The fitness industry is growing at an incredible pace, with new approaches to training, equipment, connected technology, and software all merging to push the industry into new territory.
Mobile app development in the fitness industry is growing at an equally fast pace as well.
Wearables, nutrition trackers, routine trackers, class scheduling apps, habit changing apps, etc. etc. are improving the lives of people around the world.
In this article, I’ll share 4 key mobile app development elements that a CEO/CTO/Founder should consider when building a fitness app.
These ideas are driven from our work building various fitness and IoT apps as a mobile app development company in USA.
1. Cross Platform – iOS, Android, and Web
Fitness apps are used by different people at different times on different devices. The only way to reach your total available market is to be available where your target audience is located (be it an actual location or device).
That’s not rocket science.
The challenge is that iOS, Android, and web apps require different designs and skill sets. As such, there are typically multiple code bases for each platform, so every update needs to be built on every platform.
Of course, there’s a significant cost to building apps this way. The cost includes both the upfront time and cost of multiple development resources, and the ongoing cost of keeping those resources and maintaining the various apps.
Fortunately, new technology and frameworks allow apps to be built with a single code base and launched to multiple app stores.
We specialize in a framework that allows us to build apps that launch on iOS, Android, and web with a single code base.
React Native is a fantastic framework for building cross platform apps faster and more efficiently. Popular apps built on the React Native framework include Facebook, Airbnb, Instagram, Uber Eats, and more.
As a React Native mobile development agency, all of the apps we build are cross platform.
Performance on any app is key, especially in the fitness industry where most users are focused on their workout. If an app doesn’t work with them, they won’t take the time to use it.
I have a handful of apps that I use when training for a marathon, triathlon, or general weight lifting and the key to sustained use is performance.
I’ve dumped music apps that are slow to load and running apps/wearables that take too much time to connect to GPS.
In the fitness industry, performance of the mobile app and the technology is key. We use React Native in these apps because it allows us to deploy to multiple app stores with a single code base, AND those apps have nearly identical performance to a native app.
3. Great UI/UX
User interface and user design are about how something looks and feels (UI), and how it is used (UX).
In performance, I talked about how an app has to work with me, or I won’t use it. The same is true for UI/UX.
An app has to work with me, as I workout, to work for me. One of my favorite apps is Spotify – I use it daily. They do a lot of things great, but one of my favorite things is that as soon as I plug in headphones or speakers, a notification pops up to launch Spotify. It’s so simple/easy that I don’t even have to think about it.
How many companies would do that?
I can hear a ton of executives saying, “There’s no ROI in building that feature because it’s just one click to open the app from the home screen.”
But this design means that users don’t even have to think about finding the app on their phone’s home screen. They just go to Spotify. That’s beautiful design.
From a fitness standpoint, Spotify does a few things right – first they make it super easy to change songs from a locked screen, and they provide pre-made playlists tailored to your workout.
They even have playlists created to help you keep pace and title thoses X BPM (beats per minute). A slow long run might be 150 BPM, and a tempo run might require 180 BPM. Awesome, awesome design. This great UI and great UX (remember those are separate things) ensures people continue using the app, and it drives more usage.
In typical ying and yang fashion, to have great design means there’s apps out there with poor design (or not great design).
If you’re interested in what goes into UX planning, check out this awesome article on Medium about a UX analysis and Redesign for Spotify.
When I started using Garmin a few years ago to track my workouts, the app left a lot to be desired. It took 2-3 clicks or more to find the information that I needed, and it did not work the way that I expected.
We use React Native because it allows us to focus on building a great mobile UI. The result is that we build UI’s that have a quick load time, are highly responsive, and have a smooth feel.
4. Market Size
The global health club industry is $87.2 billion with 174 million members worldwide. The US market alone has about 40,000 clubs with an annual growth rate of 3.6%. The wearables market is predicted to grow 15.3% by the end of 2019.
If you’re a Shark Tank watcher, you know that’s not a good representation of your Total Addressable Market (TAM).
It’s important to better define your target customer and market size so that you can build a focused marketing strategy and make build decisions that make sense for you.
From a development standpoint, knowing exactly who you’re building for allows you to make decisions about technology, UX and UI, and cost trade-offs that impact your business goals.
If you ask a developer if they can do something, the answer is always yes. It’s just a matter of time and money.
The better question is if we build this app/feature/button will it help us grow in our target market and meet our business objectives.
If you’re going after that billion dollar market with no segmentation, you will get distracted, release late, and likely fall short of your best audience’s expectations.
Our Work in the Fitness Industry
We help companies to launch cross platform apps to iOS, Android, and the web.
We are a US based React Native app development company and we pride ourselves in our ability to specialize for our clients and guide them to market.
We’ve worked in IoT, connected hardware, and fitness. You can learn more about one of our most recent fitness apps that supports gym management across the US.
We build fitness apps.
Parsed builds mobile apps and recruits top tech talent for tech companies. Parsed helps its customers launch apps on both iOS and Android.
We specialize in using React and React Native to build mobile applications. We augment in-house teams with React Native development expertise and help companies staff great React developers.
We are a team of passionate developers, project managers and designers.