I designed and ideated the Sphere fitness app, with an emphasis on motivation and goal-setting.
Sketch, InVision, Miro, Marvel App
With the amount of fitness apps available on the market, there is an overwhelming amount of choices and data for new and beginning athletes. Sphere Fitness was designed to simplify this by using a 10-point scale while utilizing gamification to build healthy goals and habits over time.
The goals of my app include:
To help new and intermediate users build fitness through an easy to understand tracker.
Connect users to an online support group to help them achieve
Use rewards and gamification to motivate users to turn working
out a habit.
As Sphere was designed to be my capstone project for my Springboard- UX Career Track certification, I was in charge of everything from concept to design. Through utilizing a waterfall UX approach over the span of 4.5 months, I began with 5 user interviews to try and understand the problems associated with the current fitness landscape. Then I moved on to synthesizing that qualitative research, sketching, wireframing and additional moderated and unmoderated guerilla/usability tests.
Additionally, I came up with the gamification concept to use metabolic equivalents (METs), heart rate/effort and duration to produce a fitness score for every recorded activity.
I began to conceptualize Sphere by performing qualitative and quantitative research. Through this process, I began to realize that the major issues with the fitness app landscape could be distilled into: motivation, confusion and not getting the right support. No matter how experienced an athlete was, motivation always tended to be the number one factor when it came to problems.
Key Focus Areas
How does the user currently track their fitness?
What kind of feature(s) do they wish that product had?
How do they motivate themselves to workout?
Would a support system make a difference for their workout goals?
What kind(s) of exercise do they do?
Guerilla & low-fidelity prototype feedback
All users, from beginning to advanced can be overwhelmed by the amount of fitness apps out there, often with their own terminology and metrics that don't match. Simplifying a solution is a must.
What the MET?
Rewards and Motivation
Quite often, a user (especially beginners) will give up using an app when they're not making any immediate progress with zero results to show from their hard work. Finding a way to keep users motivated through monetary rewards may motivate them if done correctly.
Accountability through Community
Accountability seems to be one of the leading factors when it comes to motivation for intermediate to advanced users. Beginning users can only guess as to whether or not a class or friends would be able to keep them motivated to workout so it would be interesting to see how they react to having the right support.
After ideating with 5 different levels of users, I used those findings to guide my design process creating personas, affinity maps and user flows.
These helped me figure out which features to prioritize and map for the first release of the app.
As Sphere was designed to be a fitness app designed to help inspire confidence and motivate beginning and intermediate athletes, I chose to go with typography and colors that would inspire that.
With their emphasis on the body and nature, I chose blue and green for the color motif and used it throughout the design.
As my app was designed for users to either upload workouts automatically through a smartwatch or to manually add one, setting up a profile is a crucial step in the onboarding process. The door is open, however, to other users who wish to skip the process or do it later to see what the app is all about.
After my early user interviews, it occurred to me that the best way to motivate beginners was through extrinsic rewards. As they appreciated the fact that they could get something for working out, I came up with the idea to combine goal setting with quests/tasks that are present in mobile games and using a fitness score to tell users about their daily fitness.
Motivating through Gamification and Rewards
“Goal gamification is a great idea that even Strava hasn’t fully been able to capitalize on.”
- Participant during guerilla testing
While I was designing my social page, it occurred to me that visible ‘likes’ may demotivate users and detract from the social page. By making it so only that only the primary user can see the amount of accumulated likes, I believe that by hiding likes from other users in Sphere would help foster a more supportive environment instead of competition.
Increasing Motivation Through 'Likes'
Although the app was designed to sync up with fitness watches such as Fitbit, Polar and Garmin, users can manually add as well choosing from over 100 different types of sports, lifestyle movements or training activities. Scores are achieved through a simple formula of perceived effort/heart rate x metabolic equivalent of task (MET) x duration and comparing it to past performances.
Adding an Activity
iOS vs Android-based Users
One particular issue of interest that I encountered during usability testing was that since I had chosen to use Google’s material design for Sphere, iOS users originally had trouble finding my original floating action button. Eventually, I had solved this issue by using a raised center tabbed navigation for the manual add activity. After conducting another round of remote usability, I was able to confirm my assumption that everyone, regardless of OS, was able to access it.
The 'like' Culture
As a somewhat active social media user, I didn’t realize until this project that the ‘like’ button was contributing to competition between people. It’s an unhealthy mindset that I wasn’t aware of until this project. I for one am now glad that companies have started thinking proactively about how to deal with this problem.