MyGymPals: creating a mobile app in 10 days
A mobile app to socialize and gamify fitness
I came into the project at an interesting time. They were scrapping everything in order to start over. The clients were not happy with the previous progress and needed to regroup. That's fair. However, they needed a delivered design in 10 days or less to announce the app at the September 2016 Crunchies. The pressure was on!
The business problem
The business problem was simple, in my opinion. The app needed to captivate the user to return and continuously check in in order to reap the rewards. The rewards were to be based on social components, gamification and rewards from gyms or participating companies. Sounds like a whole lot of fun for power users!
The target audience was people who wanted to be better at keeping fit. But that's vague. S let em break it down for you a little further: 70% female, 30% male, in their 20s and 30s, living in California or New York City area, medium income (~ 30k to 100k). It was a good exercise for me to separate myself out of the target audience because I fit that perfectly.
The design problem
The design problem was a whole other ball game. In order to create this app in less than 10 days, something had to give. As a team, we decided to cut irrelevant features. We focused on the essentials of the app in order to make them the best and strongest experiences. There were five different elements to the app. We took each of them apart in order to cut out as many unnecessary things. The process was pretty straightforward.
The design process
Within the first five days went more or less like this:
- Pick an area
- Discuss it
- Come to some sort of consensus
- Mock up a quick prototype
- Approve it or make small tweaks.
- Rinse repeat.
The discussion part was key. The four of us, two clients, PM and I, would talk for hours each day. Throwing ideas around. Most often, we threw things out the window too. It was key in order to get the best possible app in such a time. We scrapped everything we could. We were under a tremendous deadline but the number one rule was not to sacrifice the user experience.
Within five days, we went over all five aspects of the app to create a solid prototype. I was very impressed by our teamwork.
The five pillars of MyGymPals
Teams can be made up of just a few of your friends who like to go for morning runs, a gym like LA Fitness, or a local studio like the yoga studio you pop in ever once in a while. The first team you join is based on proximity. It's most likely going to be your local gym. Once you join a gym, you get connected to all its members.
2. Network of friends
Leverage the network of friends in order to join other teams or challenges. That's the social aspect of this. You need to know someone in order to join a gym you never attend or to try an activity for the first time. If you've never done Muay Thai kickboxing, it's best to give it a try with a pal ;)
3. Activities and challenges
Activities were small commitments like attending a morning yoga class, checking in at the gym, or going for a run. Challenges were more long term commitment like running a marathon or losing 3 pounds in two weeks. To prove the activity was taking place, you had to take a photo and post it to the appropriate team. If you claimed you were at the yoga class but it was a photo of your dog, people reported you. In turn, you lost points. The more activities and the more challenges you accumulated, the more points and badges you gained. O, my favourite part was to limit the amount of challenges you could do at any given time. It's a max of three. Complete one to enter another.
Feeds are everywhere. The home screen of the app is the feed of everything relevant to you. All your teams or friends' activities happen here. Your friends have feeds. Your teams have feeds. Pretty standard.
The profile is your own track record. Of course, it's a feed of all the different thing you've been participating in. It should have a fantastic photo of yourself and your various stats like how many points you've gathered or how many badges.
The visual design beginning
Once we wrapped up the UX and the prototype, it was time to move onto the visuals. I spent a day with one of the clients to figure out what they wanted as far as the aesthetic goes. First things first, I got him to participate in an exercise where we picked a few adjectives to describe the feeling a user should have while using the app. The first adjective, of course, was fun. We had a "fun" discussion as to why that's vague and we came up with the following:
Seamless / Easy
Accomplished / Rewarding