Encourage and provide the confidence to apprehensive gym goers to attend an intimidating fitness class
Art Direction, Prototyping, UI Design, UX Design, Visual Design
Sketch, Figma, Principle, Sprint by Jake Knapp, Experience Design by Patrick Newbury and Kevin Farnham
4 weeks total; 1 week in Spring 2019, 3 weeks in Spring 2020
This project was an academic case study for a senior user experience design course at Simon Fraser University. The brief for the project was to find and research a business problem within a domain and to design an intervention that would alleviate customer pain points and provide value to the business.
Initially, this academic case study was to be completed in a 4-week time frame in Spring 2019. However, our client proposal was not given the go-ahead until the final week. As this project was incomplete at the time, I revisted it along with Keefe Liew for three more weeks in Spring 2020.
For this case study, I supported the content team in conducting primary and secondary research, Primarily, my roles for this project were aligning SoulCycle's branding, ensuring that the visual design language was reflected in the user interface, and prototyping the design intervention.
SoulCycle is a New York-based indoor cycling class that thrives on its community and prides itself on being more than just a place to workout. The riders come back for the fun, spiritual, and motivational support that grows to become an inevitable part of their lives.
While having a high retention rate for their current regular riders, attending the very first class of SoulCycle comes with a large barrier of entry. SoulCycle sees themselves as inclusive, motivational, and spiritual. However, people outside of the class label them as exclusive, intimidating, and cult-like.
The rise in competition with the emergence of brands like Peloton and Flywheel looking for new ways to reach out to new audiences beyond their current clientele.
— Melanie Whelan, SoulCycle CEO
In our primary research we found that working out with peers can alleviate a lot of the barriers that come with attending a gym as well as maintaining motivation to continue going.
— Dian Griesel, Ph.D., co-author of TurboCharged
— Chris Hudson, Vice President of Curriculum at Barry’s
With our primary and secondary research, we formed our persona for the project.
Using a customer journey framework, we identified that the point of intervention is in the Consideration phase. This stage in particular is important as it is the point where they decide whether or not to attend a class.
Currently, the first touchpoint for new riders to SoulCycle is the "New to Soul" page. However, our team found barriers of entry from this initial touchpoint.
Dark Images — These images are used in order to communicate the dark rooms where they would have their class. However, using dark images reinforces the initial impression of the intense and intimidating atmosphere of the brand.02
Copywriting — The tone of voice used was to establish a language for the tight-knit community that focuses on the spiritual experience. Despite that, the spiritual tone feels cult-like and may not necessarily feel like a welcoming experience to potential new riders.03
Static Layout — Having a static layout allows SoulCycle to deliver their message in a straightforward and informative way, but it can feel cold and stiff.
How might we make signing up for SoulCycle more approachable for new riders in order to alleviate the barrier of entry caused by their cult-like image?
SoulCycle Teams allows riders to sign up for classes with their friends and peers as a team in order to alleviate the barrier of entry of SoulCycle and their cult-like image.
Upon arriving on the "New to Soul" page, new riders are greeted with an introductory video, followed by bright and inviting imagery of the SoulCycle community accompanied with information regarding their first ride.
When signing up, new riders can put down when they'd prefer to ride so that SoulCycle can recommend which classes to take to fit their schedule.
Now, riders can book a class with a team of friends. Based on what their friends had selected in their sign-up, the booking will recommend which class to partake in to match everyone's availability. Once the rider has selected a class, they can select and temporarily reserve seats for their team.
After assigning the seats, teammates will receive an invitation to go to a SoulCycle class together. Here, they can confirm their bike reservation.
Following the intense, but rewarding workout, the rider and their teammates will receive a notification with their results at the class. Fetching data from an existing SoulCycle product called SoulBeat, the results will show how the riders did as a team, calculated by their individual distance rode, power, and cadence of the ride. The narrative will also aggregate results for each individual song that was ridden to.
With SoulCycle Teams, SoulCycle is able to reach out to a new market of customers that might have opted away from intimidation. They are also able to better entice these new customers with a much more approachable booking process by encouraging them to ride with their peers together. Aspirationally, they are able to present itself as an inclusive brand by being more approachable.
For their new customers, they will have access to a new place to work out with their peers as they will obtain the confidence to attend a fitness class. Because of SoulCycle's newfound approachability, they are able to feel included as part of the SoulCycle pack.
My main takeaway from this project was learning to be resilient, especially in putting together an initial 4-week long proposal with my team within one week and finding the motivation and confidence to come back to it a year later.
Our proposal aims to make SoulCycle more approachable to new riders by enabling them to team up with their friends and ride together.