As part of the Sweatcoin team, we recognised a need to boost user engagement within our health app. We identified the existing social feature as an area for improvement, as it was underutilised and poorly implemented. We decided to introduce various challenges to increase interaction among users, following insights gained from user interviews and studying competitor apps.
We designed and tested several prototypes, eventually leading to the development of a streamlined challenge feature. Additionally, we introduced a social tab to improve friend connectivity. Post-launch, more than 60,000 people actively participated in the race challenge. Within the first month of the launch, there was a noticeable increase of 4% in app openings.
Sweatcoin is one of the many fitness apps that reward users for walking, running, or cycling. The company operates an app available on both Android and iOS, which counts users’ steps. Based on these steps, the app then rewards them through virtual coins. These coins are only exchangeable on the platform’s internal market, including offers from over 300 partners.
Sweatcoin makes most of its money through brand promotions. When a user exchanges their sweatcoins for a reward in the app marketplace, the participating brand remunerates Sweatcoin by paying a commission.
The app was pretty popular and had a decent design at the time. However there were a lot of problems with the social centre. It had very basic functionality which was poorly implemented. You had to 1) create a group, 2) invite friends, 3) wait until they accept your invite, 4) finally be able to see how many steps your friends had taken.
Discoverability of the social centre was around ~2%, adding friends would take days and there was no engaging mechanics except the leaderboard. We concluded that this was a feature that could be greatly enhanced. Our initial idea was to bring in some kind of challenges for the users, making the experience more engaging and enjoyable.
I began the project with an ideation session, collecting all kinds of ideas on how we might increase engagement using social mechanics, from fun stickers and leaderboards to interactive groups and chats. This workshop was a brainstorming platform where each idea, bold or simple, was considered.
To sort these ideas, I used the impact/effort matrix. Each idea was examined based on how much it would affect users and the effort needed to implement it. This method helped me find high-impact, low-effort ideas that would give the most benefits to users while staying within our resources. As a result, we chose 'friends leaderboard' and 'challenges (similar to Strava)' as our final picks.
We continued the project by determining the kinds of challenges that our app users find engaging, such as collaborative and competitive races. To achieve this, we conducted interviews with approximately 10 Sweatcoin users. From our interviews, we learned that users are considerably different in their needs and competitiveness. This showed us that we need to offer a variety of challenges to suit all types of users.
In parallel with user interviews I was also conducting competitive analysis. I looked into various platforms that offered group and challenge features, such as Strava, Nike Run Club, Facebook Groups, Pacer, and more. I was fascinated by the diverse options available, ranging from straightforward challenges to feature-rich groups with posting capabilities and many other functions.
Using insights from our research, team discussions, founders' suggestions, and studying our competitors, I started sketching the first version of our challenges feature to include all possible ideas like stickers, leaderboards, groups, challenges, chats, and more.
After the wireframes were ready, we discussed them as a team. We quickly realised that generating user-created content was too costly from a development perspective. Also, we wanted to start small and improve incrementally. So, for our first version, we decided to eliminate the creation of user-generated content (like posting and sending stickers) and concentrate on the mechanics of the challenges.
Based on the team feedback, I removed the unnecessary parts from the designs and created a high fidelity clickable prototype. I then tested this prototype with three users of our app. The principal conclusion was that the main scenario was clear to all users: open the challenge, join, track progress, and receive the prize.
However, there were some issues. The chosen words for labelling didn't feel right (adventures and circles), and the use of stories for opening groups wasn't a good choice. Nevertheless, we were confident that we were heading in the right direction.
Also, after discussing the results, we decided to remove the complex hierarchy of challenges from being a part of groups, choosing to retain only a limited number of challenges for the initial release.
Based on insights from UX testing and team feedback, I finalised the designs. I included detailed flows: opening a challenge, joining, participating, quitting if necessary, checking progress, and receiving the prize.
In addition to that, I added a social tab where users could see all their friends, connect to Facebook, or find friends from their contact list. This functionality had been hidden previously.
Alongside the challenges feature, I also dedicated my efforts to building the components library. I collected and refined buttons, alignment guides, currency texts, tags, and navigation elements.
These components were not only used within the feature but also integrated across different sections of the app. I personally designed each component before distributing them among the design team.
We successfully launched the feature as planned in the first quarter of 2021. Post-launch, more than 60,000 people actively participated in the race challenge. Within the first month of the launch, there was a noticeable increase of 4% in app openings.
Reflecting on the project, given another opportunity, I would concentrate more on improving the 'friend-adding' feature. I'd study common methods people use to add friends, such as through Whatsapp or direct communication, then consider ways to make it easier for users to add friends on the app. Additionally, I'd incorporate user profiles and achievement badges into our design mockups, offering a clearer roadmap for future development steps.