Pidge – personal training app

Project Overview

Pidge is a health and fitness start-up. The word ‘Pidge’ is derived from the word for individual message boxes, or pigeon-holes, at university, and the original iteration of the app was developed for a sports’ team organisation.

However, after some preliminary research, it was decided to focus on producing an app for personal trainers, making the admin aspects of coaching and exercise faster, simpler and easier to manage. The founders were very keen for Pidge to ‘become the NHS of fitness and sports’.

Project Brief

I was tasked with developing the UX/UI of the app which at the time was very rudimentary. I identified areas where the product could be devloped and made more attractive and useful for potential customers.

The founders also asked me to design a desktop-compatible website version of the app.

My Role

I performed user research and competitor analysis, and created user flows, wireframes and prototypes. I initially worked on the project as part of my Product Design course at Experience Haus in 2019. The founders were keen to involve me further, in developing the UX/UI as well as the brand identity.

User Research

I interviewed a diverse range of potential users, both personal trainers and sports coaches as well as customers. The key takeaway was that, although there is a crowded marketplace, none of the existing products achieved all of the tasks that personal trainers needed, and often had technical glitches.

Competitor Analysis

As part of the competitor analysis, I looked at products aimed at sports teams, apps used by gyms to communicate with members, including how they booked sessions or classes, and those aimed at personal trainers.

Functionality was mixed, with the apps designed for teams faring best. All competitors allowed payment processing. User reviews showed often mentioned a poor user experience and technical glitches which affected its usability.

Personas

Based on the people I interviewed, I developed two personas. One was a personal trainer, Evie, who had a growing number of clients who she worked with at a local gym as well as independently. The second was Mano, a father of young children who is struggling to find time to exercise.

User stories

Having interviewed a wide range of potential users, both personal trainers/coaches and clients, I was able to create some user stories, having placed myself in the users’ shoes.

Coach/personal trainer

– As a user, I’d like to spend less time on admin every day (currently 2-3 hours), by finding an app that allows me to communicate with my clients, and simplifies my session planning

– As a user, I’d like to have a section that shows clients their past performance, improvement and goals

Client

– As a user, I’d like to be able to instantly book sessions with my PT and change them if necessary, without needing to wait for a confirmation text

– As a user, I’d like to see how many sessions I’ve attended, what my PT has prepared for the next session, and my progress over the last few months – I think that would be a great incentive!

Key research takeaways

– Many fitness admin apps are let down by poor functionality

– Some apps do a few things well, especially those used by gyms for communicating with their clients, class booking, etc.

– The least successful apps are those aimed at self-employed coaches and personal trainers and this gap could be exploited

– The brief mentioned looking at including the nutrition side of exercise, but it is very well served by MyFitnessPal which has a vast database, and most PTs point their clients towards it

– Amongst coaches and PTs, opinion is divided about monetising product recommendations. Therefore it would be inadvisable for this to be the only revenue stream

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