A new competition experience for the Nike Training Club mobile app

Project Overview

The mission for this project was to understand the challenges faced by fitness enthusiasts during the COVID-19 pandemic and design a solution to address these challenges. I tackled this exercise from the perspective of a Nike UX design team member tasked with creating a new experience within the current Nike Training Club (NTC) mobile app. I then designed a new feature that gave users the ability to compete with each other during NTC workouts on their mobile device.

Design Process

2 week sprint | Individual project

4 phases including: Discover, Define, Develop, Deliver

Design Toolkit


Before the jolting impact of COVID-19, competition-fueled fitness enthusiasts carved out significant time and money for in-person competitive workouts at gyms such as Crossfit and OrangeTheory.

By mid-2020, a vast majority of this demographic was unable to continue training at fitness studios, thus losing the competitive in-person workout experience that helped fuel their commitment to fitness.

Research Objectives

The project began by identifying the broader problem of limited access to in-person fitness experiences during the pandemic. In order to develop a deeper understanding of the problem, I dove into interviewing users to explore the following questions:

User Interviews

I identified three users with varying fitness interests in order to explore the different needs of fitness enthusiasts looking to achieve their goals. These users included an OrangeTheory Member, Crossfit Member, and a Nike Training Club App user.

Interview discussions with users generated the following insights:


The Discovery

Users crave competition. The in-person fitness studio environment had an abundance of formal and informal opportunities to compete across different formats. Fitness experiences resonated significantly more with users when 1) they could compete against each other in some capacity, 2) success was measurable, and 3) achievements could be made public to the broader fitness community.

At this point, I stepped back to look at this discovery and realized that none of the core elements of workout competitions required an in-person experience. This realization uncovered the opportunity to create a fitness competition experience that didn’t require in-person interaction.

The Problem

As a result of the pandemic, a vast majority of studio workout enthusiasts are unable to continue training at their fitness studios, thus losing the competitive in-person workout experience that has helped fuel their commitment to fitness.

How might we create a fitness competition experience that doesn't require in-person interactions?



To ensure the experience addressed user needs, it was important to further explore the key elements that make competitions so effective at motivating people to work out.

Through a brain dump exercise I jotted down my early thoughts on post-it notes including different elements of competitions that I had learned about during the research phase.

One insight I uncovered during research was the impact that rewards had on reinforcing users’ desire to compete. The Crossfit and OrangeTheory members interviewed shared stories about how they enjoyed boasting about their competition successes to other members of their fitness community.

These stories got me thinking about how the behavior of bragging connects to Maslow’s motivational theory on the hierarchy of needs. In looking at it, I found this behavior ties strongly into the psychological esteem needs of prestige and status.

This connection inspired me to expand my original “How Might We” question to better address our desired business outcome regarding the growth of direct-to-consumer sales revenue.How might we entertain users’ psychological desire for prestige by empowering them to show off their achievements?

A subsequent ideation session generated the idea to give users access to exclusive Nike competition-branded gear only available to users who compete and win a related achievement. Tying this idea back into designing the user experience; Once the user competes successfully in a workout, they could unlock access to exclusive NTC Competition-branded Nike Gear available for purchase in the app.

Diagramming the App Flow

To quickly get a better idea of how this new experience would integrate into the current NTC app framework, I drew out the app flow of the proposed new feature.

Sketching the UX

I then sketched out low-fidelity wireframes to iterate through several different design options.

The design concept utilizes the current app’s capabilities of tracking heart rate and calorie data via the apple watch and incorporates the tracking of these metrics into a point system that allows users to view their standing against others at any moment throughout the workout.

After iterating on several versions of low fidelity wireframes to tighten up some of the design elements, I mocked up medium fidelity wireframes of the new competition experience integrated into the current NTC app design language.

Above are the medium-fidelity wireframes outlining the happy path from app launch -> choosing a workout competition-> competition experience -> winning access to exclusive Nike gear -> purchasing exclusive Nike gear.

To ensure the competition experience integrated seamlessly into the NTC app experience, I adhered to the NTC app’s current design language.


High-Fidelity Design

Introducing Nike Workout Competitions. In a new post-pandemic world, Nike Training Club makes workout competitions accessible from home and on-demand. By tracking heart rate, and calorie burn data from a user’s smart watch, users can compete against other Nike Training Club members anywhere, anytime.

Choosing the right competition for you

The library of competition-ready workouts is accessible within the app’s “Workout” tab. Users can find new competitions on the “For You” tab, filter through all competitions from the “Browse” tab, or explore featured competitions on the “Competitions” tab.

Turn on “Compete Mode” then track your standing against opponents in real time

Users have the option to practice a competition workout without competing by turning off “Compete Mode”. When they’re ready to compete, users can start the workout in “Compete Mode” and track their competition points, and current standing in real time.

Achieve a ranked score, unlock competition-branded gear, and purchase your gear seamlessly within the app

Users who achieve certain percentile rankings for a workout are rewarded with exclusive access to unlocked gear shown on their Competition Scorecard. Users can explore their unlocked gear in more detail within the Gear Vault which is just one tap away from viewing the product in the Nike Shop where gear can be purchased easily in the app.

Summary & Next Steps

As illustrated in the app flow, phase one of this exercise focused on the individual user’s competition experience and the resulting journey to purchase unlocked gear in the Nike Shop.

For phase two of this exercise it would be interesting to explore how we could enable users to form competition teams, as well as build a Program Competition feature where users have the ability to compete across an entire program of workouts.

Additionally, I think there’s an important business opportunity for Nike to further explore developing the relationship between competitions and access to unlocked gear.

If Nike were to a) foster a passionate subculture of competitive athletes within the NTC app, and then b) provide this group of users with access to exclusive competition gear, this recipe could significantly increase the Company’s direct-to-consumer sales similar to the commercial success of the Nike SNKRS app.

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