Fitness Next Generation
Updated: May 3
Users are demanding more sophistication in 2023.
Some people ask, are fitness apps really Health Tech? The point is largely moot, 63% of people who pay for Health related apps hold a paid for subscription to a fitness app. For end users, focused on benefits not features, it's a distinction without a difference. And like other Health Tech services the subdomain of Fitness apps has undergone evolved in paralell with other domains. Fitness apps surged with the Covid crisis. Demand rose as people turned to digitally delivered fitness content. Now in the wake of the Covid crisis things have changed. Fitness tech is evolving rapidly. The old paradigm of simply subscribing to and following content is changing. End users are becoming more sophisticated in terms of what they are looking for. They want more than pre recorded videos or excersize classes delivered by Zoom. Users Want Connection: to other people, to coaching services, to more personalized advice that works for them and what they want to achieve. They want benefits, not features. I'm no stranger to fitness apps. I've started and quit several. I find they get boring fast, very similar to websites. There's also the danger of getting injuries by following a cookie cutter plan, especially if you're like me, older and heavier. A lot of the old school fitness apps seem to be designed for different bodies. I can follow them for a few weeks before something hurts too much and I quit. Intrigued by the new generation of fitness apps, I've installed Runna. The app has a "Return to Running" plan designed for people like me. Someone who has run a few marathons, and used to love running but now feels like "I'm too far gone" to run again. The coaches who designed Runna anticipated this and built a plan with proactive advice. I'm struck by the choice design. A lot of the original fitness apps presented users with a large array of upfront choices. I've always found this difficult because I was often prompted to commit to an exercise plan without knowing what it is. If it's not suitable the only option is to quit, setting me up for failure. Runna is designed differently. The choices are simple but over a series of decisions, complexity and personalization builds. A helpful UX lesson here for health tech in general. By narrowing and simplifying choices but allowing users to "branch out" over a series of decisions the end result is more complex and personalized than anything achieved through the traditional Big Wall of Menus. Stay tuned to this blog. I'll document my fitness journey and see if the next generation of fitness apps can help me succeed.