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I set out to develop an app that would help those who want to exercise more, but who - for various reasons - don’t get around to it. 

About this Project

Colleagues

My Role

This was my first case study which I decided to take on as part of my General Assembly UX Design Bootcamp course.  Over a course of 10 weeks each student chose a topic to work on.  I gained knowledge and hands on experience as the sole UX/UI designer as well as user researcher by integrating the lessons learned in each class with this hands on project.

My Why

As someone who believes everyone should feel their best both mentally and physically, I wanted to focus on the health and wellness space for my first project.  

Fitness Training

User Research

User Interviews

The first step was to interview people who wanted to work out more but who, for various reasons, don’t get around to it. I screened and recruited eight people to participate in my user research interview. 

My goals during user research were to find out: 

 

  • Why participants want to exercise 

 

  • What happens when they do manage to exercise 

 

  • What happens when something prevents them from exercising 

Participants

Mary C. - Librarian, New York, USA, 50+

Michelle K. - Entrepreneur, Pennsylvania, USA, 30-40

Jossie M. - Accountant, New Jersey, USA, 40-50

Alex Z. - Corporate Strategy, New Jersey, USA, 40-50

Sarah A. - Finance, New Jersey, USA, 30-40

Marilyn L. - Student, London, UK, 30-40

Nick B. - Security, New York, USA, 20-30

Zineb K. - Student, London, UK, 30-40 

View the Full Discussion Guide

Iterating on the Interview Script

Before conducting interviews, I created an interview script to make sure I stayed on track and addressed all of the questions I was looking to have answered.

 

After a few of the initial interviews didn’t go as smoothly as I would have liked, I noticed there were a few ways I could re-word some of the questions that were tripping people up:

 

I removed compounded questions such as "What was your exercise routine both pre and post quarantine?". Compounded questions can confuse the interviewee and should be avoided in order to get the most clarity in their answers.

 

I removed broad, idealistic questions such as "if you had an ideal exercise routine, what would it be" and replaced it with something more specific like "tell me about a time when you enjoyed a workout." Asking broad, idealistic questions may lead the user to answer based on who they'd like to be rather than who they actually are, which can skew the results.

 

I removed leading questions such as "What types of workouts do you dislike and why?" because I thought this question was assuming that the individual dislikes workouts - rather, I replaced it with "is there anything you dislike about exercise?” 

Synthesis

Organizing Insights

After the interviews, I used affinity mapping to gather all of the insights from my user research. I organized this by person and color, and then spent time parsing out major themes.

 

After requesting feedback from my General Assembly teacher, I made a few revisions to how I broke out my insights:
 

1. I converted all of the insights into “I” statements. Although this seemed like a trivial change, it really helped to put myself into the users shoes as I typed it out.

 

2. I broke the insights down into more digestible pieces. For example, instead of using the grouping "exercise makes me feel better" I dove deeper and was able to organize the insights into more specific groupings such as "I want to look good and lose weight". This allowed me to target more specific needs of the user. 

I want to look good and lose weight

Negative associations with exercise

I need someone to keep me accountable

Synthesizing Insights

According to the research, it seemed that everyone had good intentions to exercise, but always found something else that took priority. They didn’t feel encouraged or accountable, and those pain points were getting in the way of their health and wellness.

 

Based on the major themes that I came across when synthesizing my affinity map, I based my design on three main insights:

 

1. I want to look good and lose weight

 

2. I hate working out: I feel forced, discouraged, shame

 

3. I need someone to push me and keep me accountable

 

Interviewees expressed the need for progress towards their goals - it was important for them to look and feel good. They also expressed a lot of negative emotion about exercise, but mostly, they felt discouraged.

 

Finally, they expressed the need for accountability and for someone to help push them closer to their goals. With this information in mind, I created my persona. 

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Meet Jennifer

I created the persona for this project based on the average of the users I interviewed. I wanted to be sure that I was designing for the right person: a hard working woman that had responsibilities both at work and at home, and had trouble prioritizing exercise although it was something that was important to her health and wellness. 

persona.png

Customer Journey Map

Since my research indicated there were strong emotions (both positive & negative) towards exercise, I wanted to create a customer journey map to visualize where my opportunities and risks were when designing my app. In this case, creating a delightful experience for the user will be key in retaining users and keeping them engaged: 

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Ideation

How Might We?

Using the customer journey map, I wanted to be sure to engage the user when they were at their lowest emotional points before, during and after a workout. I then began ideating around my how might we question using Crazy 8’s. 

How might we engage someone to develop a habit of exercise?

Crazy 8's

After Crazy 8’s, I wrote down all of the main features I wanted to include in my app. Since there were so many, I wanted to make sure I prioritized them based on the level of design effort and impact it would have on the end users goals, so I created a Feature Prioritization Matrix. This allowed me to narrow down the features I wanted to focus on first within the timeframe of the project.

 

Once I had a list of features I wanted to focus on, I began sketching and then digitizing low-fidelity wireframes. 

Prototyping & User Testing

Customer Journey Map

Since my research indicated there were strong emotions (both positive & negative) towards exercise, I wanted to create a customer journey map to visualize where my opportunities and risks were when designing my app. In this case, creating a delightful experience for the user will be key in retaining users and keeping them engaged: 

User Flow

After conducting moderated user testing on my low-fi wireframes, I realized I needed to increase the fidelity in order to get more solid feedback. Once I did that, I conducted additional rounds of user testing using Maze.

 

In order to enforce accountability, Jennifer would need to log her measurements, commit to an exercise schedule and schedule a check-in with her accountability partner.

 

With this in mind, as well as Jennifer’s needs and goals, I had three main task flows that I wanted to test:

 

1. Jennifer should be able to easily view how she is progressing towards her goals.

 

2. She should feel encouraged and accountable for her progress.

 

3. Jennifer should easily be able to complete the task flow (log measurements, schedule exercise plan and schedule time with her accountability partner).

 

After I conducted several rounds of user testing, there were many iterations that took place as well as takeaways for the next iterations:

Prototype

Onboarding 1 of 4

Onboarding 2 of 4

Onboarding 3 of 4

Onboarding 4 of 4

Home

Record Measurements

Schedule exercise

View Progress

Group Dashboard

Recap

Learnings

Since this was my first UX project, I had the opportunity to learn and build out my case study at the same time. There were several takeaways I gained from this experience:

 

• Constant feedback is crucial Asking my teacher and TA for feedback every step of the way helped either solidify or challenge my understanding of traditional UX design practices.

 

• Document design decisions Documenting my project was extremely helpful when I looked back at the project to remember why I had made certain design decisions. It helped remind me of my thought process and was also helpful to articulate it through writing.

 

• Spend less time perfecting and more time testing I wish I had spend less time perfecting and more time conducting moderated user testing - I think this would have improved the usability of my product even further and would have unlocked some insights that I may have been missed before. 

What's Next

I plan on applying these learnings to my next project, and would like to continue to work on improving the usability, conducting more moderated user testing as well as improving the visual design of FitMatch. 

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