I come from an athletic childhood, I was a gymnast for 18 years of my life; yet, ironically, I am no longer athletic. I have the desire to workout but the means and resources tend to elude me.
As I researched, I found out that gyms actually count on a certain percentage of members to not regularly workout. It is such a common behavior, that businesses are founded on our inability to follow through.
I came into this project with a foundation of personal experience and several assumptions about the world of fitness:
The next step was to determine what fitness seekers were currently doing to satiate their work out inclinations.
In order to narrow the topic down a bit, I reached out to a few people in the industry; both on the fitness providing side as well as the fitness seeking side. Some of my takeaways were:
Fitness is a two-sided marketplace; there are providers and there are consumers. Businesses like Zumba and Beachbody have grown and thrived on supporting their own networks of fitness providers.
I focused solely on self-driven work out options in the current market. (i.e. apps to download, YouTube, and sampling memberships like ClassPass)
Fitness has two distinct audiences: those creating and those consuming the fitness.
Is there a means to bring the two sides together? Could that be the product?
The majority of fitness seekers are open and excited to trying new ways to exercise.
Barrier to entry must be friction-less.
Recent trends have enabled self-driven and passionate fitness creators to strike out on their own.
Use incentives and simple UX to make the system intuitive and fitness-specific.
In the beginning, I was developing a digital product for gymnastics coaches to exchange ideas and inspiration with each other. Via sharing videos of skills and drills, the system would also allow for education growth and tracking of gymnasts' progress.
This initial work presented me with the groundwork and genesis of a product that evolved into MXD.
Once I refocused on the fitness world, the product was called Range of Movement. Below are the initial exercises I did to sort out who it was for, what it was, what information was important.
One large difference of the new evolution was the change from a primary/secondary user system to a dual-sided user ecosystem.
I worked through some exercises to determine the key moments of the product and user experience.
To this day, I'm still not sure what to call it; but this exercise gave me perspective on the scale of what I was attempting to make.
I had only focused on the Fitness Provider up to this point, dubbed The Creators. I needed to refocus on the Fitness Seekers, now called The Shakers. This led to the next generation of MXD, the app.
I challenged myself to find the simplest flow possible; I focused on the goal: to get a Shaker moving as quickly as possible.
A lot of this process cycled between UX research and UI investigations. Because the timeline for this particular part of the process was so crunched, I did begin designing a little too early in the process.
Below is the evolution of the information hierarchy and iterations.
In this first round of designs, I tried to include all information that I assumed (key word) was relevant to anyone who wanted to work out.
In the next generation of designs, I tried to maintain the same amount of information but reign in the use of color and symbolic infographics.
The third round took a large leap in terms of UX. A feature of the previous iterations was to rate how each workout made you feel. I took this idea of emotion, and put it to the front of the experience.
While the search via mood filter was highly interesting, it was more of a feature rather than a needed step in the process.
I went back to having pre-decided workout options, but only 1 per exercise level. It was important to me to not require a username in order to access any playlist as the first flow.
By embracing a cheeky vibe, and emphasizing the graphic visual direction I had developed, some mentors helped me realize that I could make this whole app much simpler.
This change in the information architecture and overall user experience was the missing puzzle piece to this app.
After developing, pitching, questioning, and defending MXD, the final product landed as a dual-platform system which would allow people to try, share, and create new ways to exercise and move with each other. This is not an MVP, but a visualized execution of how this product could potentially grow.
In order for MXD to come to life, there are a few different first steps that could be taken to create the MVP and generate interest.
My first goal would be set up some test material via YouTube, create a skinned system to tag and embed YouTube videos. This first test would give validation to: