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The most frustrating part of the app according to hundreds of users.

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

I’ve already told you about our UX redesign, and why it’s necessary. But where to start? Well, with an UX review of the current app. What are the most frustrating things about Trenara in its current version? Do you know what ‘rage taps’ are? No? Well, you probably already executed them.

_ UX review

In that UX review, we learned about the inconsistencies in the app (like not using the same word for the same action), or how the current design leads to certain expectations we don’t meet (like giving feedback in a text balloon, but not being able to respond).

Enter the ‘rage taps’.
We’ve all been there: tapping the screen multiple times (in anger, or while yelling ‘come on!’) because we expect a certain behavior of it, but nothing happens. 
Discovering and identifying these rage taps helps us to get a better understanding of the user experience.

Through my own experience via the in-app helpdesk, I knew where to look for them. That’s one of the reasons why we made the helpdesk available for free to everyone, because we’d learn A LOT by giving you the chance to ask me questions. 
In the long term the use of the chat feature will be restricted, but not without improving the UX first.

_ Community feedback

Shana, the strategic expert, required us to ask the community for input as well. So, we published a poll in our ‘The Trenara Community’ focusing on your user experience.
Her independent review, our colored experience and your feedback led to an extensive overview of current hiccups. I don’t like calling it ‘problems’, because that way it seems that the app isn’t functioning well – which isn’t the case. Hiccups can be frustrating nevertheless.

What came out of this as the most frustrating? Setting a goal. Editing one single parameter, like date, distance, intermediate races or number of training days requires you to go through all of the screens again. This gives our users the feeling that we’re starting a plan from zero – which, to be clear, isn’t the case. 
And then there are the things you want to add to your goal, like terrain, which isn’t possible at this moment – only afterwards.

One of the things I learned at uni, is the Thomas theorem: ‘If men define situations as real, they become real in their consequences.’. It doesn’t matter what I say the app will do and that it all will be fine, it’s how you feel about it: annoyed.

_ When getting a compliment isn’t actually a compliment

Gert and I were called clever by Shana. But it wasn’t necessarily a compliment. Because we know what we mean by using specific terms or why certain features are designed as they are, we expect our user to understand them as well. Which isn’t very user-centric.

In 2021 I noticed a gap between new users vs. early adopters when it comes to understanding the way the app works. I recorded video’s (in Dutch) and uploaded them to our YouTube channel to explain certain features – so actually I was admitting that we were doing it wrong in the app.

The fitness calibration is by far the most complicated feature in the app, yet absolutely crucial for it to function well. 
Put aside the translation issues (fitness in Dutch has another meaning than in English), there’s plenty more to be confused about. What’s recent? What’s an all-out effort? Why does it need an all-out effort? Is it useful when I’m fairly new to running, or returning after an injury/illness? How does it take my historical data in to play?

_ Conclusion

There are more items on the UX review list of course. But you get it: we need to work on becoming more user friendly. The app in its core (algorithm x training plans) is extremely scalable, but the current implementation is too heavily depending on human support.

It literally took me back to the drawing board, redesigning essential flows with less room for interpretation/discussion. Might share some of them with you in a next post.


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