"It's hard to keep track of how many reps you can do for time, or how much you usually deadlift. This app keeps it all organized and tracked for you"
The app we’re developing will help users keep track of their lifting exercises. It will track weight, repetitions, sets, and body exercise targets. The app should also keep the information it tracks organized. Users should be able to login and create, review, update and delete data on their workouts. They should be able to name the exercises and change the data. Stretch goals will be the ability to upload progress pics by date, and visualize data of progress over time.
I will conduct competitor research and build upon that data with user interviews to see what our competitors are getting right(or wrong). After that I will create a persona researched from user interviews and surveys to run through user journeys and user flows to discover insights which will inform the product design.
How lightweight should the app feel?
How comprehensive do we want to get with the user data?
Will the app be paid or free?
Will this app focus exclusively on weight lifting or are we going to allow the user to record other exercises as well?
That session felt like it had a very excited atmosphere to it. I like that my interviewees were both very excited to talk to me about their workout habits. It honestly made my job so much easier.
The top three unexpected things I learned was actually about solutions that they were using that I had no idea of or were just beyond the scope of my imagination. For example Carla using a live trainer to address her motivation issues really opened my eyes to the amount of services we could offer.
Another one was Justin talking about his watch “being everything.” When he spoke about his watch and how didn’t like carrying his phone around the gym it really opened my eyes and forced me to consider interfaces beyond just a phone.
Nico Garcia Interview
Nico is one of my closest friends so I kind of already knew how the interview was going to go as we talk about health and fitness often. As a result the interview session felt more like a formality and was more relaxed than my other interviews.
The top three things I learned was that he actually doesn’t like lifting, has motivation issues if he’s working out by himself, and at the moment he doesn’t record his lifts but in the future he plans to when he has more time to get serious about lifting weights.
From this interview I thought up of a mechanic where the users can just pick an entire workout day and mark it as finished without having to go all the way into each specific exercise and mark if they’ve done it to save time. This will have a negative impact for motivation but will save time. It will leave room for a lot of dropped sets but a token gesture is better than no tracking at all.
Identifying Problems and Pain Points
Premium Feature Bloat
I’m mainly talking about the big players here. Gym Shark, FitBod, and MyFitnessPal all have powerful feature suites that belong on a desktop, not a mobile app. MyFitnessPal in particular is a huge offender of this, as it offers so many features like a message board, blog, food tracking, cardio, and lifts in addition to descriptions and constant push notifications.
Our app can solve these problems by focusing on being really good at one thing: tracking weight lifting sets. Working out shouldn’t be confusing, it should be straightforward.
Lengthy signup and onboarding process
This is actually a consequence of the first problem I identified. As a consequence of the features included in the app they require you to go through a lengthy setup process for features most people don’t even use. The Gymshark app asks for your current weight, height, and gender. I understand these are BMI metrics but they should be optional not mandatory.
Our app will hit hard and fast, focusing on usage and hiding everything else behind a menu. Working out is already mentally draining. Exercise software should imitate its real-life counterparts. Athletic equipment and wearables are all minimal, light, and utilitarian.
Subscription model is a pain
Going with our current theme, having a recurring subscription for a gym app conflicts with what users want. MyFitnessPal, Fitbod, and the GymShark app all charge monthly for what essentially boils down to a log book.
WeightLiftingJournal will focus on being a light but utilitarian system. What I’m envisioning will be a one-time-purchase app $4.99 - $6.99 with no other strings attached.
Expert lifters are being ignored
Most of the competition is geared toward beginners-intermediate exercisers. They include a lot of videos and information but most of the time that content is lacking. The Gymshark app in particular has really good presentation but when experienced lifters are presented with the content it comes off as really watered down.
This could be solved through two ways. At the start the app could ask the user what their experience is with lifting and if they need illustrations/descriptions of a movement, or if they can handle everything with just a quick icon explaining the movement.
Customization is lacking
Users want to be able to create their own routines with their own movements. Most fitness apps are offering pre-built routines but more advanced users do prefer custom inputs.
Our app should have a mix of both, offering standard routines, such as nSuns 531, 5x5. Users should be able to log in an exercise, movement, or routine in three taps or less, and we could employ user flow testing to arrive to that goal.