This project was part of an Interaction Design Studio course with Professor Haakon Faste from Carnegie Mellon University. We were to pick from a list of four domain spaces, and design a virtual solution to a problem in that space. We designed a VR system that helped manage CrossFit member's commitment, form, and progress over time. 

Design Process:

  • Decided to go broad in terms of research before exploring specific design ideas 
  • Interviewed various users, including five trainers, eight regular users, three extreme users and two extreme anti-users. Two of the extreme users were from the CrossFit space, and one was a huge subscriber of the Quantified Self lifestyle
  • Identified CrossFit as our primary audience and developed about ten storyboards identifying opportunities to engage users and solve problems
  • Visited a local CrossFit gym to speed date the ideas we had with both trainers and trainees. This helped us identify misconceptions around the culture and what motivates members of the culture to push themselves
  • Identified the two main issues trainers face: members often push themselves too hard, and they don't always have perfect form while doing some tough workouts
  • Reviewed current system of how members physically keep track of theirs stats everyday and also use them to compete amongst themselves
  • Designed a virtual reality system that allows trainers to see various stats such as number of reps and heart beat for each member as they look across the room
  • Tested the design back to the gym with member and trainers, and added a 'top performer' for every day based on feedback
  • Created a video that captured the nuances of the space, the problem we were trying to solve, and how the system addresses that

Lessons that made me a better designer:

  • When approaching a new domain, it is crucial to talk to extreme users and extreme anti-users. This helps destroy preconceived notions, and adds color to something that's otherwise black and white
  • Good research is about accepting when you're mistaken, and being ready to jump into someone's world with a truly open mind

CrossFit gym in Pittsburgh where we spoke with members and trainers

Board at the CrossFit gym that documents members' performances each day

Manually documented details about an individual member's workout schedule

Final Design