RallyUP aims to empower new gym members that identify as female through workout guides and community connections at their local gym.

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Project Overview

Project Type: Academic, BrainStation
Timeline: 8 weeks
Role: UX Researcher, Product Designer (UX/UI)
Tools: Figma, InVision, POP app
Read time: ~ 20 min.

During my time at BrainStation as a UX Design student, I was tasked with completing an individual capstone project that encompassed an end-to-end UX design process. It challenged me to apply my understanding of course material and gave me the first opportunity to develop a mobile digital product based for the problem space of my choosing. I learned something new at each stage of the process and am happy to share my work, along with key learnings and next steps!

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Approach to the Challenge

If you know a bit about me, I’m driven by purposeful work that creates positive impact on the world around me. My goal with this challenge was to build a product that can truly make a difference in people’s lives within a given problem space, so I leveraging Human Centered Design Thinking to guide my design process and decision-making. As I went through this framework, it enabled me me to deeply understand the problem space, explore potential solutions and gave me the flexibility to circle back to previous ideas and discoveries.


Discovery of Problem Space

Physical Health and Wellness

It’s reported that the fitness industry is worth $96.7 billion globally however, more than a quarter of the world’s adult population (1.4 billion people) are insufficiently active. With an industry that makes a significant influence on everyone’s health and wellness, it’s vital to create designs that make a positive impact for people’s health and well-being. So, let’s do exactly that!

Secondary Research

Current State of the Fitness Industry

The fitness industry was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic with a 44% decrease in the overall industry. However, it’s already rebounding with positive macro signals and expects full recovery by 2024. To better understand what is happening in this industry, I took a deeper look at relevant consumer trends to gain a preliminary understanding of their behaviours and attitudes.

While it might be assumed that most gym customers are male, the number of female gym-goers has increased over the years, now making up more than half of gym-goers.
The pandemic has sparked a surge in fitness technology, with millennials being the heaviest users, particularly women. Consumers are looking for innovative ways to support their fitness journey.
During the pandemic, physical activity levels significantly reduced, while sedentary behaviours increased. Health and wellness is a priority now more than ever post-pandemic.

From here, I asked myself 2 questions to gain a better understanding:

As in-person gym facilities return, what are consumer’s attitudes and behaviours towards becoming a member?
With more females attending the gym, what does their experience look like?

Key takeaways that influenced my design decisions

New gym members have low retention rates, so the solution should be geared towards addressing the needs and concerns of new gym-goers. By focusing on the unique challenges and motivations of this user group, it may be possible to improve retention rates and support the long-term success of new gym members.
Females make up a significant portion of the gym membership customer base, but remain underrepresented in the industry. By prioritizing the experiences and concerns of those who identify as female, we can address the unique challenges of this user group, ultimately leading to more inclusive and equitable outcomes for all members of the gym community.
GenZ and millennials have a strong focus on health and wellness, and tend to utilize fitness apps more frequently than other age groups. Given this trend, it is advisable to design the digital solution with a specific focus on the needs and preferences of individuals aged 18-30.

Primary Research

Understanding the User

To understand the “why” behind these trends and what they need, I conducted three 40 minute interviews with new gym goers that identify as female between the ages of 18 to 30. My goal was to understand their motivations, pain points and other factors that influence their experience at the gym. I was able to organize the data into an affinity map and found the following key themes:

Since every gym beginner feels a knowledge gap, they would turn to their friends for help. Women can feel motivated when they see other women working out in a male-dominated environment
Knowledge and confidence has a direct correlation because participants reported that once they had more experience and knowledge, they felt more confident and motivated
Beginners tend to feel really motivated and determined in the beginning to make a difference. However, they find it hard to stay consistent and motivated after going for a while.

From everything I learned so far about the fitness industry, being inclusive is not their strong suit. Even those with an athletic background experience barriers when starting a gym membership. The initial step towards closing that gender gap and being more inclusive can be to simply make people feel more comfortable and confident to go, which is the theme I chose to focus on. So, how might we...

How Might We...

help women feel more comfortable and confident at the gym so that they can achieve their fitness goals?


User Persona

Thinking from the User’s Perspective

From my key research insights, I was able to get a better sense of who my user is. I crafted a user persona by thinking from their perspective, in order to guide the rest of my design process.

