I developed this project focusing primarily on participatory design. A number of people prefer working out at home because it helps them avoid crowds, focus on their own workout, listen to their own music, etc. I worked with some individuals who follow home workout videos on their laptops and desktops but find it annoying when they have to pause the video or jump to a few seconds back using the remote / mouse or laptop controls. It interrupts their flow during their workout sessions. So I tried to find a solution that would allow them to work out without being interrupted.
The outcome of the project was a smart ring that uses tiny gestures to control the settings of a youtube video without users having to interrupt their flow of action/work.
UI/UX Designer and
Conversation with some individuals who work out on a daily basis with the help of home workout videos on their laptops and desktops brought out some key issues they face during these workout sessions. One issue that was expressed by most of them was having to stop the flow of exercising when they needed to stop the video to take a break or jump to a few seconds back to see how it’s done once again, etc.
One example of such a situation expressed by one of the participants was, While she was performing a 7-minute circuit of HIIT workout, she ended up dragging herself to the laptop to pause, forward, or slow down the video every time she could not follow a workout or she missed a step. She has a hard time getting through the entire workout video and almost lost motivation towards the end.
This kind of design includes the participants in the design process. Their opinions/feedbacks are taken at every step of the way rather than just during usability testing sessions. As a designer, I get to watch these participants in their daily lives and map out their experiences, including frustrations, challenges, and areas of opportunity. The participant(s) became very much a part of the team and helped make crucial design decisions.
These are fitness enthusiasts /trying to be fitness enthusiasts who follow online workout videos at home. Working out at home has become more necessary now more than ever due to the pandemic. They face multiple accessibility challenges during their 1-2 hours workout sessions. They want to stay motivated, happy, and positive during the lockdown and successfully complete their sessions.
With the help of the participants, I understood the problem space and defined my users. All the participants and I were a part of the brainstorming and ideation sessions but the final designs were made by me. These were then shown to the participants for feedback.
In the image below, you can see different ideas that I came up with to address the problem faced by the participant i.e being interrupted during workout sessions.
After the ideation stage, we chose to work on the smart ring since it had clear advantages over other options. Voice recognition was dismissed as it could take time to listen and respond. Moreover, workout sessions are tiring, and having to speak clearly while one is exhausted can be hard. Using mobile as the point of interaction just adds another device to interact with; rather than reducing the effort. We also identified a smartwatch as a potential solution but dismissed it since it would again require the user to stop and then operate which is the very problem we were trying to avoid.
I worked on the different ring interactions. What gestures would be the most efficient, what gestures would be the most convenient even when the user is in the most complex position during a workout, etc.
I sketched out the screens for YouTube which includes pairing with the ring and added some extra settings that enable easy video access and usability.
Through AIDMODE, I am aiding not only fitness enthusiasts but also any person following youtube videos such as painting tutorials, dance tutorials, DIYs, etc. to achieve their goals without having to break their flow of action/work.
1. Pair your AIDMODE ring with YouTube.
2. Customize AIDMODE playback speed and watch myself settings. A long press on the ring will play the video at the speed chosen as the playback speed. Watch myself will allow users to watch themselves on the screen along with the youtube video while they simultaneously follow the video.
I sent the prototype to the participants. The AIDMODE video was also shown to them before they could interact with the prototype. The video gave them a clear idea of how the ring interactions would work as well. I also requested the users to think aloud while they were watching the video and interacting with the prototype.
This project was interesting since it focused on participatory design which is something I had never worked with before. Having your users be a part of the process was quite challenging.
The best part was that even though this project was focused on certain individuals with specific interests, it turned out to be useful for users with varied interests. AIDMODE can potentially be used not just on youtube but other video platforms as well.