Rethinking Nike+ Running
The first thing I've noticed when moving to Norway was that everyone here runs, and they take it very seriously. After looking at people running for over a year, I made a promise to myself to start running again. Starting in May.
Before buying my running gear and all other stuff, I downloaded every running app in the App Store. The names didn't change, all the apps I remember from a few years back are still there, but they've all changed their logo's & apps, except for one.
I remember when I used the Nike+ Running app back in 2013. It’s a great app: it does the job, it has free programs, it's from Nike (one of the coolest companies out there) and hey, Casey Neistat is using it too. But I was surprised that the app looked exactly the same as back in 2013. Seeing this from a company like Nike is pretty surprising. Especially looking at their history of hardware / software solutions, running gears and the way they work(ed) closely with Apple. It's a strong brand and a well-respected brand in the sports world. They’ve added new features over time but the app still looks and feels the same.
As you can see in the timeline above, the first few design changes were made after version 4. With the introduction of iOS 7, Nike followed the trend and said goodbye to skeuomorphism.
I do understand why Nike didn't make big changes to the UI. One of the things I've learned at Opera Software is that making big changes to your app is risky. Even if it's a small design change, there will be people complaining, which will lead to a negative App Store rating. That is the last thing you want for your app.
I've installed the Nike+ app, went outside and started to run. The current app is not bad, the run screen shows me useful information, the buttons are big and easy to use and Nike+ Coach has some really useful free programs. But I just kept looking at the app thinking, this can be improved. After my run, I started to sketch some stuff on paper.
Introducing the New Nike+
One of my favorite apps out right now is SoundCloud. Just try to use SoundCloud while you are driving a car or just walking on the street and compare it with another music app. It just works much better in those scenarios. You don’t have to look to change / pause a song or skip ahead. They got rid of a lot of buttons, and made the app more ‘thumb friendly’.
Swiping is not new, we've seen it before in apps like Tinder, Facebook Paper, Flipboard and Snapchat. The ease of use is the reason why people love these apps and I can't disagree. That’s why the main thought behind this redesign is a subtractive one; to start looking at elements we can get rid of. Starting with the hamburger menu and replacing it with the always on top Nike Store button).
After getting rid of the hamburger menu, the first thing I did was look into the menu items you really need. With cards, you can see all the important information, just by swiping. Now you can see your stats, your runs, your friends, without having to enter the menu. Just swipe and see. With one touch, you can go deeper into a card and get more info.
The 'begin run' screen should be simple. You don't want to spend a long time to customize and selecting stuff. As you can see, it's based on three sections: selecting your workout, enabling / disabling quick settings and selecting a playlist from Spotify. Press start and go! 🏃