Heather Sterman
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RunBuddy Design Challenge

Redesigning how users rate & review runs around their city.

Project Overview

RunBuddy is an iOS app that helps city runners find great routes for their next run. Runners can see routes that other users have ran near them, and choose one for themselves.

Redesigning the Rating Screen

RunBuddy Design Challenge

Redesigning the Rating Screen 

After users finish a run, they can rate their run. Other runners can see this rating, and can use it to help them find a great route.

The current version of the screen uses a 5- star rating system. Many users have complained that this rating system is not really helpful for them to find a new route to run, because it isn’t specific enough.

Research Findings

Research with RunBuddy Users

In order to learn more about the criteria that runners use to choose a route to run & rate, I asked a group of RunBuddy Users the following question:

“What factors do you consider when deciding where you’re going to run?"

After collecting the responses, I found these to be the biggest themes that RunBuddy would need to design for:

Runners prioritize safety when selecting a route.
Runners choose routes based on their difficulty level.
Runners are mindful of how crowded a route is, be it with people or transportation.

Competitive Analysis

In order to get some inspiration for RunBuddy's new & improved rating system, I analyzed a few of its competitors: 

Rate Us Interaction
Rate Us Interaction

Competitive Analysis 1: Rate Us Interaction

This app uses a 5-star rating system, but also includes a feedback page for the user to give a more detailed review. In addition, it provides a personalized touch by describing the weather, which can often be unpredictable for runners. 

A system like this would help RunBuddy users feel more connected to the app, because it takes their opinions & location into account when offering route suggestions. 

Zombies, Run!
Zombies, Run!

Competitive Analysis 2: Zombies, Run!

This imaginative app creates a story line for users to follow while getting into shape.  It also allows for varied settings (Walk, Jog, Run) based on users' preference levels. 

A system like this would help RunBuddy users feel more in control of the rankings of routes based on difficulty level. In addition, adding some fun touches to the app would be a great motivator to exercise regularly. 


Competitive Analysis 3: Runtastic

This app seems to have everything users need in a running app: goal setting, a diary, etc. But instead of rating their runs, users are given feedback & encouragement in real-time from coaches & friends. 

A system like this would help RunBuddy users feel more connected to a community, whether they are running solo or in a group, by offering live messages of support. 


Crazy 8's
Crazy 8's

Crazy 8's Concept Sketches

To begin generating ideas on how to redesign RunBuddy's rating system screen, I quickly jotted down 8 sketches in 8 minutes. In UX Design, this step is known as "Crazy 8's". 

Here are some ideas that came from my sketches: 

  • Sliders - these can be useful to rate crowds, difficulty level of the selected route, or safety
  • Emoticons - these offer users an alternative to simple Yes or No answers when rating their runs
  • Feedback Boxes -  allow the user to offer a more detailed opinion about their review. Since typing on a phone can be cumbersome, the amount of characters should be limited 

Detailed Sketch
Detailed Sketch

Detailed Solution Sketch

From my Crazy 8's Sketches, I condensed my ideas into one higher-level detail sketch. 

Here are some of the key decisions I reached when moving towards this solution:

  • The screens were sectioned into 3 categories: Safety, Crowds & Difficulty Level.

    Why? This allows users to rate more specific aspects of their run, and leaving a more accurate review will assist other runners when searching for routes.
  • I added symbols & icons to give users more of a visual element to their reviews.

    Why? This gives users an idea of what a route is like, how crowded it is & its safety level from the perspective of others. Icons & symbols help runners associate a route with the category it falls under.  

Next Steps

RunBuddy Design Challenge

From Paper To Digital

Now that I have sketched out an idea for the new RunBuddy rating system screen, the next step will be to create a prototype for limited user testing. Individuals who were previously interviewed about their experience with the RunBuddy app will have an opportunity to try out the newly designed rating system feature, before it is released to the public.