Have you heard of the Köhler effect? It’s the phenomenon that occurs when a person works harder as a member of a group than when working alone. It’s been proven countless times that exercising or sporting together can lead a person to set a higher performance goal. Keeping the Köhler effect in mind, Craftworkz, UCLL Research & Expertise, FROS Multisport Vlaanderen, Cronos Leuven and Buurtwerk ‘t Lampeke created the Moving Apart Together app.
Through this app, you can challenge your neighbors and friends to move in surprising ways in your own neighborhood. In addition, you can share new spots and start moving in the open air. Together, you can form a community of exercise buddies who enjoy exercising and getting to know each other.
Technology as a facilitator
In a partnership with UC Leuven-Limburg, the idea grew to investigate how technology can support this project. Moreover, we wanted to know how tech can support and help make the social movement process of local residents more sustainable. At that exact time, in February 2019, Sport Flanders called for projects to make sports and exercise in public spaces more accessible.
Exercise spots in public places close to home are important in making exercise accessible for a broad group of people. This way, local residents can meet up, inspire and stimulate each other to exercise more in a creative manner. All these factors taken together led to the development of a ‘Moving Apart Together’ app. Moreover, Sport Flanders backed our project with a grant to make it a success.
Using digital technology and social media is still too often a source of exclusion. Therefore, we challenge ourselves time and again to take the needs of a broad target audience in Leuven into account as much as possible when building the application. From the start of this projects, citizens are therefore regularly involved in brainwork about the app - which is called the ‘Design Thinking Method’, something we put a lot of effort into at Craftworkz. More specifically, we organized a Design Thinking-brainstorm session with local residents.
App usability testing
While our country went in lockdown, we sped up the development of the app, which allowed us to take a number of user tests in September and October. Those user tests were meant to identify any usability issues and determine the user’s satisfaction with the product prototype. The test involved observing the user attempting to complete a set of tasks while using our prototype. We presented the user with different scenarios and asked to think aloud as they try to complete the tasks.
Some of the learnings this method can provide include:
- If the user interface provides enough information to start specific tasks
- How users have to perform tasks
- If certain elements are discoverable
We recruited 5 participants per target audience, set up the arrangements and introduced the participants and set the parameters for the interview. After the interviews, we evaluated the product in detail on the task level, rather than holistically, using a framework to identify the user patterns, and prioritized refactoring using a simple but effective prioritization matrix.
In November, we will test the app prototype with a larger group of Leuven residents. Hopefully, we’ll move apart together soon!