EchoUser partnered with NSF International to redesign their Certified for Sport mobile app, creating a more user-friendly experience. Through comprehensive user research and collaborative workshops, we developed innovative features like barcode scanning, "Power Search," and goal-oriented browsing. Our efforts resulted in an enhanced app that simplifies the search process for a diverse user base, ensuring easy access to certified performance-enhancing products.
NSF International is a nonprofit organization renowned for its product testing and certification services. Their expertise lies in ensuring brands' compliance with the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) guidelines by putting them through stringent certification testing protocols. NSF approached EchoUser to revamp their NSF Certified for Sport mobile app, which provides users with a searchable database of certified products, including dietary supplements, protein powders, vitamins, energy drinks, sleeping pills, and other performance enhancers.
The NSF Certified for Sport app serves various end users, including national sports teams, dietitians, professional athletes, and high school football players. EchoUser's primary goal was to significantly redesign the iOS app to enhance its search functionality and user-friendliness while incorporating key features to improve the overall search process.
Our first step was to conduct eight preliminary user interviews over two weeks to gain insights into the real needs of NSF for Sport app users and how they use the app to fulfill those needs. Based on these interviews, we developed three lightweight personas and invalidated some of our initial assumptions about user requirements.
For instance, we believed that athletes and dietitians would be interested in a new app feature to track their supplement intake over time. However, the actual users we interviewed indicated that while they do monitor blood, urine, and their overall routine, they were not interested in tracking supplements or logging detailed dietary information in an app.
After several weeks of interviews and conceptual designs, we conducted a day-long workshop with NSF at their headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The client team engaged in paper prototyping to ideate and test concepts on each other. The paper prototyping exercise provided valuable insights even before diving into the intricate details of a full design sprint.
The workshop enabled both teams to discover feasible solutions within technical constraints and helped clarify NSF's expectations for their app redesign. Additionally, it established a sense of ownership for NSF stakeholders over the final product designs that emerged from the workshop.
Based on the use cases identified during our preliminary research, we devised three critical functionalities to incorporate into the next version of the NSF for Sport iOS app:
Use Case 1: A user has a product in hand and wants to verify its certification by searching the database.
New Feature: We integrated a scanning function that allows users to scan the product's barcode, and the app indicates whether the product is NSF for Sport certified or not.
Use Case 2: A user wants to type in a product name and view the results.
New Feature: We introduced "Power Search," a functionality similar to Spotify, which suggests products and auto-populates the results section based on the user's input. This feature provides relevant categories, brands, and other related information as the user types.
Use Case 3: A user wants to search for a product based on its intended use rather than its name, such as a certified sleep aid.
New Feature: We developed a "Browse" function to facilitate goal-oriented searches. This feature allows users to navigate through categories and subcategories to find certified products that meet their specific needs.
We were mindful of the technical limitations of the existing database, much of which was created and categorized manually. The EchoUser team opted to design the ideal version of the app first, even if some components would only be implemented in subsequent releases (v2, v3, etc.). This approach ensured that users would eventually receive the features they needed, albeit in future updates.
One significant challenge we encountered was catering to NSF's diverse user base. We aimed to be as inclusive as possible, considering users ranging from professional athletes to parents purchasing supplements for their high school athletes.
In the end, we successfully simplified the NSF for Sport iOS app by enhancing existing user flows and introducing new ones to ensure a seamless and satisfying user experience. As part of our EchoUser UX as a Service engagement with NSF, we continued to collaborate up until the product's launch on the App Store. Our efforts resulted in an improved, user-friendly app that caters to a wide range of users, making it easier for them to find and verify certified products in line with their specific needs and preferences.