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Bridging the Marathon world for Unmatched Participant Engagement

On a mission to make marathons super fun for everyone! Started with a Virtual Marathon in 2020, and now we're back to real runs. The goal is to give runners, cheerleaders, and sponsors a fantastic experience that they'll remember and love. Making London marathon unforgettable!

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Client

Tata London Marathon 2023, Tata Consultancy Services, 

Duration

12 Weeks
December 2022 - February 2023

My Role

Lead Designer -

UX Research, UX Design, UI Design, Prototyping

Overview

Our project is all about making marathons amazing. We started with a Virtual Marathon in 2020, letting people run from anywhere. Now, we're back to real runs, bringing everyone together. The aim is simple – we want every runner, supporter, and sponsor to have a great time. From cool features in the app to exciting events, we're making marathons unforgettable and full of energy!

Defining the Problem

The existing London Marathon app faced challenges in user engagement, outdated features, and lacked a personalized touch for both participants and supporters. The client sought a comprehensive redesign to address the following issues:

  • Limited User Engagement: The previous app lacked features to actively engage participants and supporters, resulting in decreased overall user interaction.

  • Outdated Functionality: The app's existing features did not fully utilize the potential of modern mobile technology, leading to a less-than-optimal user experience.

  • Inadequate Support for Charities: The app needed enhancements to better support charities associated with the London Marathon, both in terms of fundraising and awareness.

Competitive Analysis

Prior to commissioning a quantitative/qualitative research survey, I conducted comprehensive market research to gain insights into our competitors' strategies, evaluating both their strengths and areas for improvement. The findings from this analysis are briefly summarized below.

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London Marathon App - Unique Selling Points:
  1. Personalized Onboarding:

    • Allows users to define themselves as participants or supporters, tailoring the app experience.

  2. Practice Run and Virtual Run:

    • Unique features offering real-time tracking for 5-kilometer practice runs and a virtual run option with comprehensive marathon information.

  3. Interactive Map:

    • Detailed map with checkpoints and relevant information, enhancing user engagement during the marathon.

  4. Fun Zone:

    • Dedicated section for users to customize avatars, take selfies, and share experiences on social media, providing a unique and enjoyable experience.

  5. Charity Support:

    • In-depth features allowing users to support charities through merchandise purchases, direct donations, and fundraising activities.

Research with the User - Mixed Methods (Combining Quantitative Surveys and Qualitative Interviews)

We now know  the other big brands in the industry that are offering similar services. I used some information from here to gather insights into the needs, preferences, and pain points of our users. I.e. the participants and the supporters.

The aim was to assess the success of the transition to a physical run and identify areas for improvement based on user feedback and app analytics.

Setting the goals and context- the main aim was to understand:

  • the impact of returning to a physical format on the overall participant experience.

  • Gather insights into the preferences and feedback of runners, supporters, sponsors, and organizers regarding the physical format.

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Hypothesis

The London Marathon app stands out with its focus on personalization, innovative features like the Practice Run and Virtual Run, and the engaging Fun Zone. While competitors excel in specific areas such as real-time tracking, training plans, or charitable fundraising, the London Marathon app provides a holistic and engaging experience for both participants and supporters.

Continuously monitoring competitor updates and user feedback will be essential for maintaining a competitive edge and ensuring the London Marathon app remains a leader in the space.

I strategically categorized users into three distinct groups:

  • The Marathon Runners: Individuals actively participating in both the Virtual Marathon and the subsequent Physical Run.

  • The Cheerful Supporters: Individuals supporting the runners in both virtual and physical formats.

  • The Supporting Sponsors: Companies or entities sponsoring both the Virtual Marathon and the Physical Run.

  • The Organizing Team: Individuals involved in planning and executing both the Virtual Marathon and the Physical Run.

What aspects of the Physical Run do participants find most appealing compared to the Virtual Marathon?
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How has the return to a physical format impacted supporter engagement compared to the virtual experience?
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Persona(s)

After the research I got insights into the applications or available tools on the internet our users were using. I used some information from my initial research to list the needs and issues with my users

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Takeaway of defining

The research highlighted key insights into our marathon community, shaping a clearer picture of participant and supporter expectations. For our Dedicated Competitor, Oliver, precision in tracking, seamless interfaces, and a robust sense of community are pivotal. Enhancing training features, ensuring real-time accuracy, and maintaining social connections are paramount. Olivia's favourites, Garmin and Nike, guide us towards high-tech, user-focused solutions.

On the other hand, Emet, our Cheerful Cheerleader, thrives on social interactions and seeks a vibrant supporter experience. Real-time tracking, engaging content, and easy social sharing are key for her. Brands like Adidas and Fitbit indicate a preference for a blend of style and functionality.

A holistic approach, marrying advanced technology with an inclusive community spirit, is crucial. Our project's success lies in balancing the needs of experienced runners like Olivia and spirited supporters like Emet. A user-friendly interface, real-time tracking, immersive features, and a vibrant online community will ensure we deliver a marathon experience that resonates with our diverse user base.

Ideating and Designing

Our team wholeheartedly embraced the challenge of blending innovation with user-centricity.

 

Drawing inspiration from user personas like Oliva and Emet, we sought to enhance the marathon experience. Collaboratively brainstorming, we introduced new screens, integrating advanced training features for dedicated competitors and interactive supporter elements.

 

As part of our iterative process, we closely monitored user interactions through tools like Hotjar, analyzing heatmaps and user feedback. This dynamic approach allowed us to make real-time improvements, addressing pain points and refining the user journey. The result is a meticulously designed app that marries technological prowess with a vibrant community spirit, catering to the diverse needs of both seasoned marathon runners and enthusiastic supporters.

 

The journey was a testament to our commitment to delivering an app that not only meets but exceeds the expectations of our marathon community.

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The primary goal of our app was to revolutionise the marathon experience, seamlessly catering to both seasoned runners and enthusiastic supporters. By integrating cutting-edge features for advanced training, real-time tracking, and immersive supporter engagement, we aimed to create a holistic platform.

 

Our success lied in delivering an app that exceeds expectations, achieved through a user-centric approach, iterative design based on analytics, and a collaborative spirit. The result was a dynamic application that not only meets the diverse needs of our community but elevates the entire marathon journey, fostering a sense of unity, achievement, and joy for all participants, supporters, sponsors, and organizers.

Takeaway from the Project

The project's takeaway resonates as a symphony of innovation and community spirit. The iterative journey from a Virtual Marathon in 2020 to the refined 2022 app marks a seamless fusion of cutting-edge technology with the essence of human connection. By diligently responding to user feedback, we sculpted an app that transcends expectations, offering an unparalleled marathon experience.

 

The dynamic interplay between advanced training features for runners and engaging elements for supporters is the project's hallmark. This not only redefines marathon participation but creates an inclusive ecosystem, where each stride becomes a celebration.

 

The takeaway is a testament to our commitment to not just meet but continuously exceed the aspirations of our vibrant marathon community, leaving an indelible mark on the ever-evolving landscape of marathon experiences.

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