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World class soccer training for athletes looking to increase their skills on the pitch with the RISE mobile app.
Scott and Verek, co-founders of AthleteFit, wanted to take their existing training program and build a scalable mobile platform. Scott already had a successful business model with his existing world renowned training program. Athletes love it, but their traditional means of interacting with the training materials was through a non-responsive website and printed PDF forms.
Recognizing that the current system had shortcomings, and after talking with some of his Athletes, Scott knew he wanted help building a quality user experience for training on the go.
That’s where we come in! Headway and AthleteFIT partnered together for an initial design discovery workshop and it was clear we were a perfect fit.
During the workshop, we collaborated to come up with the technical requirements, scope out the player workflows, and began roughing out some initial design concepts. This collaborative foundation for the project really set things up for success and resulted in what numerous industry experts have called a “best in breed” training app.
Scott’s core training system allows athletes to focus on their skillset on the pitch. Using a self-assessed rating system, athletes mark a confidence score in stars (1-4) to reflect their current skill level. Each module is a collection of video exercises that explain the finer details of the individual skills exercises.
As an athlete uses the app, they are consistently encouraged to come back for more. Encouraging users to revisit an app by unlocking certain achievements or getting a sense of winning is known as gamification.
We incorporated elements like a daily activity streak, a skills mastered tracker, and a current skill level indicator to drive these repeat interactions and subconsciously push athletes to better their skills daily. If athletes are ever struggling in an area, supplemental workouts are provided allowing athletes to focus on the module’s core fundamentals while also breaking out of the routine of the existing workout track.
While the mobile app is all about the athletes, clubs and coaches are another critical component of the RISE platform. That’s why we created an administrative portal giving clubs and coaches a window into their teams and players progress.
Over time, we hope to show clubs and coaches a correlation between the teams and players more actively using RISE and their performance on the field. At the individual team level, coaches can see how their athletes are progressing on the core pyramid skills, create their own custom supplemental workouts, and generally manage their roster.
Soccer is the fastest growing sport in the US, and it’s even bigger abroad. Scott knew he wanted to start with US based clubs and teams, but that he would also quickly want to expand overseas. Taking the global smartphone market share into account, it was clear that for RISE to be successful around the world, we’d need to launch on both the iOS and Android platforms.
Scott’s question to us was whether we should build iOS or Android first and what impact that decision would have on the timeline and budget of the project.
Rather than needing specialized engineering talent to build iOS apps in Swift or Objective-C and build Android apps in Java, Headway chose to invest in making React Native one of our core competencies. This technology, born from Facebook, is one of the fastest growing and universally accepted ways of building cross-platform and truly native apps.
Unlike competing tech you may have heard of including PhoneGap or Cordova, React Native compiles down to a fully native app-store installable app. It’s so good, users have no idea it isn’t written in Swift or Objective-C because the app that comes out the other end performs exactly they same way. Afterall, it is native!
Anytime you target more than one platform the investment in development is larger, but with our simultaneous platform build approach through React Native, we were able to effectively launch to both iOS and Android apps for a much smaller overall investment saving Scott over 50% of what it would have taken to build iOS and Android apps independently. Updates and tweaks are faster, too! Using a cross-platform technology means changing the way the app works allows both platforms to receive the benefit while the code only had to be updated once.
Headway developers have been using Ruby and Ruby on Rails since 2006 and have over 100 combined years of experience with the language and framework respectively. In addition to mobile apps, Headway has been developing full-stack web applications for startups, entrepreneurs, and corporations for years. Ruby on Rails or “Rails” as it’s often abbreviated continues to be on the cutting edge of web and API technology consistently releasing new features and security updates each year.
Not only are the tools great, but the community is huge. Taking advantage of hundreds of collections of micro functionality packaged up and distributed as “gems”, Rails developers can quickly get from zero to functioning app in a matter of days and weeks, not months. We’ve taken that a step further and codified our favorite and most useful gems along with some custom business logic that tends to get used across most of our apps and created an app starter template called Voyage.
With Voyage as a starting point, it’s a matter of crafting workflows and business logic that serves each customer’s specific needs out of the gate instead of spending weeks or months setting up the underpinnings of a new project.
In the first meeting it was clear that the entire team wanted the RISE product to not only fit into the modern sports landscape, but also stand on it’s own. We created color options that played off each other well, communicated energy and renewed spirit you get after mastering a new skill.
Once we all agreed on our Onyx Slate and Kinetic Green color choices, we rolled them out to the entire app, finding the perfect balance on each screen.
After fully understanding the product and the goal, the design team went through a series of exercises trying to capture the essence of the product in a logo and a name. Each element of the logo represents individual parts of the product accompanied by a name that embodies players moving up the skill pyramid.
For the logo, we wanted something iconic yet familiar. The foundation of the logo is the shield. It’s is a common shape in the lexicon of soccer design, and we wanted to anchor the brand to where it started, as a soccer program. The star draws focus but in a subtle and complementary way and marks the confidence athletes will have after they go through the program rating themselves along the way. Finally, the arrow sloping upward along the edge of the pyramid represents the player’s progress over time.
These three elements in the logo combine to evoke a sense of accomplishment and loyalty as users open the app daily. Couple that with the literal upward progress athletes make while climbing the pyramid, and the RISE name was born.
As a team, we knew it was critical for the athletes to feel like they're progressing upward as they were developing their skills. As athletes complete modules they’ll see a counter of skills mastered tick upwards as more and more pyramid modules are completed.
As a player gains confidence and moves through a module, they will pass through three phases. Each phase increases the difficulty of the workout and introduces more complicated skills. Once that skill is mastered, they move on to the next module until they reach elite player status.
Communicating growth is a very important aspect of RISE. Not only is it communicated by the pyramid, but it’s also displayed prominently as circular progress meters on the dashboard in three categories: skill, speed, and power.
Continuing the notion of progress and movement, we created an achievement screen that congratulates the athletes as they completed phases and entire modules. After the hard work each athlete puts into developing these new skills, it was important to reward that in an exciting way.
This animation concept is a way we plan on celebrating their accomplishments in the future. This along with the current gamification elements help provide real time feedback on an athlete’s personal growth and helps incentivize their continued skill development.
The RISE team and Headway collaborated the through the entire process. From day one, both teams were working together and building the best possible product. This collaboration is key to the success for any product. Below are some progress shots during that process.
By collaborating with Scott and Verek, we were able to deliver a seamless application that enhances AthleteFIT's great training programs with a user-centric mobile experience. RISE allows coaches, clubs, and athletes to access great content out on the pitch. If you're a club owner, coach or athlete we recommend picking up this app. We've linked to each app store below.
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