Skip to main content

A Trenara UX redesign: why?

06 February 2023
Christophe Roosen is the co-founder and coach of Trenara. Runs a marathon in 2:33:34. Follow him on IG @chroosen.

In January we’ve started a strategic UX redesign (UX: user experience). Our goal is to design/develop a more user-centric app.
‘Well duh’, you might think, ‘everyone wants that.’. But for us it’s a little bit different…

Bear in mind that Trenara started out as a hobby project and we sort of bootstrapped our business. With limited (financial) resources we’re developing the app ‘on the go’. This also meant our main focus wasn’t the Trenara user experience.

This strategy has (had) a few major implications:
  • we didn’t do a lot of customer research when we started out, this just looked like fun and we had the idea we could generate a certain reach over time. Our ideal customer? Someone who looked like us: an avid, sort of techie, runner.
  • all development is outsourced, to be as lean as possible.
  • our first release wasn’t a finished product, we launched it because we just wanted to put it out there (and maybe also because we had no financial means to develop it further).
  • development of new features heavily depends on revenue, which also functions as a sort of litmus test: without subscribers, no app.
  • path dependency: along the way came new ideas, new features. But certain processes in the app were fixed, so we couldn’t make a perfect fit. 
    For example: our goal flow was one of the very basic flows when we started out. Later came the feature to set training conditions, which gives you the possibility to train for trail races… except you can’t tell us that when defining your goal, only afterwards.
  • our sounding boards in the beginning were friends and family. They grew into our lexicon because they went through the process with us. We weren’t challenged to simplify some expressions like ‘fitness calibration’, ‘predictions’ or ‘input parameter’.

Until now, all investments were centralized around the technical development of the app. No expenses were made to make the app more logical, more clearly, better translated. 

_ Pushing boundaries

But Trenara grew and grows. We’re happy to see that our community helped us to survive those difficult start-up (and pandemic) years. We now have tens of thousands of users, and luckily some subscribers too. While most of you are Dutch speaking, just like us, we’re gaining international users.

Following the six degrees of separation, new(er) users don’t know about the fact that we aren’t a big firm and that when it comes to daily operations, it’s only me, myself and I. 
They just expect an impeccable service, and rightly so.

The fact you see us as one of the others, means we have to bring the Trenara user experience up to standards as well. And because we’re gaining non-Dutch speaking users, I’m losing the benefit of interacting with you in my mother tongue to explain how the app works.

That’s why we opted to invest in this strategic exercise, so the app explains itself a bit better when we redesign it.

_ Confronting

Well, yes, those first meetings with our external strategic partner were confronting. 

Shana, the strategic expert, doesn’t dispute the quality of the app, nor its success in numbers. But she does pinpoint the lack of structure, the overuse of jargon and the inconsistencies. Items we often knew about, but didn’t prioritize.

For the first time I had a workshop with users, asking them about what their ideal running app would look like, what they like about us (and what not) or what we need to emphasize on. Our ‘user needs’ board on Miro is the biggest of them all 😅

These insights are very useful, not in the least because they show us that Trenara is a big part of your running journey (yay!) but also that the app is as well yours as ours. To be honest: we mostly thought about it as our app until now.

_ Going forward

Our partner is now gradually translating all the info and feedback into a better user interface (UI). We have an idea of what the new navigation structure could look like. 
Next step is to turn it into high level sketches, ask you guys for feedback, then designing wireframes, ask for feedback, then real designs, ask for feedback, before we can start planning on real development.

This process will take several months, not in the least because we have to book development time and allocate financial means. So don’t expect a drastic shift, we’ll follow a ‘first this, then that’ principle. But by the end of Q3, you should see some results, thus a better Trenara user experience!

I’ll document this journey, so this is part 1 of our blog series about the UX redesign.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Altijd als eerste op de hoogte zijn?

Luister dan naar The Running Crew of volg ons op onze socials!

Download Trenara

Get it on Google Play

Subscribe to our newsletter

Be the first to know about Trenara updates and all our latest news!

© 2020 Fitter BV. All rights reserved.

Follow Us