March - May 2019
Joyrun is a running app that focuses on the online marathon, building exercising community, sharing running activities, and providing personal training.
Joyrun has more than 25 million active users in China and deems as one of the top three running/ exercise apps on the market.
Problems we are facing:
However, Joyrun's market research and company data show several issues that the product is facing:
It has difficulty in attracting young generation users (people around 20s to 30s).
The "Online Marathon" feature has low daily active users.
More and more fitness apps are competing with Joyrun, so it is necessary for Joyrun to
develop a new feature.
As the design challenges required, we defined our users as
"People around 20s to 30s who conducted exercise".
We talked to potential users around 20s to 30s about their exercise habits and what features that attracted them to use an app.
Questions included but not limited to:
What is your occupation?
Do you exercise? Why?
What is your exercise habit?
Do you feel hard to continue exercise sometimes? Why?
What app do you use for exercise? Why?
What features are helpful for you to use that specific app?
Tell us apps that attract you to use continuously.
During the interviews, we found several problems with Joyrun:
Younger generation users prefer short exercises like stretching, while Joyrun is more focusing on long-distance running.
On the other hand, young generation users want to gain achievements through exercise. However, Joyrun requires users to put lots of effort into training to get a higher ranking.
Younger users don't want to start using a new fitness application while they already have records on other applications like Nike Run and Mint.
We also had unexpected findings during the interview section:
Even though college students and younger employees are both "younger generation users", they have different reasons for exercise based on their daily activities.
Students are more likely to exercise with their friends while younger employees hope to have "exercise buddies".
College students tend to consider exercise as a 'game' with achievements, while younger employees define exercise as a 'healthy habit' that helps them find friends.
College students have trouble finding motivations for exercise, while young employees are having trouble finding companies.
Younger generation users want to have interaction during exercise.
We separated users into three groups.
They are college students, young employees, and current Joyrun users.
College students were the first group of users. Based on our research, they were more tend to choose long-time exercise due to their flexible schedules. On the other hand, they preferred to share running records on social media platforms.
Young employees were the second group of potential users. They were facing more difficulties to exercise. Because of the regular working schedule, their exercise time was limited. Also, they wished to have a social life besides hanging out with co-workers.
Current Joyrun users were also relevant. They were tired of repeating use the same features to exercise. Moreover, they wished to have more existing elements to motivate them.
- Running at least four times a week.
- Share running progress on social media.
- Keep a habit of exercise once a day.
- Find a running community to motivate each other.
Persona#1: College student
Name: Alice Chen
Running level: Beginner
- Don't want to workout alone.
- Couldn't find a motivation to work out regularly.
- Hard to persist in running.
"I wish running can give me
a sense of achievement. "
- Establish a regular running habit.
- Record workout progress each time.
- Find people who're interested in running
- Improve workout results every time.
Persona#2: Young employee
Name: Jack Huang
Running level: Regular runner
- Couldn't attend long-term running task.
- Have limited social life during weekdays.
- Don't know people who have the same habit with him.
Alice is a student from Shanghai. She starts running recently. As a beginner, she couldn't always attend the long-term exercise. She feels lonely during exercise, which makes the long-term exercise even harder to insist. She expects a running community can help her at least exercise once a day. Also, she wants to know her running process so she can share it on her social media.
"I want to have quick feedback
and see how the workout
improves myself to feel motivated."
Jack is a full-time employee in Shanghai. He couldn’t have a regular workout habit because he has to engage in social activities with his colleagues. Jack wants to expand his social life and attend flexible workout tasks. Also, he believes he has chances to meet people who also want to have a running habit.
"I don't think exercise is just exercising itself.
I want to explore different possibilities. "
Persona#3: Current user
Name: Chloe Wang
Occupation: employee/current Joyrun user
Running level: High-level runner
- Feel tired about the same workout tasks
- Don't have another achievement except for the running length.
- Want to know if she's doing well in running.
- Want to see the achievement on the workout.
- Have accomplishments during the workout.
- Ask friends to run/exercise with her.
As a current user of Joyrun, Chloe gets a little bit tired of repeating the same running task every day. She wants to explore other methods of exercising, but she has no idea how to start. Meanwhile, she wants to see how she progress every single day.
We found the following phenomena based on user persona and interviews:
Sharing after exercise was essential for users. Most users shared exercising photos on social media apps through Joyrun or other apps.
Most interviewees mentioned video games can help them relax and kill time. This remained us that exercising was similar to the video game: users gained experience after each round, socialized with the team, fulfilled specific tasks, and improved gradually.
