Kristi Bartlett

Learning more about design

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Heuristic Evaluation of Trainerize App

For this Heuristic Evaluation, I will utilize Jakob Nielsen's 10 Heuristics for User Interface Design to evaluate the iOS version of the Trainerize app.

Trainerize is an app that allows personal trainers to coach clients remotely. I use this app regulary as the client. Therefore, I will be evaluating the client side of the app. 

I will use the terms poor, ok, good, and great to rate each criteria.

Evaluation of 10 Heuristics:

1) Visibility of System Status: Great

When I open the app, there is a moving circle at the bottom of the screen that indicates loading. Beneath the circle, different terms cycle through describing what features of the app are currently opening. I am not stuck wondering whether the app is working or what it is doing.

2) Match Between System and the Real World: Good

All the terms I see are terms that I am familiar with. "Training plan" is clearly the plan that my trainer has written for me to follow. "Completed workouts" are the workouts I have completed in the past. I don't see any terms that I don't know. One thing that is a little confusing is that there is a distinction between "workouts" and "cardio." In my mind, cardio is a sub-category of workouts, but they seem to be two separate categories in this app.

3) User Control and Freedom: Good

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Most of the app has good user control and freedom, with the exception of the message center. If I type a message to my trainer, I can either send it or discard it. But what if I need to save it partway through and finish typing it later? There is no option for that.

Thankfully, the app has added a feature to go back in and edit a workout that I already saved. I use this feature frequently, because sometimes I have problems with my phone that require me to reboot the app. I appreciate having the option to either track a whole workout step by step, or just check-in to say that I completed it.

I can also add my own workouts that I completed outside of my normal training plan. There are many options for what kind of workout this would be, including "other."

4) Consistency and Standards: Great

Terms are used consistently throughout the app. Colors and logos are used consistently as well.

5) Error Prevention: Poor

This app crashes frequently. When it does crash, it just closes and I return to the home screen of my iPhone. There is no error message telling me what happened. When I open the app back up it still doesn't tell me what happened. This happens especially often when I try to view the workout example videos.

6) Recognition Rather than Recall: Great

It is very clear where I need to click to perform different actions. For example, under Progress Photos it says "tap to add." When I'm tracking a workout, it's very clear where I should type in my stats. It also tells me what my previous stats were, so I do not have to look for them elsewhere to decide how much to lift.

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7) Flexibility and Efficiency of Use: Ok

As mentioned previously, the app does allow me to log a workout without tracking each detail, and enter a workout that I did outside of my training plan. However, if I lift the same amount of weight for the same number of reps 5 times in a row, I must enter the numbers in 5 times. It would be much ore efficient for the user if the app could predict that I was going to use the same weight again, and allow me to edit if necessary.

8) Aesthetic and Minimalist Design: Ok

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On the home screen ("Summary") The colors and logos are pleasing to view. The bottom half gives me good information about my completed workouts and progress. The top half, however, has a graph that I find very meaningless. It's difficult to tell what the graph is communicating, and I don't think it's giving me important information.

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The "Calendar" view is also a bit hard for me to follow. Once again, the logos, colors, and fonts are all nice. But when I see the word "Calendar," I'm expecting a calendar layout that is either organized by month or by week, rather than infinitely scrolling down.

9) Help Users Recognize, Diagnose, and Recover from Errors: Poor

There are no error messages that I have ever seen, the app just crashes and doesn't tell me what went wrong.

10) Help and Documentation: ok

After some searching, I did find a "help" section on the settings page, with the option to send an email to app support, or submit a crash log. Perhaps it would be useful to have a "help" page which gave a summary on how to use the app, or gave me the option to view a tutorial.

Recommendations for Design Improvement:

Functionality:

Overall, I think the app could benefit from some debugging to help minimize crashing. However, it would be helpful to add some error messages to communicate what is happening to the user. I would also suggest adding "Help" as a page somewhere other than buried in the settings. There is a "refresh" button in the top right corner that doesn't seem to serve a useful function, as my trainer is not updating the app in real time. Maybe that could be changed to a "?" and have a help page with an overview of how to use the app. I would also suggest adding a predictive element so users don't have to type in the same data over and over.

Terminology Hierarchy:

I don't think it makes sense to have cardio be a category on the same level as workouts. It would be more clear to have cardio be a subcategory of workouts, or rename workouts to "weights" or "strength training."

Visuals:

I would suggest eliminating the graph on the main page. Why not replace it with either a summary of how many workouts I completed this week specifically, or maybe replace it with some white space! There is a lot of information on that page already. I would also suggest reformatting the calendar to a more traditional calendar layout, so that it's easier for people to see it. Maybe show a week at a time with arrows on either side of the screen to get from one week to the next.

Overall, Trainerize is a useful app and I like what it allows me to do. I think by following my suggestions above, the app would be even better!

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