Unfinished project! 

Duel Tone Fitness App

Project Brief

Create a smartphone app which will help people improve their fitness. The target group is people who want to exercise more, but who—for various reasons—don’t get around to it.



This case study was an individual project for my portfolio. I had no outside help or time constraints. This allowed me to put what I've learned from the Interaction Design Foundation into practice.

Part 1: Empathize

I needed to find out:

1. Why participants want to exercise

2. What concretely happens when they do manage to exercise

3. What concretely happens when something prevents them from exercising

User Research

I conducted user interviews with 5 volunteers through Facebook video call and over the phone. With permission, I recorded the interviews via QuickTime Player to reference and transcribe at a later time.

First Hurdle

With five interviews to transcribe, I searched for a solution to speed up the process and came across Voice Typing in Google Docs. Unfortunately this method didn’t yield the results I had hoped for, as only a small portions of the recordings were transcribed properly. I had to re-watch and listen to the five interviews and transcribed what the users had to say.

Volunteers: George and Alex

Interview Worksheet & Probes

Part 2: Define

Developing a clear understanding of which problems I will try to solve for my potential users.

I dove deeper into understanding the users through Affinity Diagrams, Empathy Maps, Point Of Views, and "How Might We" questions.

Affinity Diagrams: Time, Motivation, and Value.

What I transcribed was used in creating an affinity diagram. Each user was given a specific colour and what they said was broken down into bullet form then each bullet was assigned a designated coloured square. These squares were then grouped into common themes, and then further refined into concrete groups. The affinity diagram allowed me to focus on the pain points and the core problem users faced.

Click to expand the squares above - Time, Motivation, and Value

Empathy Map:  

The 5 interviews were also used to create an empathy map which focuses on the core aspects from each user - what they said, did, thought, and felt.

Click to expand the Empathy Map

Point of View: [user] needs to [user’s need] because [insight]

1 - George needs to exercise every other day [schedule 4x’s/week ] because he suffers from scoliosis and gets mini depressions if he doesn’t exercise.  

2 - Cory needs to exercise for health reasons because he gains weight easily and wants to be healthy to live long and enjoy doing things with his kids.

3 - Nancy needs to start exercising again at the gym because her family takes up all her free time and energy. She enjoys exercise and feels better when she can. 

4 - Alex needs to exercise in a social setting [gym with a trainer, or run club] because she wants to do it “for the fun of it”. If she doesn’t exercise, she feels like there’s energy that needs to be spent, so it’s a perfect stress relief for her.

5 - Kim needs to get out of the house and exercise [Brazilian Jiu-Jutsu] because she feels anxious always being at home for work. She also gets distracted by chores and wasn’t as productive as she needed to be which would add to her feeling lazy.

"How might we" Questions:

- How might we aid those with physical issues exercise to better their quality of life?

- How might we educate people on healthy eating habits, and proper form to prevent injury?

- How might we show that exercise doesn’t have to take up too much time to complete? 

- How might we show that exercise can be done with little to no equipment? 

- How might we encourage exercise as a fun and sustainable lifestyle? 

- How might we prove that a fitness app can be beneficial for exercise?

Persona: Tom Smith 

Influenced by my user research, I created the persona of Tom - which mixes pain points from all five users. Tom will help my design decision later in this case study.

Part 3: Ideate

Generating lots of ideas and whittling them down to one amazing idea which can help my participants exercise more. 

Worst Possible Ideas:

Influenced by the Empathy MapPoint Of View and How Might We questions from Part 2: Define and with a time limit of 5 minutes - I wrote down as many worst possible ideas I could! The goal was to kick off the ideation session in a light hearted way that would also allow me to analyze and think of which aspects of the bad ideas I could turn into a good idea.

- App turns off, or closes when launched.

- App makes fun of user (fat shaming), tell’s the user they’ll never get fit.

- App doesn’t give daily tips or alarm.

- App encourages over eating and over resting.

- App self deletes after 5 mins.

- App prevents the user from exercising.

- App moves position in mobile screen placement to become more difficult to find.

- App encourages overtraining and poor form/posture.

Challenging Assumptions to Think Outside the Box

Click to expand User Assumptions, Challenging User Assumptions,

and Turning Challenges Into Ideas

6 Thinking Hats

Click to expand the 6 Thinking Hats

Logo Options

Although not part of the project, some though was put into the app's name, and colour pallet to help influence the style and feel of the app. The logo's were created through online sources.

Logo Colours:

Red: Bold, Power, Excitement

Blue: Trust, Strength, Dependable

Significance: A reference of head to head video games where Player 1 is the colour red, and Player 2 is the colour blue - building on the gamification of the app. 

PART 4: Prototype and Test

Developing my most promising ideas into an early app prototype which I can test on users.



Using Tom's persona, I created a storyboard of his journey with Duel Tone.

Paper Prototype

Turning the storyboard into a quick paper prototype to bring my idea to life.

After signed in, Tom selects a "VS" workout, then selects a friend who's online to challenge. After the workout, both participants receive a breakdown score and a winner is declared. They can see if they've unlocked any achievements, among other features.

Using the success of others as motivation, the trophy symbol is emphasized to motivate the user. They can choose to do a solo workout, or challenge someone online by certain search criteria (age, sex, location, friends list, similar fitness level, etc). This form of virtual meet up promotes a Player 1 vs Player 2 to encourage fitness through friendly competition.

The 5 initial interviewees were contacted with follow up questions about the direction the fitness app was taking. Mainly, if friendly competition would motivate them to exercise more.

What I discovered was:

- A general positive response to the concept

- Users were intrigued by the "VS" feature (gamification)

- They wanted more information on how it would "work"

Low-fidelity Prototype

I created a low-fidelity prototype from Tom's story to further elaborate on the concept of fitness through friendly competition.

After showing the low-fidelity prototype to the interviewees, the concept of friendly competition seems to be popular. However, a few users were less thrilled and were more interested in exercise as a social aspect that is positive for both (or all) rather than competitive. Attention was brought to the idea that someone who loses those "friendly competitions" as they begin their journey into fitness, could become demotivated quite quickly - defeating the concept of the app entirely.

More coming soon!