I Tell myself I'm going to workout everyday, but I never get around to it. 

-Blink Fitness Member

 

Brand: Blink Fitness

Project: New Mobile App Product

Blink Fitness is an affordable gym option operated by the luxury fitness company Equinox. The challenge was to explore an opportunity to keep gym goers engaged with the brand. It was a common occurrence for users to enroll in membership and not follow through on their commitment to achieving their own fitness goals.

I worked with two designers and took on the role as UX lead -- I determined the research plan and delegated daily tasks to meet our two week deadline. It was our plan to research and design an accountability system that would integrate with the brand and reinforce a positive feedback loop in the the Blink Fitness users’ behaviors to elevate their experience.

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1. Research and Discovery

Since there was a plethora of fitness applications and systems of accountability the team thought it was important to understand the existing landscape or competitors and gain insights from users to make more impactful design decisions. Through the competitive analysis of 5 companies, 12 interviews, and 49 survey responses, we were able to understand the basic needs for accountability within the world of fitness.

 
 

User Interview Highlights

“I’m motivated by helping others.”
“I work out 3 times this week, but I wasn’t able to keep it consistent this month.”
“I feel like I should work out with a friend more often because I can totally see how it becomes more of a social thing and more motivating.”
 
 

We examined competitors to understand industry conventions that were successful and target through practices that needed improvement.

From the business analysis, we deduced that while many apps aimed at creating accountability, they were limited by the fact that all were self-reporting. Since this product is for an existing gym, physical check-ins would be an external obligation.

From the feature analysis we generated a list of musts to follow existing conventions including the ability to choose a particular charity, the ability to customize donation amount, having multiple means of payment, the ability to challenge friends and sharing results.

While researching layouts, we found that all the apps had a footer-style navigation along with minimal information paired with negative space. 

 

Analysis

Beyond the basic understanding that there was a need for accountability we understood more of nuance what motivated users to complete tasks. There were several levels of accountability that affected the way people navigated their decision to follow through on a plan. There was an interpersonal accountability that people felt motivated them to remain obliged to a goal from fear of repercussions to their reputation. There was also a financial accountability, specifically fear of financial loss, that motivated many people to complete obligations. A third motivation was social accountability, an aim to create a better world. A combination of these factors inspired us to think about what features to create and how they could impact the user.


2. Solution

Storyboard

Storyboard

 

We decided on creating a system of accountability in which a user would have the ability to schedule workouts with or without a peer, in the chance that they are absent from said workout, an amount previously decided by the user will be donated to a charity of their choice.

 

3. Personas

From our interviews and surveys we were able to create three personas, representing the data from our research. The personas helped to guide our design and reminded us how to prioritize the features we were creating.

 
 

4. Feature Prioritization

The team used prioritizing tools such as affinity mapping and the Moscow Method to focus our efforts and design a minimum viable product that reflected the needs of the user based off of our research. This process helped in understanding the core concepts the product was trying to encompass, namely accountability in connection to Blink's brand. 

 


5. Sketching

The team began the process of actualizing our features with a series design studios. We would rapidly iterate by drawing sketches within a short timespan, analyzing our work and pushing to continue future rapid iterations

After having a basic outline of the wireframe sketched out, we created low-fidelity wireframes, which transformed to medium-fidelity wireframes. It was important for us to test our medium-fidelity wireframes before proceeding to create the high-fidelity wireframes, because we wanted to be assured that the utility of the app remained clear and the design was intuitive.

 

6. Design

We went through 4 iterations before concluding our first deliverable prototype. Some of the first user feedback we came across came  in understanding the function of the application. This stemmed from the fact that our designs were not able to convey the options in scheduling and clarify the peer accountability feature.  After three rounds of testing with 15 users we were able to refine the low-fidelity wireframe to the user's needs. 

Scheduling

 

1. Added a calendar to clarify scheduling specificity 

2. Altered flow to separate scheduling options

3. Edited copy to convey consquences users had not understood during testing

4. Provided a progress indicator to provide user a sense of control

 
 

Studies show that having too many options at the front-end of an experience can lead to decision paralysis. Through user testing, we were able to refine the scheduling process to allow the user the same flexibility without the frustration of coginitive overload.

Peer Accountability

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1. Made date visible in order to remind user of their commitment

2. Created ability to add several friends for one scheduled workout

3. Added a reminder overlay to remind the user of  consequences 

4. Provided the name of friends invited 

 

 

One of the pillars of the app was to create an interpersonal liability, our research showed that this was perhaps the most influential prong of accountability. In order to clarify this feature, we needed to make decided content visible to provide appropriate feedback.


7. Final Prototype

The final prototype demonstrates the ability to schedule a workout, both with specific and general parameters. Final testing revealed that users were enthusiastic about the product, and the broader concept of a fitness accountability app as a whole.