Roles & Responsibilities
Lead UX Designer
UI design (iOS)
Pen and paper
Zoom (remote usability testing)
App Store Connect (analytics)
Timeline: 14 weeks
Pooja Yadav, Jason Liu (UX Designers)
Darin Lee (UX Researcher)
Thomas Stuart, Yelin Wu (Developers)
Broderick Higby (CEO)
Handing off to engineers
In the previous work I had done at Golf AI, we would just have developers try to use our Figma file to bring our designs to life. But this had led to screens looking very different than the designs we had worked on. I had used Zeplin before at my internship, so I decided to give it a try - it turned out to completely change the way we would do design-developer handoffs.
Zeplin greatly helped reduce the discrepancies between design and development.
I led the handoff and introduced the tool to the developers. In doing so, we built more empathy with developers and better understood their workflows, which helped ensure that coding our screens would be as easy and accurate as possible.
On August 20th, the screens were coded and finally implemented into the app! In the month that followed our sales increased by 61%!
Screenshots of our newly designed screens in the App Store. Check us out at !
Golfers want to target just one thing in their golf swing at a time, as it can be difficult to work on many things at once.
Golfers look for tips, drills, and detailed visualizations in an ideal golf plan
Lessons are preferred because of the personalized feedback they give, but their high costs prevent newer/intermediate golfers from improving.
Creating trust in a golf app is essential for adoption.
Less experienced golfers are more likely to use a golf app to improve their game.
Design Principles and
With a focus around these golfers who had felt stuck in their path of improvement, we came up with the following design principles to be more intentional about the “feel” we wanted to create in our app:
Simple and intuitive
It was important for this brand to be reflected in the visual approach we took with our app, which wasn't the case in the old design. As we went through iterations, we created this new style guide from the ground up.
Our style guide, which is slowly transitioning into a design system as we add new components and better define our use cases.
At a Glance
Last October, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to join Golf AI, a startup using machine learning and computer visioning technology to provide golfers with instant swing analysis. We had designed an experience to provide golfers with an analysis of their swing, but we soon learned that we hadn’t been focused enough on which group of golfers we wanted to target and that the analysis wasn't valuable to users.
This case study is the in-depth story of how I led our product thinking and design efforts to look past our app as just a swing analyzer, and instead create a personalized coaching experience. The experience was implemented into the app, and sales went up 61% in the first month following implementation!
Business pain point: In spite of our previous design efforts, total app users, and corresponding app sales, had stayed low and not grown.
User pain point: Users were not making full use of the current experience due to being overwhelmed by the amount of data and choices provided to them.
A brand new structured experience to help golfers target the core weaknesses in their swing.
Pushing free trial sign-ups
An action plan, showing golfers 3 main areas of improvement and their best area, is used to build excitement and encourage users to sign up for the free trial.
Personalized tips & Drills
Users can get a deep understanding into each of their golf weaknesses, and see personalized tips and drills to help them improve.
Incentivizing users to swing again
After taking another golf swing, users can compare them with their most previous ones to see how they've improved. This encourages them to keep using the app.
By creating this structured experience that helps golfers target their core weaknesses in a guided fashion, our solution aims to create a cheaper alternative to golf coaching. This:
Increases time spent on app by allowing users to dive deeper into each area of weakness
Creates continued usage to take more swings to track improvement, leading to user retention
Within the first month of being implemented, the sales of the app went up by 61%!
Auditing the platform
The survey helped us confirm that less experienced golfers would be more likely to use an app as a coaching alternative. So now we could look through the experience we had designed and see how it prevented users from getting the value they’d get from a golf coach.
Too much data
The experience hadn’t been built around helping golfers improve one area of their swing at a time, but rather providing a holistic breakdown of the golfer’s swing. The areas of weakness weren't given any special attention compared to to all the other areas included in the breakdown.
Although we had a toggle button that allowed golfers to switch between that showed their 3 “areas of improvement” and 3 “best areas”, these areas were just clumped together with all the other parts of swing.
DATa isn't relevant to what golfers want
The current experience showed users the angles for each movement of their swing, and gave them a tip and drill(s) related to that movement. However, these angles weren't meaningful to users, and the additional information provided wasn't valuable enough for golfers to understand how to address those weaknesses.
The tips for each area are very limited and not detailed, and the recommended drills don't have any additional context as to how they would help target that area.
