There is a stark difference between rowing on the water and practicing on land. The rower shifts from being on a picturesque lake with eight other members to isolation, sliding back and forth on an erg (indoor rowing machine) with nothing to look at but the monitor. Compared to other endurance sports such as cycling or swimming, rowers often struggle with anxiety when it comes to indoor training on the erg that can hinder their performance. In addition to this issue, rowers and coaches lack an efficient way to keep track of their workouts from season to season as data is scattered across multiple platforms. 

 

Given these issues, I asked "How might I make erging more interactive?" and "How might I make logging and searching workouts more efficient?"

 

KEY INSIGHTS

  • preference of erging in groups because it keeps everyone motivated and encourages an "if they can do it, I can do it" mentality

  • if completing an erg workout alone, all interviewees relied on stimuli, whether it be podcasts, music, movies, or TV, to take their mind off of any physical or mental discomfort

  • Google Docs is a very inefficient and overwhelming primary method to track athletes' performance and workouts especially if you are a coach

  • importance of feedback from coaches

Research provided me with a better understanding of the needs that potential users face. I compiled these key insights to create a primary persona for this product.

Jeremy needs a better way to log and share his erg scores with his teammates and coach. The current spreadsheet method he shares with his team is inefficient as past scores get lost in pages as new information is constantly put in.

Products that are currently available do not directly resolve Jeremy's issues so I was able to identify gaps and opportunities where features of my product could fill. 

FEATURE PRIORITIZATION

The minimum viable product requires:

  • accurate statistics synced from erg monitor onto phone via bluetooth connection

  • visuals to make erging more engaging

  • ability to "race" friends or a pace boat

  • ability to add details from other workouts such as running, swimming, cycling, etc.

  • ability to search past workouts, share them with an individual or group, and add comments

These features were chosen because they directly target the needs of the user which are to make erging more interactive and to make logging workouts more social. Completing erg workouts tends to be solitary and mentally draining when unable to do it with other people. As for logging activity, ready, all will accurately store statistics from erg workouts while allowing the user to input details from other activities they do, turning the logbook into more of a diary with entries that can be shared with other users. The MVP features are necessary to make ready, all a hub for completing and storing workouts.

 

 

Since one of the MVP features was to add visuals that make erging more engaging, I re-imagined the current erg monitor on a phone screen using color and inviting graphics that still displayed important statistics. The user's phone is supported atop the erg monitor using available cradles.

The final product is a mobile app that allows Jeremy to store workouts and interact with his teammates and coach through direct messages or by sharing workout results with each other. Users are also able to search previous entries and edit the information. Experience the prototype below:

WHAT'S NEXT FOR READY, ALL?

  • preset fields for user to fill out that adapt to workout entry

  • ability for users to see how their results stand among a group's

  • connect ready, all to popular music apps and streaming services to row to music

AND LATER?

  • row to custom music station where the BPM matches user's stroke rate

  • notifications with tips to prepare for particular rowing pieces

  • ability to sync data onto ready, all from other workout equipment or heart rate monitors 

FURTHER CONSIDERATIONS

  • more user testing

  • exploring a user flow from a secondary persona, such as a coach

© 2019. angelyn cabrales