In early 2014, R/GA and Nike collaborated on Nike+ Running’s first app on a wearable device, the Samsung Gear S. What differentiated the Gear S from most smart watches at the time was that it was a 3G enabled watch. You could make calls, check email, stream music, etc., all without being tethered to a phone. With its many capabilities, the possibilities for the Nike+ Running app on the Gear S were endless.
Fortunately, we avoided porting every feature from the app itself and instead, focused on serving the athlete when they’re out on their run. We called this framework, the “Athlete in Motion” framework.
“Athlete in Motion” is designing with the athlete in mind. Specifically, we wanted to serve up the right information and actions to the runner at the right time. With this as our overall framework, we focused on the following key touch points.
- Starting up the watch
- Viewing past runs
- Viewing the month’s leaderboard
- Starting a run
- Navigating within the in-run experience
- controlling music
- viewing current metrics
- viewing current location on a map
- Getting Cheers
- Pausing a run
- Ending a run
- Sharing a run
Starting up the watch
Since the watch occupies a very personal space, we wanted to build a relationship between the runner and their Samsung Gear S right from the start. We accomplished this by having the watch acknowledge the runner with a personalized Nike branded message followed by their total distance ticking up.
Viewing past runs
The first thing one would expect is to be able to view all their runs along with every stat available for those runs. With our Athlete in Motion framework, we wanted to focus on what was most relevant:
- Runs completed this month
- Date and distance for each run
We intentionally displayed runs for the current month because it has a direct relationship to one of the biggest motivators in the app, the monthly leaderboard.
Viewing the month’s leaderboard
The monthly leaderboard displays the runner’s current position based on their distance for the month. This serves as a quick form of motivation and guidance, i.e. How many miles should I run today to take the next spot?, for athletes who are about to go out for a run.
Starting a Run
Quickly starting a run was one of our biggest asks from the running community. We listened and the Nike+ Running wearable app does just that.
The athlete can start a run by going through a 3-step process where they can toggle on/off music, cheers, and heart rate detection after tapping on the Begin Run button.
The athlete can also quick start a run by holding the Begin Run button.
The primary metric that is displayed during a run is the athlete’s current distance. With limited screen real estate, secondary metrics such as duration, pace, heart rate, NikeFuel, and current time cycle into view during a run.
Duration was intentionally set as the first secondary metric because it was instant feedback informing the athlete that the run was being tracked.
While on the run, athletes can also swipe to either the music player or the map. Through extensive prototyping, we determined that swiping was the most efficient way to move between views while tapping on the in-run screen paused the run.
Pausing a Run
When the athlete stops moving or manually pauses the run, the watch enters a pause state. During the pause state, all metrics take center stage and individually cycle through. Since the athlete is no longer in motion, we can assume that they are more likely to be engaged with the display.
Ending a Run
To end a run, the athlete pauses the run and is given the option to either resume or end the run. Tapping on “End Run” brings up a confirmation screen.
What made the End Run experience on the Gear S significant was how we gradually fed information back to the athlete. We did it without having to squeeze every single piece of metadata from the run summary onto one screen.
After ending a run, the run’s key metrics are individually displayed as the run data is synced to the cloud. Once syncing is complete, the athlete is rewarded with their run summary.
Sharing a Run
From the run summary, the athlete can either share their run on Facebook or skip the share flow entirely.
Tapping on the Facebook icon brings up a share screen with a canned Nike+ share message summarizing the run. The athlete also has the option to edit the message.
Skipping share brings the athlete back to the home screen where the total distance would tick up to it’s new total, completing the running experience loop.
Designing for the Samsung Gear S was an interesting challenge. This project forced our team to view the Nike+ Running experience through a much smaller lens. It gave us new perspectives as we broke down the app into its core experience. With our Athlete in Motion framework, we were able to cut out all unnecessary features and data points in order to serve up the right data at the right time.