John Leufray

Digital Product Designer

Sprintimer

August 2019

Brand Strategy / Visual Design / UX

Project Vision

Sprintimer is an activity app designed for sprint training. It was created to help runners track their runs in greater detail. The user sets their preferred distance or time and the app alerts them with a starting pistol at the start and tracks run time, reaction time, speed, steps, and calories burned.
Challenge
Runners doing sprint training need coaches to time their runs or they need to set up complicated camera systems to get accurate times when training alone.
Solution
Sprintimer is an app that uses a smartphone’s gyroscope and GPS to accurately time runs from short sprints to long distances to make solo training more enjoyable.

Why Sprintimer?

There are a lot of great running apps on the market right now, but few are designed with sprinters in mind. Popular apps don’t track short distances at all, leaving sprinters training alone with few solutions. Also, other apps calculate calories burned only by distance and time, which doesn’t accurately represent how much energy is exerted during a sprint. Sprintimer was designed to be operated on the user’s arm or in their hand. It gives users a customizable audible countdown after they start the run to allow them to put the phone in their armband or pocket. Then the user’s reaction time is calculated after the starting chime, and the app automatically tracks the user’s speed and steps until the desired distance or time is passed. Finally, calories burned are calculated based on a formula using the user’s physical profile and the recorded time. 

User Cases

I conducted interviews and created empathy maps to understand the users I’m designing for and their needs.  The primary user group was sprinters training for competition. A secondary user group identified were active individuals who want to incorporate sprint training into their exercise routine. Initial research revealed that users wanted large buttons, an easy way to select distances and times, and automated controls so they can train alone.

Erica

Student Athlete, 18

Erica is headed to college soon with a scholarship to run track. She wants to improve her 100m run times before training camp begins. Coaches at the track near her house are only there for a few hours per day, and she wants to train more on her own time.

Adam

Restaurant Manager, 41

Adam is a single father who is trying to lose some weight. He read that running sprints burns the most calories faster than any other exercise. He wants to incorporate it into his routine, but he doesn’t have anyone to help him record his run times.

Pain Points

Competitive Audit

Runkeeper Strava Photo Finish
Designed for sprinting
Single device tracking
Automatic timing
Community leaderboards

Ideation

The app was designed to be used on a smartphone outdoors, so the design had to allow the user to interact with the app in direct sunlight. This is a challenge for LED screens in general, but large fonts and high contrast colors can help the app easier to see and interact with. I started with a black text on white theme with turquoise highlights, but users responded that the white text on black background was more legible and made the phone less hot.
Digital wireframes

Usability Study Findings 

I conducted two rounds of usability studies with producers and film fans. Findings from the first study helped guide the designs from wireframes to mockups. The second study used a high-fidelity prototype and revealed what aspects of the mockups needed refining.
Round 1
  • Users wanted more options for chimes at the start and end of runs
  • White background gets washed out in sunlight
Round 2
  • Users wanted audible alerts every second
  • Black background makes phone less hot

Brand Guidelines

The branding needed to be high contrast since the app was designed to be used outdoors. The decision to use white text on a black background was heavily influenced by the users. And I added a neon green highlight to give the brand a modern athletic theme. The large fonts were chosen so that hierarchy could easily be distinguished.

Solution

Designed for sprinters
Set run distances as short as 10m or timed runs as short as 1 second.
Hands-free
Pressing Start Run initiates a countdown to the starting chime, and the app automatically calculates your reaction time, top speed, steps, and calories burned during your sprint.
Stay connected while training solo
Community leaderboards inspires users to push themselves, and allows them to stay in touch with other runners and coaches.
Precise calculations
Get the most accurate results on calories burned, reaction time, and steps taken.

Takeaways

As an active individual who enjoys both running and data visualization, designing Sprintimer was especially fun. I got to get outside on the track and see how athletes interact with the product firsthand. Working on the app taught me how to conduct user research in the field and incorporate feedback throughout the iteration process. 

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