Tennis Tracker is a wearable-centric app designed to help tennis players measure their progress and track their practice sessions using real-time data. Players use a watch interface and voice commands to track whether strokes are "in", "wide", "long" or "net" in real time during practice sessions, and can review data for an individual practice session or a stroke over time on the phone. This project was a part of CS160 at Berkeley, and I served as the primary designer for the group.
A competitive analysis quickly showed my group that while numerous phone and wear apps exist to help tennis players during gameplay, none were readily available for athletes looking to improve their skills. We decided to attempt to fill this gap, and create an app that would be useful to athletes in training, rather than those in gameplay.
Once we had decided on our target user group and the general nature of our app, we proceeded to conduct some user research to fully understand the pain points of tennis players. Our primary user research consisted of contextual inquiry, conducted on both amateur and expert tennis players who use the courts around Berkeley. Our research suggested that while athletes would welcome an app to keep metrics on their practice sessions, anything we built would need to be streamlined and unobtrusive.
Armed with this user-based research, we set out to create a tracking app that would provide the information players needed, without distracting them from gameplay. We then developed 3 personas, ranging from amateur to advanced players, to focus our designs on the different needs and expectations of each group.
Prototyping and Usability Testing
Based on our research and personas, we realized that we had two major design goals — streamlined data collection, and intuitive data analysis. To do this, we divided our application into two fundamentally separate interactions. One, the watch, focuses entirely on real-time tracking. The other, the phone, focuses entirely on reviewing data. By dividing interactions so clearly, we were able to streamline the user flow for each portion, and remove unnecessary distractions. Below are some of our early paper prototypes
In order to verify our initial goal of creating a streamlined and easy to use watch app, we conducted user tests on two Cal tennis players. During the course of the test, an interviewer asked the users to complete several of our core application tasks, such as recording a practice session, reviewing it on the phone, and seeing a stroke overview. An assistant and observer looked on as our users completed the test, and we noticed, above all else, that users were struggling with the watch interface.
In response to the feedback we collected in class critiques and from our usability research, we made several alterations, including adding an instructional welcome screen to the watch app, expanding the number of commands from "in" and "out" to the four we have in our final version, and improvements to the hierarchy and readability of the watch app.
The Final Product
Ultimately, our app is designed to make the lives of tennis players easier. We aim to help demystify progress, and streamline the practicing experience. Through a comprehensive and rigorous design process, we think that we have now made significant progress towards that goal. There is always more iteration to be done, particularly with regards to areas like copy, and refining the data we present on the phone. Nevertheless, we are proud of the product we've created. Tennis Tracker solves a problem that no other app is currently tackling — that of adding data-drive metrics to the practice routine of tennis players.
Team King Julian and the Lemurs: Julian Wong, Mikey Geisinger, Harish Shanker, Leon Wang, and Angira Shirahatti