A mobile app design and user research report for Athens Health & Fitness Gym
Adobe XD, Google Forms and Analytics, Canva
UX Designer, Researcher
5 weeks (Summer 2022)
As an avid member of Athens Health & Fitness (AHF) and independent UX/UI Designer, I saw an opportunity for technological development within their systems. I took the initiative to work with AHF to develop a mobile app to best serve their members and represent their brand. I created a prototype of the app using Adobe XD, featuring membership portals, direct contact with personal trainers, weekly news, workout classes information and sign-ups, and an updated view of current occupancy at the gym. Before development, my partner and I conducted user research to indicate user motives and guide direction for the product.
The challenge is to identify a problem and fix it with a digital solution. In this case, the solution should be accessible to all existing gym members, controlled by staff, and easily modified for updates.
We created the first mobile app for AHF, which would provide updated information to members, be accessible to staff members for control, and establish a stronger connection between members and the recreational gym.
The Design Process
Through intentional and considerate surveys and interviews, we planned to gather general demographic data and information on current user experiences so that we could apply the findings to the design. The following considerations were made when crafting both the survey and interview questions:
- Collect relevant demographic data
- Be concise and intentional with questions
- Distribute survey to Athens Health & Fitness members
- Conduct interviews of non- Athens Health & Fitness members
- Discover User Motives
- Understand User Pain Points
- Find Direction
Our research was conducted in person and over zoom. We used Google Forms and supplementary analytics to assist in our documentation.
While preparing for and conducting surveys and interviews, we encountered a variety of roadblocks and perspectives to take into consideration. Including:
- Sample Size
- Relevant Questions
I drafted the survey, including 32 questions of a diverse range in format. I intentionally included different types of questions for the specific data we sought out. I created multiple choice questions for hard data we wanted for close-ended questions, such as demographics. Free-response questions are included for questions in which respondents would likely have more of an emotion-invoked response. Likert scale questions and rating questions are used to measure respondents‘ attitudes and find consistent patterns across their responses. The survey was thoughtfully designed and created as a Google Form with a spreadsheet set as the response destination. Due to time constraints and the project pivot, we struggled to receive over 15 usable responses. We recognized the smaller sample and took it into consideration for our analysis of the research.
3 people of the target audience were selected and interviewed for 30-50 minutes in length, depending on conversations and length of responses. The interviewees consisted of young gym members, involved in three separate gyms in the Athens area. We chose these people as we believe their demographic aligns with the target audience of those who are members of AHF and would be likely using the redesigned website. The interview was conducted over zoom and recorded for further note-taking and analysis.
“My gym lists all the classes online weeks in advance. It helps when I really have to plan every aspect of my day ahead of time.”Aaron Mckinn, 22 yrs old
Based on our interviews and survey data, I crafted two personas representing our target stakeholders.
From initial observations and assumptions, I brainstormed how I would design the mobile app and what should be included. This included:
- access to workout classes
- QR code for entry to the facility
- weekly news & promotional info
The prototype was designed in Adobe XD using the brand’s existing style guide.
*Here is the final prototype:
After conducting surveys and interviews and analyzing the data, we determined that our results allowed us to accurately depict the target user in for which we are designing. The key takeaways include:
- Clear Demographic
- Defined Problems
- Expressed Passion
- Future Plan
- 60% said that AHF does not update them with news or class info
- 60/40 split between using the website at least once per week (60) and not using it at all! (40)
- 60% responded positively to having more information on group classes online
- 53% reported they would prefer more information on personal training online
- 80% visit the gym 4-6 times per week
All surveyors have NEVER used the group classes available at the gym!
During the journey of this project, we received feedback detailing the main issue of a mobile app for AHF: the lack of a UX team to carry on the needed updates of the app after our work. We wished to create a long-lasting product that would serve AHF for a lifetime and positively impact their members. Without a team that can support this app’s continuity, the mobile app would not be an impactful product.
PIVOT: We shifted into the mindset of creating a website for the gym, and before jumping into designing a prototype, we conducted user research to gauge the product’s potential.
From our findings, there is an obvious need for technology and higher levels of communication. However, several members are not interested in the current offerings and and skeptical of the value in a new website. This is not the findings we wished to uncover, but extremely valuable in determining to halt development.
I added value to AHF by designing a recommended mobile app prototype, which would attract new customers and increase their customer satisfaction. Through research, I concluded the project would be non-sustainable and not desired enough to yield a positive result from investments, and saved the company from potential annual costs of $120,000 for updates with small returns in customer satisfaction.
If I could go back to the beginning of this project, I would spend more time during the brainstorming process and invest in research much earlier. I learned the importance of user research in the design process, as it can affect the overall success of a product. Without understanding the audience, there will be a gap of information needed for design. It’s okay for your ideas to pivot and even fail. It’s all apart of the design process, and it’s better to fail early on than later in a development stage. As the American actress said,
“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.”— Mary Lou Cook
If I’m not taking risks and making mistakes, am I truly applying my creativity?