Experience Map

Identifying Moments of Opportunities

I also created an experience map to understand a new gym-goers experience from beginner to end. This helped me identify key moments of opportunities that will influence where my digital product can play a role in their journey.

Competitive Analysis

How is technology being used already?

Now that I know exactly who I’m designing for and narrow down my focus within the market, I took a moment to step back and do a bit more research. I wanted to understand, what is already out there for my users and what is missing. I focused specifically on apps that aid people at in person gym facilities and spoke with some people in the fitness industry to get a sense of what works or doesn’t work.

Key takeaways that influenced my design decisions

A lack of knowledge and guidance is a major obstacle to gym participation, resulting in feelings of discomfort and inadequacy as individuals may be uncertain of how to effectively utilize the gym equipment or effectively pursue their fitness goals. To address this, the digital solution can offer comprehensive guidance and knowledge as a key feature, in order to facilitate a smoother and more successful experience for beginners.
Friends and community support is a powerful motivator for my user it's where they would get help for performing exercises and achieving progress. Our competitive analysis also revealed that there is a lack of social features within fitness apps, so we can design a product to enhance the connection between gym members and the people at their local facility. By fostering a sense of community and social support, users may be more likely to maintain their commitment to their fitness journey.
There is an opportunity to improve onboarding and engagement with new members using digital touchpoints, according to the experience map. By facilitating a more seamless and engaging onboarding experience with digital touchpoints, gym facilities may be able to better retain their members and enhance the overall value of their services. Not only does this help the customer, but it provides a tool for the business to service and connect with their customers more.


User Stories + Epics

Ideating features for female gym beginners

After conceptualizing the solution based on research findings and the current gap in the market, I started to build user stories to guide the features of the app. These stories address what Casey would need to feel more comfortable and confident at the gym based on the primary data gathered. I authored 28 user stories and organized them into 4 functional epics:

Gym Guidance
Community Support
Membership Experience
Fitness Progress

Task Flow Selection

Building a Minimum Viable Product

From the user stories, I narrowed down a specific task that would be helpful for our user and comprehensive enough for a minimum viable product. My users expressed that confidence is gained through experience and having enough knowledge to know exactly what to do when arriving.
The task flow below shows the steps a user would take to plan their next gym session. This task is aimed to get gym beginners used to creating a plan to guide them in order to avoid feeling lost and confused at the gym. To keep the aspect of community, the task will also include inviting friends to that workout plan so they aren’t doing it alone.

Throughout the prototyping and testing process, I continuously went back and made changes to the task flow to fit the user’s preferences. Below are the 3 versions of the task flow as I went through the rest of the process.


Exploratory & Solution Sketches

Sketching Solutions

Once I had a clear task flow to build an MVP, I began building it by sourcing inspiration from existing digital products to sketch potential UI components, patterns and interactions. I explored popular fitness apps such as MyFitnessPal, to identify popular interactions so I can create an intuitive experience for new users. I also drew inspiration from productivity apps for the planning and scheduling a workout feature, as well as apps with search engines to create a database of exercises this app would carry. From there, I narrowed down a solution sketch for each screen that encompassed the ideas from my exploratory sketches and UI inspiration.

Low fi wireframe

Refining the Idea

From the chosen solution sketch, I refined the idea further by creating the first greyscale prototype. This allowed me to quickly iterate and test out components, layouts, information hierarchy and screen flows before moving forward with a visual identity. Here is where I also decided I need to revise the task flow to cater to my audience. The original idea was for the user to start building their own work out by adding exercises to a schedule, however since lack of knowledge and understanding was one of the key pain points of my target audience, this would not be helpful for them.

