All across the globe, young athletes are working hard every day to reach their dreams of becoming the next big star. Unfortunately, some of those dreams are broken because of injuries that could have been prevented with the right warm-up exercises. How can we build a tool that helps these athletes train smarter, and help them become all that they are capable of becoming?
In collaboration with the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences (Norges Idrettshøgskole) and the International Olympic Committee, we created the app Get Set, which was launched under the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games. Get Set is an app created to help young athletes all over the world train smarter, with the help of exercises that are scientifically proven to decrease injuries by 50%.
An important part of the design process behind this app was interviewing and working together with young up-and-coming athletes in the ages 15-18 — the target group for Get Set. Being a few years older and, quite frankly, far from having ambitions of winning an Olympic gold medal, we needed to pick their brains, understand their needs and, especially for my part, understand their visual preferences. Based on our insight, I created a visual identity consisting of vibrant color use, serious typography, and a clear and simple iconography.
Laying the foundation
Injuries can create major setbacks and even ruin careers, as several of the young athletes we interviewed had already experienced. The concept behind the logomark we ended up with was a speedometer — the idea being to create an identity that communicates that athletes need to always keep on top of their game. When working on finalizing the logo itself, we wanted to create something that was simple, dynamic and easy to animate. I also wanted it to have a connection to the Olympic rings, which is why the main circle of the Get Set logomark has the same stroke width as the Olympic rings. We also worked with one of our animation experts in house to create an animated version of the logo to be used in promotional videos and other video material.
Given the prerequisites of the project, we decided to focus on a UI design that would be more familiar to Android-users than iOS users. There was a limited budget for creating the app for both platforms, so we did not have the resources to create two separate UI designs. Given the young audience of the app, and that an important goal for the app is to reach athletes all over the world, we decided early on that Android users should be our priority.
In the app, you are given three ways of selecting a workout; By sport, by body part, and by your last used routines.
Like most of the young athletes in the target group train for a specific sport, we knew that would be an important means of navigating. In this first version of the app, we focused on the summer sports that are featured in Nanjing Young Olympic Games 2014. We’re hoping this can be extended to winter sports, especially since the 2016 Winter Games will be held in Lillehammer, Norway. For each of the sports, I designed a custom icon to fit with the rest of the app’s look and feel.
Athletes who already struggle with injuries can also choose workout routines by body part, to focus on bettering those injuries and preventing further problems.
Finally, there is a tab that lets you choose your last used workouts, as a way to get started quickly. This also serves as a tool to remember when you last did a specific workout routine as the time and date of when you last viewed it is displayed. Basically, it can be used as a simple journal. We also added functionality so that the app remembers which tab you used last time so you always pick up where you left off, even if you completely shut down the app.
Each workout program has three levels so that athletes can start out with a basic program and then progress to tougher and harder programs with even better effect. Our partner, the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, supplied the instructional videos and workout routines as downloadable PDFs — for situations when a printed PDF is more suitable than bringing your phone.
As a side note, we also ended up implementing several different languages in the apps at the end of the project. An interesting experience, as I have to admit our core team had limited experience with that. Especially Russian and Chinese, which both use characters we aren’t that familiar with. Luckily the typeface we had chosen had support for both, which I am very grateful for.