As part of the Designing Interactions course 2017 at Aalto University, our team worked on a brief given by the Suunto design team. They tasked us with designing a new UI for the SUUNTO SPARTAN ULTRA sports watch’s interval training feature, with a focus on interaction design. Our main target group was experience-seeking athletes.
To explore the brief, the target group, interval training and the sports watch model we wanted to understand how interval training fit into an experience-seeking athletes’ routine, how Suunto could facilitate interval training and what the limits & possibilities of the interaction style are when designing for a watch with only three buttons and a limited touch functionality. During the two-week project we benchmarked similar watches, explored interval training practices and conducted nine interviews with experienced athletes.
Interval training are used by athletes for improving speed and endurance. Thus it is very data-driven and result centred. The performance are maximised with the help of recovery periods. To achieve this, an interval training session is therefore structured through a warm-up period, a series of sets (with both high and low intensity intervals) with breaks in between and finally a cool-down period.
As a result of our research we defined a set of guidelines for our design. Because of the varying nature conditions that experience-seeking athletes exercises in, the functions of the watch should primarily be operated using the buttons, the ommunication should happen through delicate & sport-specific haptic, audio and visuals and finally the watch should be responsive to exceptional situations: environment / athlete’s body.
The UI design should allow the interval training to be sport specific. The athlete should be able to design and control the entire exercise, and should be able to save the customised interval training settings for later use. Additionally information about how long it takes for you to recover should be provided.
Finally for the experience, the interval training should prepare the athlete for the experience, not be part of it. The watch should not distract from the experience and lastly it should motivate the user to do interval training.