UX, lifestyle, fitness, mobile app

Improving users’ running experiences by adding a “Routes” feature.

April 8, 2022

Role: Product Designer [Solo Project]
Duration: 6 weeks [June-July, 2022]
App Name: NIKE RUNNING CLUB Mobile App
Industry: Fitness/Technology/Fashion
Responsibilities: UX Research, UX Design, Project Management


*This is an add-a-feature project

Nike Running Club is one of the most popular apps for runners with more than one million users around the world. In order to meet different needs of the users while competing with other professional running apps, adding a new feature “Routes” can not only help retaining the existing users but also acquiring new users. My aim was to make a functional and simple design that can help runners to increase quality of runs with NRC app.


The added feature is named “Routes”, designed for Nike Running Club mobile app. A design research was executed,  and the findings showed that environments affect the quality of running experiences greatly for users. The users also stated that they struggle to find more ideal routes more easily based on their preferences.

Design Process

[insert an image]

1. Research

Research Questions:

  • How might we motivate the existing users to use NRC app more often with a new feature?

  • How might we create a new feature that differentiate NRC app from other running apps in order to attract the new members?

Secondary Research: Survey

I first created a survey, and invited 13 participants to share their current running habits and preferences.

Secondary Research Findings

  1. Most runners run 2-4 times a week for less than 40 minutes each time

  2. The runners tend to run alone most of the time

  3. More than half of the runners have smart watch and mainly to track the basics: speed, duration, dates.

  4. The survey results show that the runners plan for running routes  

  5. The runners prefer running in an environment that is safe,

Primary Research: Individual Interviews/Ethnography Research

To further understand how runners behave before, during, and after the run, I conducted user interviews with 5 runners. One of the user interviews was done as an ethnography research where I observed the runner to prepare, run, and track his data. I also personally ran with the interviewee for the course. The goal of this research is to understand the user’s actions, environment, interactions (with devices, people), objects, and user himself.

[insert photo of running at yoyogi park]


An enjoyable run means....
- A running environment that is safe and uninterrupted with less cars --> a big park is deal
- Most people claim that they enjoy the run more when the route is scenic instead of gym/indoors
- No rain and less humidity. Most people do not run or choose to run at the gym on rainy days.
- Wearing comfortable shoes
- Accomplishing the goals, which could be meeting the numbers for the speed 

- Most people need some sort of distractions such as music, podcast or motivation such as running towards onsen

Smart watches are more convenient than NIKE Running Club App because...
- Garmin provides way more stats than NRC, which does not provide heart rate info
- People can use apple watch feature to track both running and other exercise at one place
- Everyone who do outdoor sports in Taiwan has a Smart watch cuz they want to track their stats

Most people are motivated to run because ...
- They want to increase their fitness/get healthier 

- They want to complete a race/marathon 

- Some people are more motivated to run with their partner or friends, and able to run longer/faster

2. Define

Based on the findings, I came up with a POV and research questions to design around.

POV : A talented expat working and living in Tokyo has problem communicating effectively at work due to the lack of Japanese language skills, but she/he does not know where she/he fits in terms of the level and does not know where to start to improve.

  • How might we help runners run in a most desirable environment

  • How might we help runners find running routes that will increase their satisfaction in running experiences

  • How might we make running a more enjoyable experiences by amplifying the motivation (distractions) for runners to run

  • How might we implement a feature that provides motivation for runners to complete their goals

  • Professional guidance and knowledge for the basics are in need, especially when people first start running.

[insert persona]

3. Ideate

I revisited the site map and created a task flow chart based on the findings from the research as below:

[insert site map]

[insert task flow]

[insert sketches]

4. Prototype &Test


Usability Testing

Usability Testing: summary/who/what/logistics/what happened/how happened  

Usability tests for a clickable prototype were implemented with runners in San Francisco, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Melbourne.  

Usability Test Findings

  • Course map descriptions are the most important information for users when it comes to route search. The users are especially interested in knowing the details below:

    → Starting point of the course and the reasons why

    → Distance from current location to the starting point

    → Spots for scenery during the course (ie: see cherry blossom here!)

    → The users would like to save their courses history and labels/preferences (ie: hot girl list)

  • Users stated that they more likely to use the feature when they are traveling or trying to plan for a run in areas they are unfamiliar with.

  • Most users claimed that they prefer to have filters with options for level of difficulties and elevation.

  • A search bar is suggested.

  • The users expect the info below on the route detail page:

    Safety Level, elevation, water/convenience store, toilet, lighting, current traffic, paved road or not.


Iterations were made based on the impact and effort chart as below. Course map is proved to be the most important piece of information taking some effort but high impact.


A category page with types of running courses for users to choose from.

A main page with filters to search by distance, length, difficulty level.

A course page with route information, course map, and photos.

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