Reinventing a training format with the help of an app
As a UX Designer working with a big variation of products and target groups it’s great sometimes, to be able to do something completely niche for a small group of people you know very well. That’s been the case for the O-Teknik project we just launched for Danish orienteering runners on the no-code app platform Glideapps.
After a year of having to re-think and change the way regular trainings are organised due to Covid 19 restrictions, we’ve learned a lot experimenting with more long-term, periodic options for training, and with how to communicate their existence. While most other sports, even outdoor sports, had been forced to close down, we could continue and even improve our options as orienteering runners by rethinking the way we’ve been doing trainings for decades. Covid-19 restrictions forced us to re-think traditional practice and, in our case, it left us with something better instead.
Traditionally weekly orienteering trainings are offered by enthusiastic volunteers from local clubs. They set up scheduled trainings at fixed locations, and the trainings are open for around two hours.
The first series of “CoronaCup” initiated and organised by Tim Falck Weber changed that and made the trainings available for a full month instead of just a few hours. This ensured that more people would not gather in the same place making it completely safe and pandemic-proof. From the runner’s perspective it allowed them to go train whenever it suited their schedule. This way it increased the value immensely from the same effort that has been put into the trainings traditionally.
We started out communicating the trainings in a Facebook group, that quickly gained traction. It soon proved hard to preserve the overview of active trainings. So, I started to maintain a simple spreadsheet with the relevant dates and links to starting points and where to get the maps.
The CoronaCup series turned out to be a huge success with hundreds of participants in the more than 60 trains that were made available throughout the past year.
The simple overview page along with a first attempt of a web app built on the GlideApps platform went a long way in servicing the runners throughout the year. Finetuning and refining it based on user feedback made it even better along the way.
It was a giant leap though to be able to upgrade the communication part on top of a redefinition of the whole training concept based on the experiences of the first year.
The project has now gotten the name O-Teknik (“orienteering technique” in Danish) and has received funding for a team of professional trainers to maintain the steady pace of high-level trainings.
At the same time, I’ve done a new version of the overview of the trainings based on Glideapp’s ability to serve as both an app on the phone and as a desktop version website. This both reduces the need for weekly updates and maintenance – well, Glideapps still needs a Google spreadsheet to be updated weekly with data but at least we are down to one place to update. Not three as before.
More importantly, it improved the user experience a lot, making things easier and more accessible to anyone.
I’m happy to say that we now a very simple offering for the hundreds of orienteering runners around Copenhagen at any time:
Open the app > Find a training > Print the map > Drive to the parking spot > Go run.
I’m available for freelance work and consultancy. Short and longer term. At an hourly rate or with a project based agreement. I’m based in Copenhagen, open for remote work and travelling within reason.