A Mobile App Matching
with Personal Trainers
It can be intimidating to start your fitness journey if you don’t already have a trainer or go-to class. The goal of this app is to make it easy and approachable to find the right trainer for you, based on location, focus, and type of workout.
In a team of three, we started with pitches of problems we wanted to solve, and followed through all the way to the low-fidelity prototype. My main focuses were the following:
Delegated tasks and managed a quick turnaround
Conducted user tests with people of different ages and demographics
Created and iterated on prototype, taking feedback from usability testing
Crafted a user persona
RESEARCH & FINDINGS
My team conducted 5 initial interviews with people between the ages of 32-64, with different family structures, work schedules, and sentiments about the gym.
"I want to avoid super ableist trainers,
I want to avoid bodybuilder-y people"
"I'm a visual learner who appreciates in-the-moment feedback."
"The biggest difficulty for me in getting fit is self image when you're at a gym, especially if you're working out in front of other people. Also probably if you're alone, just getting yourself to do it and follow through."
We created an affinity diagram, and the patterns that arose in our interviews were:
Some folks would like some intro sessions, and then to be able to work on their own
Many people do not have experience working with a personal trainer, and see it as a luxury, something intimidating.
Everyone wants to go to a clean gym with plenty of equipment
Some would prefer one-on-one, some would prefer private
SHAPING A USER PERSONA
Through research and interviews, we found that our user is above the age of 35, and doesn't currently belong to a gym. She is looking to create a change in her life, but needs help.
A 40 year old user who doesn't have a strong gym habit needs to find an accessible and unintimidating way to establish a fitness routine with a reputable personal trainer with the help of reviews and an easy way to search by qualities and distance.
During user interviews, we discovered that nutrition, price, and distance were key factors and that the gym can be a really intimidating environment, and that people were more likely to work with someone who had good reviews. People look for a trusted trainer that they can identify with, and have many factors that they are sensitive about such as age, gender, physical condition, injuries, or lack of experience.
Therefore, our app will resolve these issues and allow people access to a trainer that best suits their personal needs. Users will be able to search by distance, preferences and profiles and can directly message and book personal trainers through the app.
Peloton has the strength of a well-known brand, and a large variety of classes. They offer a 30 day free trial, live and on-demand virtual classes, and a large community of users. The focus is virtual workouts, there is no option for in-person training.
Fitnesstrainer.com is focused on finding in-person trainers, and there are not a lot of players in this specific space. The interface is rather dated, and there are a lot of steps before the user can actually book a session.
StrongHer integrates nutrition and features great visual design, but the onboarding process is long and tedious. The app creates the illusion that workouts are highly customizable, but user reviews tell another story.
Future Fitness works to unite users with virtual training sessions. There are no in-person trainings offered, and technical issues make it so that users are unable to skip certain sections of a workout or change something based on their preferences or abilities.
Out of these four, Fitnesstrainer.com was the closest to what we were trying to accomplish, though it's only offered in certain cities and is not an incredibly intuitive site. We wanted to create a network where users can reach out and book with trainers in-person or virtually on their phone, all through just a few clicks.
Our first iteration of the user flow focused on onboarding and sign-in. At this point, we had a check-out process after selecting a trainer that we later removed after user testing our first prototype, opting instead for users with profiles to have a payment method on file for instant booking and minimization of dropoff.
We sketched out initial layouts for the onboarding process, and the booking pages. Those translated pretty easily into our first iteration of wireframes.
Initial screen sketches, taking you from the splash screen and account creation all the way to booking and checkout.
WIREFRAME AND INITIAL PROTOTYPE
This is where the user would add some personal details about their goals and current fitness level, which would be visible to any trainer they were booking sessions with.
USABILITY TESTING AND FINDINGS
We recorded three virtual user tests on the first iteration of our prototype. This is where we found that our checkout process could be eliminated if a user had payment on file. This was so important, because the checkout that we initially created was lengthy and took the user through too many steps. In testing, we could see that this was frustrating for them.
There were also instances in which drop down menus made more sense than text boxes, helping the user to understand what type of response was being sought.
We made the following changes:
Removed checkout process, instead using an instant booking with a card on file
Replaced type menus with dropdowns
Fleshed out the homepage with a calendar of current bookings, and trainer profiles and messaging
In the first version of the prototype, users have to type in responses and the checkout process was long and tedious, forcing people to click "check out" more than once and pull out their credit card. In testing, it was shown to be confusing.
The second version features much more robust trainer profiles, messaging, and payment on file for one touch booking. We rewrote the initial questions asked of users so that they could be multiple choice instead of written responses, making the intention more clear.
We discovered a lot of fitness apps, the truth is that there is a lot out there to choose from. Through research, it became clear that many of those focus on virtual sessions and most don’t offer a live option for a user to feel connected with others. We learned a lot about what a user expects from a booking and checkout process, and iterated that feature heavily. Moving forward, we would further test the latest iteration to find what further features users would desire.
There is a whole other aspect to the app as well, which would be the trainer-facing side. Initially we wanted to include this, but in reality that is an entirely different user and in some products such as Etsy, Wag, and Uber, it’s a different app. Creating that side would be a next step.
No one wants to wade through a lengthy checkout process, especially on mobile. There is a reason why Uber and Apple Pay do what they do.
Look out for the dreaded scope creep, and nip it in the bud! We had so many ideas about nutrition, wellness, meditation, etc. but focusing on the singular purpose of personal training made this an overall more finished and polished project.
Gather people of different ages and tech literacy for usability testing. I tested with my parents and with a classmate, and it was clear what was intuitive and what was clunky. There may be a target audience for a piece of technology, but it should be usable for everyone.