In August 2013, we (R/GA and Nike) released the photo sharing feature in the Nike+ Running app. Photo sharing enables runners to visualize their run journeys by giving them the tools to take a photo before, during, and after each run. It was important to get this feature into the app because it was a behavior that we saw already happening on photo-centric sites like Instagram.
Prior to the release, people were using all sorts of workarounds in order to create a photographic narrative about their run. With the photo sharing feature, we made this process seamless. We established a few simple rules as to how the photos can be laid out using up to 5 photos. We also included running metric stickers, e.g. route, distance, pace, and NikeFuel, which could be overlaid onto the photo itself. These stickers helped to paint a clearer picture around each individual run.
After the release, we noticed a large spike in the number of Instagram photos being shared by the Nike Running community. We were super excited to see people actually using the feature to create collages with photos taken from their runs.
In an effort to capture all of this, I started a Tumblr—nikeplusrunning.tumblr.com. Initially, it was to serve as a general repository of shared #nikeplus photos. After spending just a couple of days of curating content, I noticed an uptick in followers for the blog. Photos were being ‘liked’ or ‘reblogged.’ According to several followers, the Tumblr served as a source of inspiration and motivation to run. I myself also found sudden urges to go run after an hour of sifting through hundreds of running photos on Instagram.
What I realized about the blog was that it was acting as a simple, yet powerful feedback loop.
“We run to inspire others to run.”
And what better way to do that than through a collection of Nike+ Running photos created by runners around the world.
Not only was the blog a source of running inspiration, it became a source of creative inspiration for future collages. By juxtaposing various photos created from the same set of photo sharing rules, e.g. fixed set of layouts, the Nike Running community started to remix each other’s ideas and then combine them with their own unique twist.
From a user experience standpoint, the ongoing curation of the blog helps me understand more about our audience. It has inspired more than a handful of ideas of how we can improve the app in order to help our runners tell a more compelling story.
Aside from photo sharing, the blog has also grounded me in how I think and what I do as an experience designer for the Nike+ Running app. This past weekend, I had the privilege of meeting up with some of the runners from Instagram at Nike’s 2013 #Flashrun event. Although our discussions were brief, it helped open up additional feedback channels for current/future releases.
As of today, December 22, 2013, the blog is quickly closing in on 2,500 posts or as I’d like to put it, 2,500 reasons as to why you should go run right now.
January 30, 2015 / By the Numbers
The Tumblr has been a great source of motivation for the running community for more than a year now. The site has accumulated over 1,000 followers on Tumblr with close to 6,500 posts. Last year, the site started the #werun2014 hashtag, which was used over 12,000 times on Instagram. As demonstrated by the outpouring support for the site, the inspirational feedback loop is strong and I look forward to continuing it this year. See you out on the road! #werun2015