Almost two weeks ago now, I stumbled across a video by Erik Conover ,who I think, mostly uploads videos about super expensive mansions all over New York City, but this videos title read - “I worked out like Chris Hemsworth for 30days”. This immediately caught my eye, mostly because dude’s jacked so I was very curious about his workouts and secondly Erik’s thumbnail showed an impressive before and after 30 days comparison.
The apps name is Centr and that is exactly what it aims to promote - a culture of being centred, setting you on course to reach your full potential through guided training sessions, daily motivation, mediation and wholesome food recipes.
I downloaded the app immediately and started playing around. OK - first things first, this is not the easiest app to navigate (scroll down for my usability updates), but boy was I surprised!
They say variety is the spice of life. They also say when speaking about online products, services and apps etc, that people are most engaged when there is a range of options. This app did just that - it kept me engaged. I’ve used many fitness apps and over the past 5 years have tried many different workout plans, some for as long as 3 months, but I’d never seen anything like this one.
Everything revolves around a week-by-week calendar, and selecting a day from the top navigation displays that day’s activities. You get an opener for the morning, possibly some motivation or something brand new that just dropped like “A sweet potato lasagne” (yum!). Then, scrolling down you get your daily workout, which you can choose to do self guided (by images or video) or with a coach (by video and voice). Scroll a bit further down and you get a meditation segment, and finally just below that 3 amazing meals - suggestions for breakfast, lunch and dinner. So great!
This is the best part of all, one day I did pilates in the morning and then a bonus heavy kettle bell workout (only 10 minutes) later that afternoon. One of the workouts I did had me barely lifting any weight but feeling pain in parts of my body I didn’t know I could feel pain in. The variety is just what I needed. Spending 3 months doing variations of the same old boring weight lifting techniques most apps put out seemed a thing of the past after I started this. Sure apps like Freelectics and the likes don’t use weight at all (callisthenics), but what I love about Centr is that it’s a mix of everything. Two days ago I did a 24 mins kickboxing session - killer!
The food’s just great! I chose the vegan option (Oh yes, you get choice here too), and the recipes are so easy to make and very realistic. They don’t have you going out and buying super special ingredients you will only use once per recipe, which is never ideal! Also, the smoothies are yum.
The extra bits
Bonus kettle bell workouts, morning inspiration and sleep time meditation make this app everything to me.
Best of all, you don’t accumulate points as you progress day by day, they are not dangling carrots to try motivate you to use the app, or tugging at your dopamine by sending check-in notifications to your phone 3-times-a-day, its just there - and I want to use it!
Small catch - the app is probably going to be my most expensive monthly subscription at R329.99/pm (£17), that’s hella pricey compared to, well every other app I have ever paid for, but so far I think it’s worth every penny.
And, as with everything I touch, I must fix a few usability issues I found:
Image 1: On the daily content screen, the workout segment I have to select a tab “Self-guided” or “Coached” first then click anywhere on the image to open the workout.
There are a few things wrong with this:
For starters it is not clear what is clickable and what is not;
Click on the workout title or any other text and nothing happens;
Then, the tab on-top the image is not a great experience as it’s the same touch area with multiple interactions;
Lastly, not knowing what the difference between self-guided and coached at this point is deems it useless, especially on a user’s first experience - it would do better in context on the workout screen.
I have put all the info regarding that workout on a single card, this way the user can easily identify the grouped info and click anywhere to access it. I have removed the tab selector and place it in context on the workout screen.
Image 2: The lack of contrast makes everything look a bit cluttered and unorganised.
Using colour contrast, bolder font and aligning text automatically made things look more thought out. Then, to make known again what was clickable and what action would follow, I put each workout move on in card which pulled everything together nicely.
On the workout screen I also included a sticky header that would appear on reverse scroll, as the pages are quite long and scrolling to the top to go back a step is a waste of any users time.
Image 3: I’m not 100% sure why they need to style this component differently to that of the workout one, but again found it quite weird that only the image was clickable and the text and even the mic icon stretch so equally as far down the page.
I used the exact same layout I used for the workout card and achieved the desired effect. Breakfast and the other meals will be an example of a second card style.
The play icon touch surface was too small, my retina display on my iPhone 7 plus huge canvas made it display minute. Also, during a workout, hands sometimes wet, I missed this button multiple times;
The only way to exit the workout is by clicking the “Pause” icon and then selecting to end the workout. This is not a great experience either as its not a common interaction to first have to pause something before trying to end/close it.
I increased the size of the “play” button; and
Added a close icon in the top right corner, which could for ease open the same screen as clicking pause, but now the users intentions are made clear;
Image 5: At “0” minutes the worked cannot be completed or finished.
Changed the wording to indicate the users progress and intention to end/close it before completion.