Nike Run Club

A new teams feature to connect and run with other Nike Run Club Runners.


Nike Run Club


Product Design

Project Type

Case Study


The Problem

There are many scientific studies that show doing physical workouts of any kind can help with mental and physical health, even more when you have the help of friends or a community.

We were born to move. Nike Run Club is a mobile application that helps people motivate and overcome running goals, encouraging them to continue training with GPS tracking, guided running workouts, custom coaching plans, and motivation from friends and other users - while having fun doing it.

Three years ago I was involved in a heavy car accident that landed me in an emergency room. After my recovery, I did not have many ways to cope with the aftermath that was my anxiety from the accident. Two of my closest friends recommended that I try running and install the Nike run application to track my distances. I can say without a doubt, running saved my life. After my runs, I immediately felt the “runners high”. I was more clear-headed and focused. Running wasn’t about the destination, it was about the journey. And that journey is beautiful when you can share it with someone else.

The Solution

I designed a feature for Nike Run Club that helps runners connect, experience, and share challenges through their local and global communities. I started the project already having knowledge of a couple of running applications. But I knew I needed to understand and research the use cases of these niche applications and what was their purpose. I focused more on the kind of audience these applications were going for.

The Obstacles

Working within Nike Run Club’s tight constraints. There wasn’t a lot of room I could work with to add a feature to Nike Run Club’s architecture while  respecting Nike’s design language. I needed to figure out a way to make this teams feature an extension of the application, like it was meant to be there.


Understanding the Domain

I started the project already having knowledge of a couple of running applications. But I knew I needed to understand and research the use cases of these niche applications and what was their purpose. I focused more on the kind of audience these applications were going for.

In order to understand more about these fitness running applications, I needed to research these apps one by one, put them side-by-side for special insights, and visit the product to understand the product. I was also curious about the usage of these apps during the pandemic. This helped me understand what fitness applications prioritize as a business while looking at a few insights on how these applications were used.

Key insights from the secondary research:
  • Branding: Branding and overall design increase company image.
  • Personal Business: Each running application has a personal business that they are focusing on. For example, Nike Run Club hopes users buy their shoes with their added “Add Nike Shoes” feature. This helps log the mileage on your shoes and notifies you when it is time to buy new ones. Strava’s focus is that you buy their monthly subscription for extra features (past effort comparisons, compete for segments, advanced metrics, training dashboard, suggested routes, and more).
  • Digital Growth: Daily active usage for fitness applications grew by 24% worldwide in COVID-19.

According to Apptopia (in the heat of the pandemic), there was an uptick in daily global downloads for fitness applications.

Nike Run Club users want connection with other runners. For example, a user rated the application three stars because they want the option to sync to competitor apps like Strava (which has a community of athletes) to share their progress with friends and local running groups. The user also mentioned the lack of community in Nike Run Club, which does not allow them to connect with other runners in their area.

Comparing the Competitors

Since there are a number of running tools that exist online, I went ahead and compared a few of the most popular ones.

My competitive analyses findings include:

  • Strava is Feature Rich: Strava is the only tool that can let you connect with people from your contacts and local community (and rich in running features).
  • Couch to 5K Little to Offer: Running applications like Couch to 5k seems to be the only application with little features.
  • Lack of Community Connection: Running applications such as Runtastic, Garmin, and Fitbit seem to have enough of the standard features to track running stats well. What they don’t have is a feature to connect with contacts and other runners locally.

The results motivated me to:

  • Focus on using interviews to learn about how users would share running achievements and connect with other runners.
  • Use the interviews to help drive the design and architecture of a community-based feature for Nike Run Club.
  • Build this Nike Run Club Teams feature that is simple to use for sharing and connecting with other runners.

One on One Interviews

To gain a better understanding of how users operate fitness running applications, I conducted one on one interviews for my primary research. I wanted to learn about about daily goals, pain points, and useful features that would help them use their respective product more. I conducted one on one interviews with users who use Nike Run Club and other running fitness tools. Each set of questions had a purpose, so I categorized them based on sets (Introductory, Motivation, Desirable, Sentiment, Valuable, Wrap Up)

View Research Debrief in Notion

Key Takeaways

What I found was that runners would love to use a teams feature with their friends with the extra option to also connect with other runners locally and globally. Runners enjoy sharing the experience and struggles of running together, there’s a certain camaraderie to that.

  • Accountability: Running teams keep a sense of group accountability and support.
  • Pandemic: Nike Run Club hasn’t done anything during the pandemic to help runners connect with each other.
  • Motivator: Runners expressed running with the support of others is a top motivator.
"I do like the idea of being able to make a group of my small friends and work towards a collective goal.."
"It would be cool to set up local run meets to meet with people."


Making Sense of the Interview Data

After conducting the research interviews, I created an affinity map to make clusters out of the data from the interviews. This helped me visualize the clusters into different sections such as goals, wants, needs, frustrations, and motivations. Nike Run Club runners prioritize tracking team miles, doing team challenges, and connecting with other runners.

Persona, Empathy Map, & Flow

After my affinity mapping exercise, I had a defined clear clusters which helped me build a persona and empathy map to dive deep into the behavioral aspect of the persona. Subsequently, I created the sitemap for the added feature for Nike Run Club. This helped me build an added feature using Nike's architecture.

Site Map & User Flow

I wanted to show the overall information architecture of Nike Run Club while also adding the new feature within it. In this case, the “Teams” feature would be added under Club.

