Yoga Flow

Kinect companion mobile application for beginner yoga practitioners.

OVERVIEW
Problem
Yoga is a popular and powerful physical, mental and spiritual practice that has many health benefits. However, based on the ethnographic research provided by a fellow peer, it is evident that getting involved in traditional yoga can be a challenge for beginners, especially for busy and financially restricted college students.
Duration
3 Weeks | Nov. 2019
Team
Individual project
Solution
An application concept for Xbox Kinect that is designed to address the design implications beginners face with this practice, including costly memberships and rigid time commitments, clarity of instructions and progression of the practice. 
Tools
Photoshop, Adobe XD
 
PROBLEM STATEMENT

How might we design a more inclusive yoga experience for beginners?

SOLUTION

Customized Programs

Users can select which type of program they would like to participate in and which best fits their schedule and goals.

Feedback & Progression

Providing users with data about their workouts and allowing them to review recordings of sessions to check progress over time while providing self-feedback. 

Projected Display

Using the motion sensors of Kinect, the user's projection is displayed alongside the workout instructor, eliminating the need to use a mirror to observe posture during the workout.
 
PROCESS
01 Research
Ethnographic Research
Competitive Analysis
Synthesis
Personas
02 Design
Ideation
Wireframes
Hi-fi Designs
Interactive Prototype
RESEARCH
Ethnographic Research

How do people get involved with yoga?

Yoga is a popular and powerful physical, mental and spiritual practice that has many health benefits. However, based on the ethnographic research provided by a partner, it is evident that getting involved in traditional yoga can be a challenge for beginners, especially for busy and financially restricted college students. Through participating in two studio classes and interviewing class participants, my partner found that many beginners struggle to follow the instructor and constantly have to keep looking up from their positions to see how to hold a pose. This combined with lack of familiarity with yoga vocabulary and names caused frustration and hindered what participants hope to be a meditative experience. 
Some additional findings from my partner's research included:
  • Constantly trying to catch up by peeking at other participants, which resulted in inaccuracy of postures​
  • Feeling alone and embarrassed as the only beginner in class
  • Uncertainty about progress as there was no feedback from class instructor
  • Concern about being able to continue practice as studio classes are very costly and timely
 
Competitive Analysis

What are some existing yoga programs designed for beginners?

After analyzing findings from the field research, I conducted a competitive analysis to see what options are available for yoga beginners that don't include studio classes and how they address some of the highlighted issues. 

MIRROR Interactive Fitness

  • Allows users to follow along workout while watching the instructor and themselves at the same time
  • Customizable and adjustable to meet user's fitness goals 
  • Very expensive ($1,495)

Mobile apps and YouTube videos

  • Most mobile applications offer limited access to free content
    • Paid content is typically around $5+ per month​
  • YouTube has hundreds of free video content aimed at beginners, however they're not 
  • The downside to both mobile apps and videos is that the user is not able to customize their experience and
    • They also have to follow along through a tv, laptop or mobile device without being able to focus on their own form
Synthesis
With the research provided to me, my task was to design an experience that would address the design implications beginners face with this practice. Based on this field research, I created Yoga Flow for Xbox Kinect that addresses the following:
Costly memberships
Time commitments
Clarity of instructions and feedback
Gradual progression through repetition
Personas

Jessica, the broke college student

Needs:
  • Wishes there were more hours in a day
  • Needs a way to relax from the stresses of college
  • Looking for an inexpensive way to get into yoga 
Frustrations:
  • Poor time management 
  • Balancing responsibilities with physical and mental health 
  • Expensive studio class fees on top of the already required athletic fees she pays each semester

Brad, the busy young professional

Needs:
  • Constantly traveling for work and needs a flexible schedule to practice yoga on his own time 
  • Needs an affordable option since he's still paying off his student debt
Frustrations:
  • Rigid studio class schedules that never align with his work schedule 
  • Getting lost in classes and not being able to follow the instructor
 
DESIGN

How does Yoga Flow work?

