I conducted a case study that focused on a problem space involving COVID-19's impact on Canadian millenials' physical activity. I designed MVP, a mobile app that connects fitness enthusiasts with their friends for "virtual" workouts. It is intended for those who enjoy exercising with others, which is beneficial especially during periods where face-to-face interaction is limited. The design thinking process is followed here, as it adopts a user-centred approach at each stage, which is important when designing a digital solution.
Lead UX/UI Designer
As a fitness enthusiast myself, I was affected by COVID-19's impact on social interaction and gym closures. I exercised less, and felt unmotivated doing it alone. Therefore, I did some secondary research to understand if other Canadian millennials were affected, and whether this issue was solvable through digital intervention.
A sedentary lifestyle from reduced physical activity could pose health concerns . Therefore, to direct my focus into the right direction for digital intervention, I asked myself this underlying question:
To validate my research, I conducted interviews with five Canadian millenials whose exercise routines were impacted by the pandemic. Questions were related to exercise, its impact on their lives, and how COVID-19 affected them, which allowed me to understand what they were going through. Three themes emerged from this.
What was the underlying issue that affected their routines? Evidently, it was exercising with friends that would be their biggest motivation. Thus, I developed a key insight that would address this via a user-centred solution.
As a visual representation of my interviewees, I created a persona, which was organized from my findings to identify the key goals, pain points and motivations.
To understand where this persona would look for exercise motivation, I designed an Experience Map to depict the end-to-end journey, and it is at the feeling of disappointment where a digital solution can intervene.
Now I wondered how a digital solution would benefit my target user. Based on a hypothetical fitness app, I authored user stories that described how the app tasks would deliver value back to the user. These stories were grouped into high-level categories called Epics.
Since exercising with friends was the main source of motivation for my persona, I selected two user stories from the Staying Socially Connected epic (add a friend and workout with them) to design a Task Flow. This main task addresses one of the persona's goal (to connect with his friends through fitness), pain point (does not enjoy exercising alone) and also aligns with his top motivations (connectedness & accountability).
Using the Task Flow diagram, I began sketching the main task into app screens, based on inspiration from other apps (i.e. Discord, Instagram, FaceTime). The next step was to translate these into a mid-fidelity wireframe with Figma and prototype with InVision.
In this final step of the Design Thinking Process, I recruited ten people (over two rounds) to test my mid-fidelity prototype. I asked them to complete the main task flow, as illustrated previously: add a friend > send a message > begin a virtual workout > select a routine. The usability feedback I received were used for screen iterations.
Once my mid-fidelity prototype was tested and iterated, I decided on the branding for the app curated from images found using inspiration keywords. The app's colour palette, extracted from these images, should create a deep connection with my target user that draws them in.
The sans-serif type Bai Jamjuree was chosen, as it complemented the brand as a modern-style typeface, and used as a base to create the wordmark: MVP. This acronym is formed from a few keywords (Motivation, Vision & Purpose). Then using brand colours, I designed a flat logo, as it is minimal and familiar with iOS users.
Prior to incorporating my mid-fidelity wireframes with the colour palette & typography, I iterated a few more screens for increased user intuitiveness. What I ended up with was a hi-fidelity prototype of MVP, a digital fitness app that conveys motivation, vision and purpose, which are feelings that resonate with my target users.
In addition to the full design thinking process, I also considered accessibility through the use of a larger screen, which is important especially when video calling is utilized.
Applying the entire design thinking process allowed me to understand how a user-centred problem, through in-depth research & constant iterations, can be solved with a user-centred solution. Consequently, I gained some important key learnings from this case study.
1. Trust the Process: I had doubts in the beginning, and things were not connecting, but I stuck to my gut and kept looking towards the end goal.
2. Obtain Feedback: It was important for me to constantly ask for input, otherwise I would have been in a "silo". UX involves receiving critique for work-in-progress designs.
3. Always Iterate: I continued iterating designs based on company goals & user needs, as I realized that design decisions should not rely on a designer's opinion, but the user's.