Midterm Summary – Deirdre Kelshaw

For my midterm project, I focused on Strava. Strava is an app designed for both casual and serious athletes who want to keep track of their training, while also building or maintaining social connections with other athletes in the Strava community.

Strava offers many features to its users. Overall, when opening the app, a user is invited by five different tabs: Home, Maps, Record, Groups and You. Each of these tabs has multiple features of its own. To summarize, the Home tab is where users can find a feed of other users’ posted activities. Here, they can give Kudos (similar to a “Like”) and comment on their friends’ activities. The Maps tab offers users a way to route out their workouts. Next, the Record tab allows users to record their activities straight from the app. Otherwise, users use GPS devices, such as a watch, which, when finished with a workout, syncs all the data from the device to the app through Bluetooth. This tab also offers a safety feature only for its users who record directly from the app. The Groups tab gives users the opportunity to find clubs of other users or find challenges to complete within a given timeframe (this helps with goal setting). Lastly, the You page is where users can find their profiles and edit their uploaded posts (change the post’s title or description, add images, etc.).

To test the user experience on Strava, I conducted five interviews with Lehigh Running Club members. Based on their responses, I found that most Strava users don’t use the app itself to record their activities. Most use outside devices like a watch. Additionally, Strava primarily gives its users greater motivation to do better during their workouts. One user stated, “I know that when I run, people will see the results, and in that way I’m motivated to workout harder.” Users described this as being a positive aspect of the app’s user experience, as their workouts become better. I also found that less users use Strava specifically for its training features— more lean towards its social media aspects. Lastly, users complain that even though they find Strava’s sociability to be motivating, it simultaneously makes it very easy to compare oneself with others. A user said they may delete an activity from Strava due to slow times that they don’t want others to see.

Based on these takeaways, I suggest that Strava allow their safety feature to be used by those who don’t record directly from the app, because most don’t take advantage of this feature because they use other devices. Next, I suggest the app incorporates a more randomized order to users’ feeds to avoid spamming of the same user’s activities from popping up all at once due to Bluetooth synching issues with the app/outside device. Lastly, the app should allow users to repost their friends’ activities. Perhaps, this would encourage a more positive atmosphere on the app and prevent the negative feelings that users may get from it.

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