building an

online community

for runners

what community means to me

50 States Half Marathon Club is a national running community. Members enjoy a private Facebook page, race entrance fee discounts, annual meetups, and discounts to the club store. 

 

The club had fifty separate Facebook pages, one for each state. Their goal was to transition away from Facebook and create one integrated online community located on their website.

client = 50 States Half Marathon Club

project type = conceptual

duration = 2 weeks

team = Andre Oosthuizen, Mijin Kwon, and Paul Kim

my role = UX/UI designer

prompt:

For this conceptual design sprint, Andre Oosthuizen, Mijin Kwon, Paul Kim and I were challenged to redesign the 50 States Half Marathon Club website with a mobile first approach. From research to visual design, we completed the entire design process in two weeks.

First we had to understand how users defined “community.”

We talked to people who liked to exercise and were part of an online exercising community. We created a survey to narrow down our prospective interviewees. Andre and I conducted three user interviews with people who fit these specifications. We wanted to know what motivated them to exercise, what they liked and disliked about their current online exercise communities, and what their ideal community would look like.

From these interviews, we learned that everyone had a slightly different definition of community, but they all fell into two categories–people who enjoy camaraderie and accountability from their peers, and people who want access to resources and a large bank of knowledge.​

To represent these two categories of people, we created two personas:

group-

oriented

Alex

{

Likes to make new friends

Feels more accountable when they workout with a team or group of friends

Wishes they could join a running group based on their skill level

browsing Blake

{

Independent runner

Researches online ways to improve their running techniques and times

Wishes they could ask other runners what shoes to buy

the competition

We researched eight online exercise communities including Strava, BodyBuilding.com, the subreddit r/bikeLA, and the app Nike Run Club. Here is what we learned from r/bikeLA and the Nike Run Club:

r/bikeLA

pros

Reddit is an established and trusted forum

 

Lots of sorting options

 

Free

 

You can read posts without an account

Nike Run Club

pros

Nike brand name

Can compare runs with friends

 

Beautiful UI

cons

No formal way to join running groups

 

Group is not very active

 

Navigation isn't intuitive

cons

Icons are a little ambiguous

Need account to view the app

From our research we learned that if we designed our community to have a formal way of joining running groups based on ability, and a way to view post on the forum without being a member, we could capitalize on what r/bikeLA and Nike Run Club were missing.

confused and left out

Alex and Blake experienced similar problems on the current site. Disorienting navigation that prevented them from finding what they needed, and the exclusivity of the current Facebook communities. Why would they commit to becoming a member if they couldn't get a sense of what was offered?

Only paying members of the club got access to the Facebook page. This was a problem for both Alex and Blake. They wanted to see what was offered before committing to a membership.

 

old 50 States Half Marathon Social Corner page
 

Navigation on the old site was misleading and inconsistent. It was hard to tell what the title of the page was. In the example above, "Member Portal Login" looked like the title, when really it was the "50 States Half Marathon Club Social Corner."

In the example below, the calendar page redirects the user to a different website altogether, one with a new color scheme and layout. It's unclear how this website is affiliated with the 50 States Half Marathon Club.

old 50 States Half Marathon calendar page
 

the

community

From our personas we knew what users would be expecting from an online community:

{

The ability to join running groups based on skill level

 

A place to pose questions and do research 

 

The ability to see what was offered in the community before committing to membership

running groups

For Alex, we created the ability to join running groups

 

You can filter the running groups based on location, pace, and running distance.

 

Non members can view running group information, but they can’t join until they have become a paid member. This allows users to see what’s available before committing.

 

If they decide they want to join, they can become a member.

forum