How we design for trainer productivity

· Kofi Image · Tinkersynth

Trainer Vision’s workflow revolves around workout programming. Most personal training business apps open to a list of your clients or a summary of your income. Instead, Trainer Vision opens to today’s scheduled programming. Why this design? Because we’re primarily focused on trainer productivity.

Dashboard Screenshot

How it started

Trainer Vision started when I asked Amy with a series questions about her workout programming. Well, really only 1 question: why?

  • Why do you type exercises like that?
  • Why do you have all of these apps and tabs open?
  • Why do you have to program so often?
  • Why do your workout plans sometimes change at the last minute?

In a recent post, Amy shared about using this technique to discover your clients’ true motivations. She wrote this with trainers in mind, but the same principle applies to all service businesses, including us! We’re constantly asking, “how would this feature help our trainers program better or faster?” That question guides our prioritization, making sure that we keep the main thing as productive as possible.

Measuring productivity

Prior to building Trainer Vision, I worked at a company that helped logistics back offices work more efficiently. 4x more efficiently to be specific—that was our sales pitch. We found that number by measuring our customers’ outcomes, both before and after they started with us.

All businesses have outcomes that summarize how quickly work happens. In fact, most business have multiple, and sometimes they might conflict with each other. Anyone building a product for businesses needs to find and prioritize the most important outcomes. The best way to assess priority is to ask and observe users—personal trainers in our case.

Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize

Most personal training apps bill themselves as “client management” solutions, so it makes sense that they open to a list of clients. Go ahead and search the term “manage clients” on their website. It’s probably front and center. Their design demonstrates what they believe: that “managing clients” is the core of a personal training business. You can write programs, but only in the context of a single client… since managing clients is the main thing.

We believe workout programming is the core of any personal training business. That’s why we designed Trainer Vision as a digital notebook focused on programming. This design makes it easy to reuse exercise programming across clients. It also lets us show notes, payments, and intake goals in a unique way: always tied to a programmed workout.

Of course, you can (and should) “manage clients” in Trainer Vision, but:

  1. That’s nebulous goal, and definitely not the main thing
  2. It’s not what clients pay for

Trainers keep clients who see results from their workout and nutrition programming. Trainers bill clients for each week or session programmed. Managing clients is always secondary to programming for clients. During our initial round of interviews, we learned that trainers review current programs or write new programs almost daily. Most felt that they should spend more time programming, but couldn’t justify it with their current schedule. That’s why we do everything we can to put programming front-and-center, and make it really fast.