Over the past few years I've become a runner. I never thought I'd say it but I really do enjoy running. As I focused more on my running during quarantine, I came across an issue with Peloton and designed a way to give even more people access to the great training they have.
In the mid 2018 I started running lose weight before my wedding. I'd always struggled with weight all the way back to high school, and at that point I had topped out at 300lb. The thing that finally made running stick for me was a digital coach. The app based running prompts helped me shed 50 pounds (with a strict diet) and make running a habit.
Fast forward to the spring of 2020 and I found myself separated from my gym and the routine that I had built up to stay active. I had downloaded Peloton before but not really giving it a full test, doing only one treadmill class before giving up halfway through. It was just different than I was used to. When I found out that peloton did outdoor classes I decided to re-download the app, start a new trial, and give it another go. After the first class I was hooked.
Some time later I happened upon a marathon training class and decided to give it a try and that's when I learned about the "Peloton Outdoor Marathon Training Program". A quick Google search only showed me a PDF calendar but no way to find the classes in the app. So I decided to give myself a project and design what that would look like.
However, after going through this exercise as a way to show a mentee of mine by process, I discovered that there was digital access to this program. It just only existed on iOS, and I'm an avid Android user. Now, the fact that a company valued at $8 billion can't build equivalent experiences across platforms is frustrating and I've shared those thoughts elsewhere. So rather than rewriting everything that you're about to read, i've decided to move forward with publishing this case study and add a comparison between the two versions.
People Problem: As a runner, it’s hard for me to discover the Peloton Marathon Training Program. Once I’m interested in it, it’s hard for me to find the classes associated with the program.
Business Program: As a tech-first company, we have a program that is hard to find, hard to use, and based in paper. Our classes aren’t searchable, so those in the peloton mobile application struggle to reach their training goals. We also can’t track what users enter the program, complete all classes, etc. This represents a large gap in our ROI tracking and makes it hard to make a business case for investing in programs like this in the future.
Hypothesis: By classifying and linking relevant classes, we can build a library for users, provide up next classes so users can stay on track, and track what percentage of users enroll in the program, do classes, and complete the training. By strengthening our runners, we strengthen our user base and recurring revenue stream.
When I set out to do these exercises, I really wanted to solve problems. I’d gotten tired of the endless parade of “redesigned” apps out there that just put a fresh coat of paint on things. Nothing wrong with that, but what’s really interesting is if you can solve a problem. In my first week at Facebook, someone asked the one piece of advice they’d give us. It was not to come in and try to redesign everything. That those decisions had been made for a reason and we should take the time to understand the problems we’re trying to solve and the decisions that got us to where we are today. So in any of these “rapid iterations”, I’ll set out first to recreate the app as I see it today, and then design within that ecosystem.
As my experience shows, the value of this program is lost on anyone who can’t even find it. While advertising the program isn’t necessarily the worst idea, giving those who stumble across it a chance to learn more before they dive into a workout is a good first step. Who knows, they may just start that day. I took the UI pattern they were already using and created an entry point for the program. If you’re not enrolled, you’ll be taken to a screen where you can learn more and sign up. If you're already enrolled, it is simply a shortcut to your existing training program.
The program is designed to take you through 15 weeks of specific training that levels you up to running longer and faster. Before beginning a program, users might be interested in what will be expected and how the classes are structured. So I took the layout of the class detail and class rows to lay out the classes and additional information.
Tracking your progress through that time is valuable to see just how far you have come. It's hard to think back to when I first started running and remember I was running 16, 17 minute miles. And now I can run multiple miles at ~11’30” consistently. As Trainer Robin Arzon says, “It’s ok to start in minutes, not miles.” So I designed a simple onboarding program that tracked their current pace and when they want to start. This information can be compared against throughout and at the end of their training, with opportunities to track progress along the way.
Discoverability and getting users to sign up solves the problem I set out to solve but I wanted to imagine the ways Peloton could help me succeed in my training. I know the pitfalls of training and how easy it is to fall of the program without a lot of support and encouragement. Since this is a time-based program, it’s reasonable to assume that on any given day the one workout I’m going to do is for this program. For that reason I decided to replace the “Classes” tab with the “Training” tab. This tab would be the one that is loaded upon first opening the app and the one I’ll spend the next 15 weeks in.
I wanted to make this hub useful to me during training, so at a quick glance I gave:
Messages to encourage and delight as I go through my training.
I’m here to train, let’s get right to it.
From pre-run stretches to indoor classes on days it’s raining I wanted to give users access to more of Peloton’s great content.
While the marathon is the ultimate goal, along the way you should be doing smaller runs to build up that confidence and skill. A list of local 5ks gives users a chance to challenge themselves and supports the local running community.
To be written...
Even though we're in the middle of a pandemic, I'm (thankfully) still working full-time, devoting time to other projects, and spending quality time with my family. I will be working on this over time. If you're interested in seeing things as they progress, sign up below and I'll do my best to keep you updated.