Instant reward and feedback were key elements to keep current users and attracted new users.
Most beginners assumed running would take a big chunk of time, which hesitated them to begin. It allowed us to make running fun and introduced a short time running experience.
We wanted to solve the problem by reaching these goals:
Attract younger generation users by connecting them with other new users.
Stimulate users to run instead of forcing them to exercise.
Promote short-period exercise to help users easily get to start with Joyrun.
Allow users to review their reward and feedbacks.
Add some game features to get users involved in the running environment.
Combine Joyrun's current features (avatars, shoes' reviews, limited-time activities, etc) with our new features.
We came up with an idea of introducing game and competition into exercise since Joyrun already had avatars and ranking system. Users will gain rewards and experiences after complete each task. Users can use rewards to purchase clothes and shoes for their avatars. After each competition, users can choose to share their results on other social media platforms.
We designed three features that matched users' needs.
The first function was specifically for new users. New users did not have any record when they started. So, the system will match them with other news users to compete. Users will get motivated by other competitors to complete tasks.
The second feature was for both new users and current users. We realized that current users still wanted to join the competition, but they refused to give up their previous records. Thus, it was crucial for them to upload their records and find a match competitor to complete the contest. New users with some records to upload were also welcome to this competition.
The third feature was similar to the "treasure chest" in a video game. Users can choose to complete tasks only without participate in competitions. They can get a pair of shoes for their avatars or exchange their running length with donations to charities.
Ranking Run Hi-Fi Prototype
We decided to develop the 'Ranking Run' section because of the following reasons:
The 'Quick Run' function has similar features with the Ranking Run.
We want to emphasize the game features that allow all users to participate in this section (Quick Run is more likely to be a feature for new users who want to gain some records).
The Ranking Run section covers most functions of Quick Run.
Why Attack vs. Defend feature? and what are they mean?
After several rounds of discussion, we believed a competition feature could both connect users and help them involve in the running environment.
For new users, they can use their previous record to join this game.
For current Joyrun users, they can also use their records to enter this game.
The attack represents that users can use their records to challenge other users who have a similar running speed to have a competition.
The defend means users are open to other's running challenge.
We believed that users won't feel lonely during this competition. They know someone is running with them through this game.
On the other hand, users can gain more achievements through this exercise process. They are not just exercise. They are also competing with other users, which gives them the motivation to participate running.
Ranking Run: Attack vs. Defend
Ranking Run: Running Time
Ranking Run: Upload Record
Ranking Run: Matching
Our main audiences remain to be young generation users, so based on user research, users can choose a short-term running exercise. The longest duration is one hour. Users have to upload their previous records to get a match competitor. After they finish choosing running durations, the system will automatically match them with competitors.
During the interview section, users believed that joining a running group would be a better way to stimulate them exercising. However, when they joined in a community, they saw many current users with a higher ranking. They started to lost confidence in running. Then we figured out that the primary intention of joining a community is to find companies. Users want to find someone who has a similar exercise level with them, so they won't feel pressure while exercising.
Thus, during the matching section, the system only selects users who have similar running levels and speed to have competitions. So both users have equal chances to win this game. Users have 5 seconds to decide if they want to join this competition or not.
Ranking Run: Matching Result
The Running Process:
During the competition, users can see their competitors' positions. Users will be noticed by the app when they are falling behind.
However, users couldn't stare at the phone during the running process, so we also provide sound notification for users who are using earphones during the running process.
Ranking Run: Running Process
We also considered that users like to listen to music during the running process. So users can choose to close the sound notification during the competition. On the other hand, if they want to have a system notification about their positions during the running, they will be notified when the game starts, the competitor is getting close, ahead of the competitor, 30 seconds left and game ends.
When users finish a competition, they will be neither win or lose. As we mentioned before, users don't like much pressure during this game. And the primary goal is to attract more users. So we will give winners lots of rewards. In the meantime, users who lost the game still gain coins as rewards.
Users can also choose to share exercise results on social media.
We gave users rewards and experience after they finish each game. So what are these rewards and experiences represent?
The experience will help users gain a higher ranking on their portfolios, which allows them to share these results on social media. Also, the level represents users' running progress.
So how to turn coins into something that stimulates users to exercise?
We went through the Joyrun and other game applications. The results showed that most games have a treasure box feature, which allows users to gain more experience or types of equipment. Based on Joyrun's ethos of promoting public service, we decided to combine the treasure box feature with public service as Challenge Run. However, it is different from the Ranking Run. Every activity has a time limitation. Users can also participate in these activities and get rewards.