Filling the gap for parent coaches.
Soccer coaches were one of our main users in iSoccer. For that reason we learned a lot about them. Who they where, what they needed, what they cared about. This users were mostly parents that had no background in soccer, they grew up playing football or baseball, and suddenly their kids started to love soccer. This is how Easy Practice was born, from the need of those parents to have some help. Easy Practice is the complete practice planner for the parent coach who needs help coaching their kid's team. It’s like having a professional assistant coach right in your pocket.
WHAT A PRACTICE LOOKS LIKE?
The first part of any project is deciding what the product is going to be and more importantly, what the product is not going to be. We focused on a single aspect of coaching: practice. The practice is where parents needed help. They never have time to prepare it, they don't have structure and sometimes their lack of imaginations ends up making the kids very bored.
In our team we had a real soccer coach that could gave us all the knowledge we needed to be able to understand what a practice is about.
THERE’S NOT TIME
Working parents doesn’t have time to prepare a practice. They arrive to the practice without knowing what to do.
3 MONTHS SEASON
A soccer season lastabout 3 months. You need a practice for each week. The level of difficulty needs to increase during this period of time.
DIFFERENT AGE GROUPS
There are different age groups we needed to tackle. From 5 years old to <10. Each group has different skills they need to improve.
SKETCH, DESIGN AND BUILD FAST!
We had different brainstorm sessions, some of them where in the roof while passing a ball. Once I got a better understanding of what I wanted to do and the issues I should tackle, I took some time to sketch layouts and try different design approaches. Our product manager helped me wire framing all the screens and I started to design some different versions of the ui. I like to draw low fidelity layouts as they help me determine very quickly what works and what doesn’t. I can iterate easily. It also allows me to see the different versions I’ve worked on and in what direction I’m going. Sketches are also a good way to gather feedback before jumping ahead to detailed mockups.
We had to go fast, we focused on building something to test, so we accelerated the process and in two weeks we delivered a working app ready to be used.
TEST A PROTOTYPE WITH REAL USERS
We finally had our first working version of the app, so we took it to the field to test. We invited some friends that were parent and coaches and we gave them the app to try to guide a real practice with us.In few minutes we noticed that we had built a difficult app. The users couldn't find all the information to build the drills. They were struggling navigating through the different parts of a drill. We, as playing the role of a kid, started to get bored and losses attention.
HIGH LEVEL LEARNINGS
We went back and forth between the field and the office a few more times, tweaking things along the way. We discovered that organizing a drill in different sections that you can swipe through was much easier than having a long screen with content that you need to scroll. We also discovered that we needed to give the same structure to each single drill. This way users only needed to learn it once, and after that whey would have a solid mental model. It was also very cool to discover that every time a coach had a sketch diagram or a demo video, were more exited and understood the instructions faster.
CREATE A MENAL MODEL
Each practice needed to have the same structure to be able to create a consistent mental model for the user.
SCROLL VS SWIPE
Breaking the content in pieces and and allowing the user to swipe through it, worked much better than having a long screen to scroll.
TO SHOW IS EASIER
Coaches learned faster with demo videos and diagrams than reading long paragraphs of explanations.
Here is Easy Practice final design after we incorporated our learnings and best practices:
POLISH THE UI AND CREATE ALL THE CONTENT
One of the hardest things of delivering this app was preparing all the content we needed for all the drills. With the help of a real soccer coach I created more than 100 diagrams. A complete glossary that users could reference in case they needed information. Over 50 skill video clips demonstrating how to practice a skill. From the copy, to the diagrams, to the videos and the ui, we made our final edits.
I was very exiting to submit the app and start seeing all the downloads. One of the things we always cared was or user's reviews. It was very exiting to see the great feedback we had. You can download the app from the Apple Store.