Knowing my sitemap and persona, the user flow illustrates a runner who is looking for a local Nike Run Team to connect and share running experiences with.


Designing a Team

I took my time drafting the added feature for Nike Run Club. I wanted to strike a proper balance with adding a feature within Nike Run Club based off of my research while following Nike’s information architecture and brand values.

Digital Sketches

I wanted to have alternatives when choosing a design for the added Nike feature. On the left, I drew Nike’s current design. This helped me visually figure out where I was going to add this feature and how I was going to display that added feature.

Mid-Fi Wireframes

After selecting one of my alternatives, I created a mid-fidelity design. The wireframes include the added Teams section within Nike’s original information architecture, a Teams page where users can scroll and search through teams, and team summary page after selecting a team (giving the runner the option to look at challenges and joining).

UI Kit

With my style guide and the help of the brand design guidelines from Nike Run Club, it was easy for me to create the UI elements.

Hi-Fi Wireframes

One of my top priorities was to work within Nike Run Club’s design language and constraints. Not only did I want the new Nike Teams feature to be an added feature, but I wanted it to be an extension of the Nike Run Club. In this particular case, I had a set of colors to abide by, component size to abide by, and Nike Run Club’s hierarchy. I took the time to study an app I used on a daily basis to make sure I did it justice, but the final design went through a heavy set of changes.

  • Teams Section in Nike Club: An introduction to Nike runners showing available running teams.
  • Teams Page: A list of global, local, and teams joined.
  • Teams Page (tapping on a team): you are met with a summary of the team and challenges done by the team.

Below is the first version of my design, after some testing - there were a number of changes made for the final design after the feedback was given

Usability Testing

Testing the Details

A remote usability testing was conducted using a high-fidelity prototype design on Figma. The reason for this test was to examine the flow of design, ease of navigation, and the extent to which design reflects the values of the brand. This test also tries to view and understand users' pain points, goals, and recommendations. The test was conducted with five participants via remote video calls. The Otter AI application was used to transcribe the dialogue live to pick out keywords used to analyze and compare with other participants.

The goals for the usability testing:

  • To test the end-to-end flow of the design and ease of navigation.
  • To see if the overall look of the application design reflects the brand's values.
  • To validate if the design solves the user's needs and pain points that were captured during the research phase.
  • To observe any areas of setbacks, questions, confusion, hesitation, or difficulty for the user.

View Usability Test Planning in Notion

Usability Testing Summary

The usability testing and the prototype were a success. Overall, the participants were able to complete the tasks in a timely manner and enjoyed the flow of the site, design, and navigation.

"I think it would be great to create a team within a group of your friends. Then you're all creating challenges together, I think that'd be really fun and cool."
"So here in Portugal, there aren't any run groups. So I think people would actually be more inclined into grouping up and do sets together with the team feature. And maybe you would be able to find more people to run with because that was actually a pain point for me, where, you know, I trained a lot, I was doing half marathons, was getting all the miles, and I wanted someone to run with and I could not find anyone."

View Usability Test Findings in Notion

Priority Revisions

One of the top requested feedbacks were to add skill level, location, and average pace for Nike Run Teams. This feedback was added throughout the application. Also an About section was added within the Nike Run Teams page. This helped Nike Run Club runners know more about the team they were coming in.

Final Hi-Fi Wireframes

After usability testing was completed, I was able to refine the process for Nike Run Club teams feature. You don't have to click the team to find out more information about them because that information (city, skill level, and average pace) was already displayed at the forefront.


A Time to Reflect

I took the time to reflect on what it entailed to design and add a feature for Nike Run Club.

My Biggest Challenges

There were a few challenges I had to truck my way through while add a feature for Nike Run Club:

  • Finding Participants: I wanted Nike Run Club users. I knew I was putting myself in a box, but I felt like it was the only way to really know what users wanted out of this application. This was challenging because didn’t know a lot of Nike Run Club users to give me enough valuable insights for feedback and testing. I really had to search for users.
  • Constraints: I use Nike Run Club weekly, but it wasn’t enough for me to start adding and designing a feature on a whim. I studied the app, took screenshots of the app, and counted pixel per pixel to make sure I was following Nike’s design language.
What I Learned

I learned how important it is to work within a system, in this specific case, Nike Run Club’s system. If you are able to follow a certain design language and look for users who use and care about the app, you can build a feature that makes sense to users and features they would actually use.

  • Respect the Box: I put myself in a box. In a world where we are encouraged to think outside of the box, I stayed inside. I stayed within Nike’s guidelines and I stayed with testing users who only use the Nike Run Club application. In this specific instance, I don’t regret it. I was able to add a feature where users mentioned it looked like an extension of Nike Run Club and a feature they would actually use.
What Would I Do Differently?

I think there is a few stuff that comes to mind on what I could have done differently. There is one that does stand out to me, I think it’s adding more helpful information on the cards.

  • Helpful Cards: In my first iteration, the team cards only had runner's information. Thanks to my testing and user interviews, I was able to add pace and skill level to the second iteration. This slipped me and looking back I wish I would have added that in my first iteration.
Next Steps

With that being said, the next steps of this design process would be:

  • Test Priority Revisions: Conduct another usability testing to see if the revisions improved the overall experience.
  • Iterate & Test: If necessary, iterate and testing to be conducted for other potential improvements.
  • Developer Handoff: Export projects and assets to developers to deploy.