It started with a problem that I faced early last year. My goal was simple: I wanted to get in shape. I started going to my local university gym, and I tried to use my most convenient resource for learning to work out: TikTok. I found a few videos that I liked, but it wasn't long until problems started to arise.
Using TikTok in the gym is hard. It feels clunky, and at the end of the day, it's a social media. You never know when a random cat video is going to appear while you're trying to find a workout.
As a broke college student, I couldn't afford a personal trainer, TikTok was my only option, I looked up to influencers for workout help, and I was reliant on their routines, except the platform just wasn't working.
A free-to-use app that takes the best parts of TikTok influencers and combines them with a seamless experience to help you get in shape. Find your favorite creator's workouts, add your own, and make a personalized workout plan - that isn't in the shape of a clunky social media app.
When building the core screens of Uplift (as shown above), we wanted to make sure that the user wouldn't get bogged down by the information we hold. Because of this, we tried to simplify getting the user to where they are looking for as quickly as possible.
A user can see their program at a glance. They can scroll through the workouts by muscle group like a Spotify playlist, or view them by day.
In late August of 2022, after 6 months of development, countless pitch competitions, and graduating the pre-seed accelerator known as Founder Institute, we launched Uplift. For me, this is where I truly learned the most lessons as my first go of being a founder.
We had an awesome launch, a sweet promotional video, reposts from influencers, and a lot of downloads - mostly from friends and family. Though, it wasn't long until some of the problems started seeping through the cracks. The biggest issue is we didn't do enough testing - but we thought we did.
Here's the thing: we didn't test with all of our customer segments, and we never gave our testers 'the wheel' to discover the app on their own; we were always there to guide them. This is a huge mistake, and I learned it the hard way when friends and family were messaging me questions on how to properly use the app.
During the time that I built Uplift, I learned more faster than I ever have before. It was a truly immersive experience, and we got to try everything - from user testing, design, marketing, and even fundraising and pitch competitions. We got a nice 2,000 or so downloads. I am so proud of everything our team built - and while much of this experience was set by learning things the hard way, I wouldn't change a thing about it.