View Initial Prototype


Usability Testing

Gathering Feedback

With the initial prototype complete, I conducted two rounds of usability tests with a total of 10 users to obtain practical, real-time feedback. The users were asked to complete 5 tasks when interacting with the prototype, enabling me observe their thoughts and behavior to improve the usability.
To synthesize this data, I adopted a usability matrix map to prioritize the issues and feedback my users came across during the test. The most important issue users had during the first round was confusion around how to customize and edit the workout plan, as the swiping interactions were not very intuitive. Below are the changes made addressing various usability issues identified in the first round:

View Prototype Version 2

The second round continued to give valuable insights, as users were now able to complete the task of customizing the workout plan easily. An important issue that came up this round was error prevention. Since the app has a lot of interactions to save, edit and schedule workout plans, there is room for error.Below are the changes made addressing various usability issues identified in the second round:

View Prototype Version 3


Branding and UI Design

Visual Identity Development

After ensuring the usability and idea of the product was feasible, I translated the greyscale prototype into a high-fidelity prototype by developing and applying a visual identity to my digital product. To establish a brand that my users can connect with, I began by writing a list of keywords that this product should embody to bring a sense of personality to life.

These keywords inspired the creation of the following mood board below to help build the colour pallet and typography system that will be used within the interface of this product.

More A than B List
Bold, but not overwhelming
Inspiring, but not forceful
Accomplished, but not complacent
Charismatic, but not giving toxic positivity
Authentic, but not overly curated
Inclusive, but not exclusive

Wordmark Development

When developing a name and icon, I wanted to create a visual representative of the brand personality that embodies the keywords and invokes those feelings above. The name RallyUP means to come together as a group in support of the same goal, which gives sense of empowerment and community.

High Fidelity prototype

Delivery of Product

To fuse the prototype and visual identity together, I took a lot of time to experiment with different colour variations. The final prototype had to go through many iterations since it was important to balance a variety of important factors such as accessibility, brand presence/feeling, colour ratios and type hierarchy. After all those considerations and feedback from peers and educators, I created the high-fidelity prototype and developed an accompanying UI library that uses Brad’s Frost Atomic design system.

Here is the first look at the High Fidelity Prototype

View Prototype


Taking the Product to Market

To bring RallyUP one step further, I explored what a potential marketing site for this digital product could look like. I began by identifying the goals, tone of voice, audience and value proposition of the product to have a clear direction and purpose of the marketing site.

B2B Target Audience:
Gym club owners
Small business to corporate gyms
Value proposition:
Increase membership retention rateIncrease overall NPS
Gain valuable insights on customer behaviours and patterns
Build and foster relationships with your customers

B2C Target Audience:
Gym club members
Fitness beginners
Value proposition:
Fitness/gym knowledge right at your finger tips to make you feel more confident at the gym
Find a community at your local gym
Get the support and accountability you need

Taking the Product to Market

To bring RallyUP one step further, I explored what a potential marketing site for this digital product could look like. I began by identifying the goals, tone of voice, audience and value proposition of the product to have a clear direction and purpose of the marketing site.


Looking Ahead

What’s Next for RallyUP?

Design for other potential users (gym owners, trainers, instructors)

To continue building and expanding on this product, I would also go through the end-to-end design process for other users of this product to understand their needs and pain points as a gym owner, trainer or instructor.

B2B partnership strategy with gym facilities

To market and gain users of this digital product, I would create a B2B strategy by partnering with gym owners to implement this product within their facilities as an added value proposition to their customers.

Identify key metrics to measure the impact of this product

To understand how this product is really making a difference, I would track metrics such as the retention rate of customers at gyms. This can be done in partnerships with gyms to ensure this product is also providing value from a B2B perspectives by helping gyms retain their customers.

Looking back

Key Learnings

About Design

Be aware of biases when designing
When choosing my problem space, I wanted to chose something I was passionate about. Since I had prior knowledge in this space, I caught myself making conclusions and design decisions with biases. Throughout the process, I had to make sure I design for the user in mind and not myself.
Narrow down the scope
During the research and ideation phases, it's so easy to get lost in the amount of ideas and potential solutions there are. This process taught me how to narrow my ideas down, focus on a specific user group and go through multiple iterations to improve one idea.

About Myself

How to be resourceful during challenges
As a new designer approaching this project, I had to be resourceful and find creative ways to self-teach and fill in some skills gaps. While this project overall may not be perfect, the process of overcoming challenges and leaning new skills has been rewarding.
Stop worrying about making it perfect
During this process I learned it's better to go through various iterations and gathering feedback to improve on the solution, rather than making the first submission perfect. I struggled with this a lot but the design process gives me comfort since it's no linear and I can always go back to improve on the solution.
OverviewEmpathizeSynthesize DataIdeatePrototypeTestDeliverConclusion
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