Proto-typing & Testing
In building this experience from the ground up, we explored a variety of different concepts and went through 4 different iterations. We got feedback on each iteration through remote usability testing with 9 golfers to validate our assumptions and ensure that our design was best fitting the needs of users.
Below are some of the design decisions we made, through discussion with users and within our team.
Choosing the area to work on
How much do users care about choice?
In order for golfers to spend time working on one thing in detail, the first part of the new experience would need to focus on guiding users to choose that one thing to work on. A lot of our efforts focused on creating this guided structure.
Although golfers want to work on thing at a time in their golf swing, they still want to have the flexibility of choice to be able to see more than just one area. And in iteration 1, the ability to go to the action plan and change the area to work on wasn't discoverable.
Establishing priority in the Action plan
So we decided to build around the action plan. As we moved into high-fidelity (and were still working making explorations in the design style guide), we explored different ways to establish priority of the areas of improvement, so that users could immediately decide which they wanted to work on.
We went with the cards because the association between darker shade and higher priority was clear to users. This also fits better with the design style we were trying to establish. The pictures used in iteration 1 didn’t seem to have any value to users.
Pushing free trial sign-ups
We were unsure of where within the user's journey we should push users to start their free trials. But after seeing the excitement in user’s faces after clicking on the action plan and their eagerness to target one of the areas, we felt like it would make sense to place the paywall after they clicked one of the areas.
Users would have to start their trial to see the breakdown for that area they were interested in working on. But we felt confident that their excitement, as well as the fear of missing out, would cause them to do so.
Clicking VS dropdowns
Once the user had decided which area they wanted to work on, they were presented with tips and drills for that area. Our discussions with users had shown the importance of visual imagery to help teach concepts. So we wanted to be able to give users tips and pair this with a video to help them best understand the tips.
In Iteration 1, it wasn't clear to users that clicking on each tip would change the video comparison. However, we noticed high engagement in Iteration 2, as users clicked through the dropdown containers to see the tips associated with each one.
Using color in the tip containers
As we started converging on our style guide and how to use our color palette effectively, we explored different colors to use in the tip containers.
After originally using the accent orange-brown color to differentiate between the opened and unopened tip containers, we realized it only made sense to use that accent color when wanted to create emphasis on something (ex. prioritites in the action plan). So, upon realizing that this color didn't make sense here, we opted to use our secondary green color.
Converging onto the Problem
Based off our research as well as analysis of the current app, we came up with the following problem statement to design around:
How might we combat the high costs of golf coaching by creating an experience that guides golfers to improve one area of their swing at time?
In doing this, we wanted to remove the “stagnancy” of just a technical swing analyzer to make feedback more actionable, dynamic, and tailored to the user. From a business perspective, we wanted users to feel that the feedback was meaningful to them so that they would be motivated to start their free trials.
Crafting the new flow
When brainstorming this new feedback experience, our main goal was to create a more immersive step-by-step flow to guide golfers to work on one thing at a time. In doing so, we wanted to avoid the choice paralysis present in the current experience, as well as make the help we provided much more tangible.
We converged onto this high-level user flow we wanted to create our experience around:
The new user flow takes a much more linear approach.
Tentatively, we felt that having the pay wall after the user sees which area they want to target could be a good location, because then they would be eager to see how they could improve that area (and start the trial as a result).
Building around the action plan
The action plan immediately comes after the score, and gives users the flexibility to see their 3 areas to work on, as well as a sense of accomplishment in their best area.
Pushing free trial signups
Popping up the premium model at this “peak of impulse” could be key to close the deal and get people to commit to the trial.
A tab menu is used to give flexibility in terms of how the user navigates through the 3 layers of content: an overview explaining the area of weakness, tips, and drills.
Encouraging users to swing again
After taking another swing, users see a video comparison of their old swing to their most recent one so they can immediately see if the app has helped them. This is key to building trust.
the need for product positioning
The current experience had one crucial flaw - we designed around a golfer, but didn’t understand which kind of golfer we wanted to target, and why. Now when looking at competitors, we found that there wasn’t as much on helping newer golfers actually improve their stroke without having to pay for a coach. Since this seemed like a promising audience to target, we now came up with a new mission of creating a cheaper alternative to coaching within a golf app.
Understanding how to hit our target audience better
To get a better understand the characteristics of a wide variety of golfers, especially the less experienced ones who we assumed might be more likely to use our app, I worked with a UX researcher to lead the creation of a survey (with the two other designers). Some of the key insights that stood out: