Fitness is an idea most people want to maintain, whether it be for health, sport or leisure. Despite this high demand, there are no available programs that focus on helping individuals ease fitness into their daily lifestyles. FitMap is an iOS app that is built to help individuals work through the stressful process of finding a gym to commit to. Users can find gyms, group classes and trainers based on location and manage their memberships according to their schedule.


For many people, finding the “right” gym is all about finding a comfortable one. However, in order to do this, one must go through rigorous research taking into consideration the distance, amenities, features and services offered at individual gyms. This daunting process can lead individuals to consider distance as the deciding factor in signing up and disregard fitness goals. This impulsive judgment impedes motivation resulting in less frequent gym visits. Eventually users may stop attending the gym altogether, which may inhibit their commitment to a fitness membership in the future.


FitMap makes the process of finding a gym that helps accomplish fitness goals much easier. Life is already filled with difficult decisions, fitness should be the one place to vent stress. Therefore, FitMap provides users the opportunity to search for gyms from their current location or zip code based on distance, prices and ratings. Users can visit each gym’s profile and find information on the services, amenities and types of workout provided at each location and the opportunity to test each gym with daily passes. Whether you are an athlete or a casual gym-goer, FitMap can be used to sign up for classes at specific locations or find the perfect trainer for more private sessions to accomplish fitness goals.


At this initial stage, it was important to observe what type of users were interested in engaging with a fitness app. In order to achieve this, I created a user survey to gain a better understanding of:

  • Users' goals in fitness.
  • Preference in length of commitment at gyms.
  • Factors that inhibit users from dedicating more time at the gym.
  • Factors that inhibit users from signing up for gyms.
  • The determinant factors in signing up for a gym.

The survey was distributed through online forums and social media platforms and resulted in 40 responses revealing the factors that users take into consideration when committing to a membership. Although the sample size for the survey was small, the results were consistent in trends and statistically significant.

  • 50% of respondents attested to fewer visits to the gym due to difficulty in finding the right one.
  • 25% of respondents admitted to fewer visits as a result of lack of motivation, which has shown to be correlated with attending an incompatible gym.
  • 65% of respondents claimed to take classes at a gym or meet with a trainer.
  • 85% of respondents claimed the presence of trainers at gyms to be important.
  • 87.5% of respondents stated the importance of one day passes before committing to a gym.

These results were imperative in deciding not only the concept for FitMap, but also the features that needed to be included in order to create a successful app. Users have shown the value in providing a service that would ease the process of finding a gym with trainers and relevant classes for multiple fitness locations.


Although the survey itself was crucial in obtaining data to verify the need for FitMap, it was still surface level in understanding the behaviors and needs when it came to fitness. In order to obtain more granular information on my users, I met with select respondents and created personas to justify the needs for every feature incorporated in FitMap. You can take a closer look at these personas here.


Despite fitness being a huge market with many individuals open to be a part of, there were no close competitors of FitMap. Available programs for gym locators, consisted of Gym Finder, which has been met with negative reviews, due to it only providing surface level information on gyms, such as address and phone number. This provided FitMap with endless opportunities as the only existing app aggregating data and providing scheduling services for gyms through its interface. Further research showed ClassPass as another potential competitor, that provided its users with a monthly pass to try multiple classes from different fitness locations. However, with a deeper look into FitMap’s users, it was apparent that its client base included not only those interested in classes, but also weightlifting. In efforts to include individuals with more contrasting interests, FitMap’s strength lies in it being the sole provider of a fitness locator that accounts for users with different fitness goals.


After getting a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of available programs for gym locating, I created user flows to map out FitMap’s experience for new and returning users. The user flows created encompass the important features and screens for FitMap’s MVP. These flows helped develop the overall layout for FitMap, starting from the different views for displaying gym locations, managing active memberships and account settings:


It was important that for a process that required much research, FitMap should present itself as straightforward or simple instead of overwhelming or intimidating. Initially the name SpotLift came to mind in order to give off the impression of the app’s core function in “spotting” gyms, but also going to the gym to “lift” weights. Although this seemed like an obvious name, it met with some opposition, since it seemed to ignore one of the app’s strengths in being open to different types of gym-goers. Users who were not fond of going to the gym for the sole purpose of weightlifting found the name to be discouraging. Another issue came up with the word “spot”, which was used as a synonym for locating, but can also be understood as a term used by many bodybuilders when assisting a lift. It became clear at this stage, that the brand should use words that were broad enough to embrace different forms of exercise, but deviate from multiple meanings in the fitness world. From this idea, “FitMap” seemed like the best alternative. Being “fit” incorporates the goal for many users along with “map”, which is the main tool necessary for locating.

From there, FitMap needed a color palette that would represent its purpose as a dependable fitness guide. Since many users admitted to having low motivation when it came to committing more time at the gym, FitMap required colors that emitted intensity, but also colors that felt welcoming, warm or friendly to account for the individuals who were intimidated with the gym finding process. Colors, such as red and white immediately came to mind. Red is associated with fire and blood and is used to embody strength and intensity. In contrast, white is clean, innocent and portray safety and warmth. In the fitness world it can also be seen as motivational since it is associated with clean foods, such as egg whites and certain dairy products.

Choosing the appropriate typeface was another challenge in brand identity. The headers and actionable items within FitMap required a bold typeface to accentuate FitMap’s image as a tool to reach fitness goals. However, when providing information within the body text and push notifications, a typeface that would inspire or motivate users to push themselves to work out was imperative. The Nevis typeface was perfect for the headers as it is known for being strong and confident. The body text would use Noto Sans, which is known to be optimistic due to its smooth curves, yet defined edges. Take a closer look at FitMap's style guide here.


Based on user surveys and personas it was clear that many users had trouble researching for the right gym to attend. In order to make this process as simple as possible and avoid deterring potential users, FitMap’s low-fidelity wireframes were based on dividing the multiple steps of finding a gym into its own screen on the app.


Based on the low-fidelity wireframes created with user flows and branding in mind, I created high-fidelity wireframes to be tested as a prototype. Using Sketch, I was able to create elaborate mockups paying attention to spacing, layout and color to create intuitive designs and flows to alleviate the otherwise stressful process of research. The initial design led to multiple versions, from layout to hierarchy in colors, which required preference testing based on specific parameters, such as gender and age.


Design A, was created with legibility in mind depending on time of day. The grey tone, makes the text easier on the eyes, but also diminishes glare when reading outdoors in the daytime. In order to test this, a preference test based on individuals aged 40 and up has been administered to measure visibility of information in different settings. The results showed an 85% preference for Design A based on 20 individuals’ responses. Despite these benefits, further feedback on Design A as being too masculine has led to another preference test for female users. From a test of 20 female users, 18 have shown a preference for Design A, which has led Design A to be included in future iterations of FitMap.


Upon moving forward with Design A, I administered a visual mood test to make sure brand identity was accurately portrayed through the color, layout and flow of the screens. With UsabilityHub, I asked users to identify the evoked emotion from viewing the search result screen and gym profile screen. Most users associated the brand’s identity as motivating, which was in line with the app's purpose as a welcoming tool for accomplishing fitness goals.


At this point, all designs tested to be positively correlated with brand identity. However, there was still no evidence on the flow being intuitive. To test this, a navigation test was created with a specific task assigned for adding gyms from the search results page. Heatmaps showed a 100% success rate in this process.


With ample tests backing up my designs, the mockups were developed into a prototype for an overall testing with user interaction. The process and interview sessions were recorded and referred back to for final touch ups in the app's initial stage.You can check out FitMap's interactive prototype here.

CODING (Coming Soon)

Based on these results, the next step in the process would be to build the frontend using HTML/CSS/JavaScript to develop the mockups into a responsive site and submit pages for integration into product launch.


FitMap has value as a product since it solves a problem many people face. There are many users who want to be involved in the fitness world, but are inhibited by the immense research involved in finding the perfect gym. Even among those already committed to a gym, users are always looking to switch or try new locations. In regards to these users, FitMap is a great tool that will draw the attention of endless clients. Despite these benefits, FitMap also contains weaknesses in focusing too heavily on the decision making process of finding a gym. There is a potential threat to the app becoming disregarded once users find a gym they are willing to commit to for an extended period of time. In order to solve this conflict, it is important to consider adding additional features, such as one time deals at specific locations to entice users to continue using the app.
As a designer, this project has taught me the importance of extended research to understand user experience. As an active bodybuilder, I have only considered locating gyms in the perspective of a weightlifter. This bias has initially limited the amount of information and services that could be included within FitMap. By engaging in research and testing throughout the design process, I have learned to test as often as possible to take on the perspective of different types of users.


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