During a two-month period, I completed a case study on COVID-19's impact on the physical activity of Canadian millennials. Following the Design Thinking process, I took on a user-centred approach through design decisions based on research, user interviews, and usability testing. This resulted in MVP, a mobile app connecting fitness enthusiasts with their friends for "virtual" workout sessions.
Lead UX/UI Designer
During the pandemic, social restrictions and gym closures caused me to exercise less, and become unmotivated. Thus, I sought to understand whether this affected others, and if it could be solved through a digital solution. I found out 49% of Canadians faced the same impact to their routines, and only 29% met the recommended 2.5 hours of weekly exercise (for its health benefits), down from 38% pre-pandemic.
With my research in hand, I needed to validate whether this data was true. Therefore, I conducted user interviews with five Canadian millennials, whose routines were impacted by COVID-19. These revealed detailed insights made up of three themes, one of which was selected as a key theme to focus on.
It was clear that social interaction resulted in motivation & accountability. However, to provide a more elaborate portrayal of my interviewees, I created a persona that encapsulated their goals and pain points. I also designed an experience map depicting the end-to-end journey for this persona to find exercise motivation; it is when they feel discouraged that a digital solution could intervene.
How would a solution that include features like exercise routines and connecting with others benefit the persona? To explore this, I authored user stories for a fitness app that describe how its features deliver value to the persona. These stories (some displayed below), were categorized into epics, with one chosen as the primary epic for the app's task flow, as it closely aligned with the key theme.
How does the epic, Staying Connected, align with the theme, Motivations to Exercise? Exercising with others was a big motivation, and this resulted in an opportunity to design a Task Flow where users could workout & connect with friends. Additionally, this task addresses the persona's goal (connect with friends through fitness) and pain point (unmotivated if exercising alone).
I began sketching app screens and designing them into mid-fidelity wireframes using Figma, drawing inspiration from Discord, Instagram, FaceTime. After prototyping using InVision, it was ready for user testing to discover more about my users, usability issues and opportunities for design improvements.
Over two separate rounds, I recruited five people per round to test my prototype through a non-leading approach to questioning. I asked them to complete the main task flow: add a friend, send a message, select an exercise routine, begin the "virtual" workout. By the end of each round, I obtained quality feedback that were used to improve the app's usability experience.
"What about the app's visuals?", you might ask. Using keywords like "connected" and "fitness", I created a moodboard and extracted colours to define the brand. Pairing this with a modern sans-serif font, Bai Jamjuree, I also formed the wordmark MVP, an acronym for motivation, vision & purpose. All of these decisions were made to capture the interest of target users.
With the addition of colours, type and a wordmark to my wireframes, I also continued making iterations to the app screens to improve the overall user experience. This resulted in the final prototype for MVP, a fitness app connecting people for "virtual" workouts by conveying feelings of motivation, vision, and purpose.
What would this app look like if used on another device? Accessibility is one of the most important aspects to consider for design, which is why I replicated the virtual workout screen onto an iPad. This would be beneficial on a larger screen, especially when video calls are used.
Through extensive research, wireframing, prototyping & constant iterations, I took a user-centred problem and created a user-centred solution. Although I followed the design thinking process to the dot, I found myself going back and forth between stages to ensure I was validating my design decisions.
Specifically, I learned to: trust the process, as things are always changing or updating at all stages of a case study, continue iterating, because designs should be based on company goals & user needs, and lastly, obtain feedback, as input & critique from others could result in a better overall user-centred product.
“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” - Steve Jobs
“If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.” - Albert Einstein