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From idea to 1,000 monthly paying users in just 6 months

Company Type
Consumer fitness app
Validate business idea, Go to market quickly
Prototype & user testing, Branding and visual direction, React Native platform for iOS and Android apps
Idea to launch in 8 weeks, 1000 monthly paying users in 6 months

SplitFit was founded by three childhood friends who saw an opportunity to revolutionize personal training. Having been in the fitness industry for years they realized that between noon and 5pm gyms typically have unbooked trainers on staff who are being paid to wait until their next session. By building an easy way for people to find and book these trainers people would be able to access training at a lower price point while still generating additional revenue for the gym.

“ We have seen very very rapid growth. thoughtbot is part of all those discussions about where do we go from here, not just from a product standpoint but how do we grow this business ”

Brian Gardiner, COO Brian Gardiner, COO

Creating SplitFit

SplitFit came to thoughtbot with only an idea. We started day one with a design sprint to validate their idea. By the end of week one we conducted our first round of user testing and interviews.

Problem Statement

Personal training is too expensive, isn’t accessible to non-members and gyms have an excess of unused inventory.

Prototype & User Testing

We created a prototype that was built in Xcode. This let users run the prototype on their iPhone. They were able to set preferences, build profiles and use the keyboard as they would normally with any other app. We caught issues much earlier and more accurately than we would have with a traditional prototyping approach (creating a prototype with hotspots and images).

The outcome of the first week was incredibly successful. The prototype and business idea was well received. We confidently moved forward knowing that we conducted an initial round of user testing. We started to build out and refine wireframes for each of the designed user flows.

We designed the prototype using a mix of images generated in Sketch and UIKit elements provided by iOS.
We designed the prototype using a mix of images generated in Sketch and UIKit elements provided by iOS.

Building an Identity & Visual Direction

With the wireframes in a steady place, we shifted into exploring visual directions. We worked with a branding agency to build the SplitFit identity. With an identity in the works we started to toss around various directions to fit their target market: millennials.

We refined many creative options down to a final four and put them through their paces to get feedback from users. Each contained a different combination of colors — some loud, some quiet, some neutral — each with various font selections to match that feel.

A handful of variations for a users training profile.
A handful of variations for a users training profile.

Out with the old, in with the new

There was now a brand and identity behind SplitFit. The result was focused on redefining personal training. Training should be inclusive, but not exclusive.

A variety of SplitFit app screens A variety of SplitFit app screens
The final screens echoed SplitFit’s brand tenets: active, energizing, innovative, young, affordable

Moving Fast with React Native

Early on, we realized that reaching a critical mass of users was going to be crucial to SplitFit’s success as a social product. Combined with SplitFit’s vision for inclusive personal training, this requirement meant we needed to support both major mobile platforms from day one. To accomplish this, we chose to use React Native as the platform for our mobile apps. This decision allowed us to move really quickly and ship the first version of SplitFit for iOS and Android in about 8 weeks. React Native continued to prove itself as a worthy technology choice, helping us split the development workload and making it easier for our designer to contribute to the codebase on his own.

The Outcome

The first version of the product was shipped and in the hands of users just two months from the start date of our engagement. This included the ability for a user to join a pool (the buyouts feature came later).

The initial release was piloted with the CIC (Cambridge Innovation Center, a large office space just blocks from the pilot gym). This allowed us to have real testers in a controlled environment. We were able to gather feedback from customers as well as trainers.

thoughtbot continues to work alongside SplitFit to continue to mature and grow the app.

Check it out on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

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