been gym members but canceled once or more due to commitment issues and lack of flexibility and convenience.

 

Through interviewing potential users in Tel Aviv, we knew that this business model could work, but we still needed to understand how we could onboard businesses. We questioned if they would be afraid such a platform would either sabotage their business and existing customers or sabotage Momentum by making it too easy for Momentum customers to be acquired by the business and no longer use Momentum.

Quantitative data research & personas

After qualitative information research, we performed quantitative data research to learn user behavior regarding fitness app usage and made assumptions and hypotheses.

We discovered that users experience anxiety and intimidation while planning workout throughout a fitness app through user research and user interviews. Many of the people we interviewed had at one time or another been gym members but cancelled once or more due to commitment issues and lack of flexibility and convenience. Also, business owners stated that they face trouble in handling management systems.

Based on the research, we synthesized the qualitative data. We developed user personas that would guide the process and evolution of developing user flows. We referred to them throughout the entire designing process.

Market research & competitor analysis

We performed market research to understand the scope of the project, future trends, and customer demographics.

Based on market research, we discovered there was a considerable gap and market to fill in the loss of customers in many gyms and studios based on customer apathy and disinterest. Customers sign up for memberships and lose interest quickly due to lack of variety, not fitting the business environment or lack of flexibility. We studied similar businesses in other countries and learned from business case studies they published and what kind of customer base they could attract.

The results from the market research statistics helped optimize the app interface according to industry trends and user behavior.

Competitor analysis

At the start of the project, we conducted a competitive analysis to validate our hypothesis and see what competitors were doing.

Data from competitive analyses and user interviews helped identify user pain points and gaps in the existing fitness apps that we may not be aware of. Our competitors are Classpass, Mindbody, Onefit, and Free fit, etc.

To better understand user’s needs and pain points, we defined a series of questions and began researching the problem.

 

·   Who are the users that are using the fitness apps?

·   How do they interact with the app and complete different tasks?

·   What are the different fitness apps targeted users use?

·   Are competitors addressing the user pain points? User interviews helped us here.

·   Which fitness apps users like or dislike?

 

The goal was to compare and identify common features across the competitor’s apps and identify UX problems. 

Findings

We found gaps in the UX and (business models) of the existing apps. I knew we could improve mainly that the UX on the app side needs to be simplified and more user-friendly. One of the most significant gaps we could fill was through the business side. The current tools being used to manage the businesses within these apps were not easy, not simple. They allowed businesses to cannibalize themselves by enabling users to go outside the platform to schedule and become customers effectively.

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vs.

Compare the usability and accessibility of Craigslist to the UX of Airbnb in discovering and booking a place to stay. Worlds apart! This was the gap we are trying to fill in the fitness and wellness industry. 

Design process next steps

After specifying the issues and analyzing each pain stage, we were prepared to produce solutions.

We needed to understand user pain points and create an optimized user journey and layout that aligned with users’ needs.

We utilized the user feedback in the design process to focus on real-life applications. This allows them to get the most out of the app, with less emphasis on technology. We implemented an open design approach to make content exploration easier and more visible.

To measure how ‘usable’ the app is, we measured three things:

·   Effectiveness - Whether a user can complete a task

·   Efficiency - How long it takes them to complete a task

·   Satisfaction - How the user feels about the task

      

After consolidating all of the issues and prioritizing them according to their frequency, the data outcomes and brainstorming enabled us to narrow down our approach.

Solution ideation

With sketches, we were quickly able to develop how the potential solutions are addressing the pain points. It helped us see what the app would roughly look like and how it would flow from screen to screen. User research gave us ideas for what would feel familiar to users.

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In our market, we knew that the Wolt marketplace food delivery app and the electric scooter apps were very successful. The discovery phase of Wolt is great when you're in an exploratory phase where as the map search of the electric scooter app allows you to find what you're looking for based more on availability and location. We studied these models to better understand how we could implement this UX into our platform. 

End user journey

We mapped out the users’ steps to see how we could simplify their journey to help them reach their most important goals with the app. We quickly designed a user journey to understand how users will navigate through the app. We needed to understand user’s habits to create an optimized user journey.

To achieve, we focused on developing user journeys that are short and simple, universally understood, playful, and rewarding.

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Understanding our business users

Through case studies of the competitor platforms we had researched, we discovered that one of the largest gaps we could fill was through the business side. The current tools being used to manage the businesses within these apps was not easy, not simple, and allowed for businesses to effectively cannibalize themselves by enabling users to go outside the platform to schedule and become customers of this business.

 

The back office design problems:

  • We need a standardization of how the business is presented and what they offer- data inputs.

  • An easy way to deal with payments

  • Management of multiple activities under one business

  • Calendar and scheduling management

  • Manage employee organization and payments

  • Gain insights and reviews from their users

  • Marketing tool

When ideating, I saw a similarity in the way Airbnb solved this problem of how people input their information into the marketplace and studied their back office model in order to help build out ours.

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Ideation based on similar back office input designed by Airbnb and an early variation of the Momentum back office.

Solving key problems for businesses

The recurring pain point was the scheduling management. Some had already a very low capability scheduling app. This could be a large obstacle for having synchronicity between Momentum and this app. There could be an API integration with their database but there was no way we could get the cooperation of this scheduling company. Also, some business owners may not want to manage both. 

 

So we decided to add this capability to Momentum of a white label app. The white label app is a simple scheduler but all of the refined UX/UIof Momentum and it gives the business the option to maintain their current paying customers without using the Momentum marketplace and without paying a % to Momentum. A business now only needs to input their information in the one back office tool and can use both Momentum when and how they want and additionally the white label app. One back office for two systems.  No need for anyone else to manage their system.

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Sketch of the white label app integration from the back office

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A marketing tool

Most small businesses don’t have the resources to develop their back-office tools. With this full platform, businesses receive an entire back-office suite of tools to manage their business and promote themselves on the app.

The ease of use is critical to this side of the platform, giving businesses an easy way to set up and edit the way they promote themselves. Most large gyms would never want or require the Momentum platform to acquire new customers or fill available spots in classes.

However, small fitness and wellness businesses could greatly benefit from a platform to be discovered, promote their businesses, fill spots, and manage their business.

By understanding this small business persona, we knew we could provide a full end-to-end solution that provided value for the end-user and the business. In this way, we realized that the business was just as much our customer as the end-user and required as much attention, if not more, than the end-user facing the app.

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Outcome

I ran sprints with the development team over the course of 6 months to develop the MVP of the mobile app and back office. It is currently undergoing usability testing and debugging and will be launched to our beta end-users and business users in the next month.  

We have already determined several areas that we want to iterate on in the next release including:

  • Quick setup for businesses

  • Variation to test in the UX of the mobile app Discovery screen

  • Preview function for the back office

  • And further customization of the white label app

Designs

Click images to enlarge

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