Enter the world of an athlete...
Being driven and performance focussed, an athlete's journey is a mix of successes, plateaus and ingenious problem-solving. The majority of their time training is spent alone. That’s tens of hours every week of just inner dialogue and physical discomfort - arguably the two biggest obstacles any athlete will face. And there’s another one: loneliness.
An app / social network allowing athletes allowing athletes to find a training partner and schedule a joint training session effortlessly. Long term goal: becoming an integral part of an athlete's social training and activities.
Discovered user problem
Training (especially endurance) is needlessly a solitary practice. Athletes who spend countless of hours training (semi, pro, casual athletes and gym folk) find it much easier and motivating to workout with other people.
POC app to capture initial user feedback in order to build a compelling business case for further development opportunities.
Project plan and responsibilities overview
Consisted of: UX designer, researcher and a voice-over artist.
UX and hands-on product design.
Design thinking driven product concept development.
Two weeks of discovery and ideation, followed by a week of rapid prototyping and demonstrator production.
Discovery and Ideation
We started by researching the existing market tailored for endurance athletes. After multiple forum reviews and questionnaires, we gathered 56 responses, primarily via social networks for the athletes, such as Strava. This data allowed us to paint a clearer picture of the issues athletes have to face daily when they lace their sneakers and face the inner voice calling on them to stop trying. This information provided us with enough information to build user profiles for further research.
While interviewing athletes and reviewing multiple studies we found that social training and exercise is a key aspect to behavioural change and motivation. Countless subjects reported that having a training partner makes every session joyful. In the end these people spend countless hours every week by themselves, so there's a need for a solution to help make at least a part of their training sessions social.
What followed were efforts to map the existing user experiences to identify other pain points and exact areas for opportunity development:
Based on discovery research findings we came up with three hypotheses to ensure product adoption. These covered: essential security and privacy, meeting scheduling and efficient training partner finding features.
The features were listed and mapped based on technical complexity (POC only), potential business and user efficiency values. The highest impact features were expected to be included in the product POC.
Focusing on high impact feature sets allowed us to create a story that could be split into a few major user scenarios: connecting with other athletes, scheduling of training sessions, privacy settings and personalised profile options. The below listed previews show major steps taken in the prototyping effort to bring these scenarios to life:
POC ScenariosScenarios allowed us to focus on the specific flows that would include highest impact feature sets only.
Sketches & WireframesCreation of key screens and feature sets.
Visual mockups & Low-fi prototypeApplying branding and bringing prototype closer to life, which allows for early user validation.
High fidelity prototypeHighly interactive prototype production that would enable promo video production, as well as allow for in-depth user validation.
POC prototype has been tested on 10 users (5 for each of the proto-personas) in order to validate our hypotheses. We used the previously defined storyline to guide users through our the prototype.
We used Lookback app to record real-time user interactions to review and compare test sessions later. We also wanted to capture anecdotal evidence and input which we could use for potential business case development / pitch deck.
We observed almost entirely positive feedback. Most users loved the integrations with other services such as Strava, the authentic look of their profiles, the ability to find training buddies on a map layout etc. However, all of the participants raised their privacy concerns, even when presented with easy-to-use privacy settings.
Based on the findings from both UX research and POC validation sessions we were able to come up with a list of changes that were addressed and updated in the prototype.
Our promo video shared across social networks brought us even more insight of true user needs. We also understood that further development would require strong business case to raise investment or big enough early adopter base to get momentum.
As found in the discovery phase the former could be addressed with simple social network (e.g. athlete specific Strava) campaigns. Established athlete services and sites lack the ability to manage social training effectively. We discovered a unique opportunity to deliver value to both athletes and any sport-oriented business.