In 2020, the COVID pandemic heightened the need for at-home fitness and opened new areas of the market to explore. Freeletics fortunately performed well during this time, and began exploring what would become the next Big Thing in fitness. An internal team alongside an agency specializing in new ventures began to deeply research and define what this could mean, exploring from hundreds of high level concepts, then converging down to a few of the strongest ideas. Over the span of about six months, the working group dove deeper into the focused set of directions, which then became part of the 2021-2023 company strategy.
Based on market research insights, user segmentation research, and technical discovery findings for hardware, we decided to pursue Strength Gaming. From there, code-named “Project Arena” was born.
When I first joined the project, I quickly realized there were a lot of areas that went uncovered. First and foremost, there was no plan for testing the game designs being created by the external agency. I immediately began running guerrilla usability testing to get initial feedback on the then-current designs.
Then over an 8-month period, I stepped up and into visual game design, spear-headed mapping the entire user journey from purchase to play, and contributed to the Shopify web designs. Shortly after all of that, I shifted over to fully owning the native app experience, building a new design system, and writing a full styleguide for the STÆDIUM product ecosystem.
I was a key driver in establishing UX processes into this brand new product area. This included creating frameworks and structures for tackling new and randomizing work, road mapping UX priorities against stakeholder requirements and milestones, defining work areas and responsibilities for myself and 3 other designers, facilitating cross-functional workshops for key areas of the experience, figuring out ways for all functions (design, research, product, engineering, content) to work in parallel on the same packages of work, pivoting and adapting our work and plans when large project changes were introduced, and documenting *everything.*
My teammates looked to me to lead and guide us through a very new and uncertain environment. I worked hard to approach the chaos from a pragmatic, but direct point of view, enabling our small working group to make and commit to decisions under tight timelines, high pressure, and lofty expectations.
With STÆDIUM, our goal is to change the relationship people have with strength training from a necessary means to an end, to an enjoyable journey in and of itself. Strength gaming is our major bet toward achieving this goal. Focusing on game-like strength training experiences and meaningful digital, physical, and irl interactions, we've created an environment for Flow State fitness.
Digital fitness peaked in 2020 with months of strict at-home lockdowns world-wide, but now people want more connection than ever. Evolution must happen to continue to grow and meet the ever-changing desires of people seeking healthier lifestyles. STÆDIUM is that evolution.