Improving Fitness Bootcamps
It's hard work to get in good shape, but running or finding a fitness bootcamp shouldn't be.
A Friend in Need
Recently, my personal trainer shared his story of failed attempts to organize his fitness bootcamps. He was eager to learn what was he doing wrong and what can be done to improve his process. Naturally, I offered to help find a solution to his problem.
I was responsible for the research, interaction design, visual design, copywriting, branding and rapid-prototyping for ‘CampFit’ - an easy-to-use tool that would basically help personal fitness trainers run their bootcamps and get paid.
Learn Everything Fitness
My lack of domain knowledge meant I had to grasp the nature of fitness services thoroughly and quickly. I approached all aspects of the project collaboratively and spent most of my time working alongside personal trainers at the gym, online trainers and potential clients.
Throughout the project I conducted ethnographic research and used participatory design methods. This approach was necessary to understand the process of personal trainers when they're organizing and running bootcamps. As well as get a good picture of what people go through when they want to attend fitness bootcamps.
Connecting the Dots
What I learned was that the tools for organizing classes and fitness bootcamps, that are being utilized by personal trainers, don't offer the level of satisfaction expected nowadays.
In addition to my original quest for solving my friend's problem, I saw an opportunity to expand the user base. My new goal was to understand the challenges not only Trainers, but also Participants faced when it comes to fitness bootcamps.
Trainers are getting frustrated about the lack of customized tools for their fitness business.
Trainers don't like the fact that it's very difficult to find and keep clients.
Trainers would really love a feature that would provide the exact number of participants for a bootcamp.
Trainers are not happy with their current process because almost everything is done manually through a combination of multiple tools (long email threads, social networks, etc) without any flexible payment options.
People are looking for quality trainers to reach their desired fitness goals, and are having a hard time finding the right trainers.
People want to join fitness bootcamps that fit their level, but also that are close to them.
Reviews & References
People would like to know what other people say about the trainer and his/her bootcamps, before joining.
It's 2017 - people expect flexible payment options, other than cash.
Better Utilization of Mobile Technology
My vision was to create an easy-to-use tool that allowed Personal Trainers to organize and manage their bootcamps with minimum effort. At the same time this tool would provide Participants with the right info about trainers, locations, reviews and the payment flexibility when choosing to attend a bootcamp.
Due to the highly personal nature of smartphones, utilizing mobile technology and building a mobile app seemed like a logical solution.
One Phase at a Time
Since there are two main user groups - the app will attend to user's needs based on whether the user is a Trainer or a Participant.
Although my vision was to create an easy-to-use tool for both Trainers and Participants, the first user group would be Trainers. They will be the first to test out the app with their current clients, and begin populating the Participants.
Instead of trying to complete everything at once, I decided to split the project into two phases, that would still allow the app to grow while providing a tangible benefit to the end users.
Research & Data Analysis
Learn about the problems Trainers and Participants face when it comes to fitness bootcamps.
Analyze and map out userflows. Sketch initial wireframes for the required functionality.
Design & Prototype
Design branding material and UI visual language. Test the prototype.
Trainers Only MVP
Beta Launch for Trainers only to start testing the app and populating the list of Participants.
Conduct a small survey from the existing user group to see how they like or dislike the app.
Address any bugs or necessary adjustments based on the user feedback.
Launch the Participants version of the app.
Continiously monitor user data and performance of the mobile app.
Putting It All Together
Before starting any design work, I spent a great deal of time making sense of userflows and the nature of content. This involved a lot of task analysis. There were a number of challenges with labelling and terminology as I found that language varied between Trainers and Participants.
Since the goal of the app was to cater to both Trainers and Participants, I had to be careful in designing core features that would benefit both sides, without bloating up the app with irrelevant features that could be found in other applications.
To better understand the processes involved in organizing and attending bootcamps, I mapped userflows on paper for both Trainers and Participants. Doing so helped me to understand the particular points where the app could help minimise some of the pain as well as highlight opportunities where I could really try to innovate.
Once the sketches were done and I had a good understanding of the userflows, I started wireframing. I used rapid prototyping techniques to bring the designs to life and evaluate them with the users. Testing many concepts helped me form a broader view of the system earlier ensuring a more cohesive design.
To move forward with the design I used Photoshop to create detailed mockups. With this approach I could easily share the design process with future users and get early feedback on branding, visuals, and UI.
Prototyping & Testing
I used the InVision app to bring my designs to life as a working prototype. Working with the InVision app and the flexible features it has was an effective way of solving the Interaction Design. I worked collaboratively with users, tested constantly and iterated progressively.
CampFit is a mobile app that assists Personal Trainers to establish a convenient way of handling class organization, communication, payments, notifications and updates with their clients. The app also helps Participants to find proper Trainers for their specific needs and compare stats and reviews.
Easy Bootcamp Creation and Client Notification
The whole process of creating a new bootcamp and inviting Participants takes less than a minute. The goal was to provide a process that is so clear to the user, that no extra explanation would be required, especially during the first launch of the app.
Personal Trainers have the capability to monitor and track their earnings, client engagement, class popularity and adjust depending on the goals they're trying to achieve.
Bootcamps are categorized by location, tags, and trainer name. Users can search by location or any of the tags and get the right info to make an informed decision which bootcamp to join.
Users have the option to message each other directly, without utilizing a 3rd party app. This ensures all communication is kept inside the app.
Positive Reviews and a Long Road Ahead
A small group of early testers raved about the app and said that the app would significantly improve their current process of running bootcamps and client management.
The average time spent on creating a bootcamp and inviting clients has reduced by 90%. Adding new clients and keeping up communication with them is easier than ever.
Trainers don't have to guess anymore how many people are coming to the bootcamp, since the app handles the process of accurate attendance by tying it directly to fast prompt payment once the Participant decides to join a bootcamp.
I am happy with the initial reviews, but there is still a lot of work ahead to ensure CampFit becomes the go-to tool when it comes to fitness bootcamps. The app is currently in development with a soft launch planned for the end of 2017.
“With this app I can save time and make money while doing what I love!”
Randy R.Personal Trainer — Calisthenics & HIIT
What I Learned
I was surprised to learn how complicated the bootcamp process was for some trainers, partly due to the lack of tools. At first, I was excited to populate the app with every little feature I could think of, but realized that by keeping only the necessary core functionality I will minimize the learning curve and reduce any confusion.
One of the biggest challenges for me was to really hear what Trainers and Participants struggled with. Instead of simply pouring in solutions from my previous expereinces, I listened hard to the personal stories to analyze the points of frustration.
Throughout the project I kept reminding myself not to rush through the process just to "get something out the door". Instead I approached each feature with a lead question: "Why is it important to the user?". This led me to understand the importance of critical features of the app and focus on what's really important to the user.