1

Kinect

This app is designed to work on Xbox Kinect to provide new practitioners with a fully integrated yoga experience. Through the smart motion sensor technology imbedded in the Kinect, users will be able to see themselves on the projected display while doing the workout so they can focus on their posture. This way, users can easily follow along with the instructor while monitoring their own posture without having to constantly look back and forth from a mirror to a screen. Having everything displayed in one place will ease the process for and eliminate feelings of disorientation for beginners.

2

Mobile App

The accompanying app allows users to have total control over their yoga experience. The key features include enrolling in a customized program that best fits the user's needs and goals, including different levels for beginners and intermediate yoga practitioners, targeted practice to focus on better improving poses learned in the core programs, and progress tracking. In addition, the app allows users to record workouts to review later and watch their progress as they participate in the programs
Sketches
Following the informed ideation, I sketched out a few iterations of the main features of the companion application and decided to design a simplistic interface that would encourage users to explore programs to find what works best for them. Below are some of the final design wireframes.
Style Guide
My goal with the interface design of this app was to convey a sense of peacefulness. Since yoga is a mindful practice that focuses on spirituality and inner self, I chose colors that would represent tranquility. 
#F6F6F9
#FEF0FF
#8EAAD9
#555555
Hi-fi Designs
The ​Home screen highlights other programs that are designed to supplement the program user is already enrolled in. It also displays their current program so it is the first thing they see and gives easy access to continuing the program without having to go through many steps. It is designed to be a quick and efficient way to complete workouts so that the user does not have to spend too much of their valuable time preparing for the workout. 
Users can select which type of program they would like to participate in and which best fits their schedule and goals. 
Targeted Practice Programs​ are offered to aid the gradual learning process and ​allow for repetition of moves to better understand how to execute them.
 
Data and stats on user's performance and participation so they can see how much time they spend on each program, including days completed, time spent, calories burned and more. 
Review recordings of sessions to check progress over time while providing self-feedback on ways they can better improve next time, but also providing them with a way to see how they have gradually improved throughout the course of each program. 
The image to the left is a representation of what the Kinect display interface looks like. It focuses on the user’s projected display working out alongside the virtual instructor. Using the motion sensors of Kinect, the display eliminates the need to use a mirror to observe posture during the workout.

There is also a time display of the workout to let the user know how much time they have left in the workout. This is a huge contrast to the studio sessions where participants don’t have a way of keeping up with the time. Along with the time display, the names of postures are displayed on the screen to build memory connections and gradually become more familiar with yoga lingo.
With the virtual instructor, users will see a holographic reflection of themselves on the screen and will be able to compare their posture to the instructor with a side by side comparison to ensure they are performing moves correctly. This approach aims to lessen the confusion that beginners experience when practicing yoga by displaying them and allowing the users to mimic what the instructor is doing. Not only does the virtual instructor help in better understanding the practice and executing moves correctly, but it also serves as a workout partner so that the experience is not as lonely.
Unlike in a studio class, the user will have complete control over what they believe would best enhance their experience, including music selection. After the workout settings are updated, the user will then begin the workout which will transition into an “in-session” screen.
As soon as the begin workout button is tapped, Kinect will display the session on the screen of choice, like a TV, and there will be a countdown before the workout begins to allow the user time to put their phone away and get on their yoga mat. The session is automatically recorded and saved to the Progress page. The user will then direct their attention to the screen that Kinect is connected to for the workout.
 
Interactive Prototype
 
Reflection
What I Learned
Since this was my first time working with ethnographic research gathered by someone else, I faced several challenges early on in the process where I had to consult my partner with questions to further understand the data gathered. 
 
Also given the time constraint of this project, I plan to expand the interfaces and conduct usability testing with the target audience in the future to better understand how the solution can be improved. 
Portfolio   |   Mentors@GT   |   Sea Turtle Adventure   |   Yoga Flow   |   UGA Sleep Study

© Nikki Mehrjerdian 2020. Made with ♥ and 🎵