Yoga Flow

App design based on ethnographic research


Yoga is a popular and powerful physical, mental and spiritual practice that has many health benefits. However, based on the ethnographic research provided by a fellow peer, it is evident that getting involved in traditional yoga can be a challenge for beginners, especially for busy and financially restricted college students. Based on this field research, I created Yoga Flow, an app, created using Adobe XD and Photoshop, for Xbox Kinect that is designed to address the following design implications beginners face with this practice:

  • Costly memberships
  • Time commitments
  • Clarity of instructions and feedback in studio classes
  • Gradual progression through repetition
  • Solution

    1. Xbox Kinect
    2. This app is designed to work on Xbox Kinect to provide new practitioners with a fully integrated yoga experience. Through the smart motion sensor technology imbedded in the Kinect, users will be able to see themselves on the projected display while doing the workout so they can focus on their posture. The Kinect will detect the user’s movements and display it directly on the device being used, such as a TV. This way, users can easily follow along with the instructor while monitoring their own posture without having to constantly look back and forth from a mirror to a screen. Having everything displayed in one place will ease the process for and eliminate feelings of disorientation for beginners.

    3. Yoga Flow Mobile App
    4. The accompanying app allows users to have total control over their yoga experience. The key features include “enrolling” in a customized program that best fits the user's needs and goals, including different levels for beginners and intermediate yoga practitioners, targeted practice to focus on better improving poses learned in the core programs, and tracking progress. In addition, the app allows users to record workouts to review later and watch their progress as they participate in the programs

    Interface Designs

    1. App Design
    2. The app is designed for simple discoverability while including all the features necessary for an efficient yoga learning tool. The images above are the mockups of the app interface and features.

      The ​Home screen highlights other programs that are designed to supplement the program user is already enrolled in. It also displays their current program so it is the first thing they see and gives easy access to continuing the program without having to go through many steps. It is designed to be a quick and efficient way to complete workouts so that the user does not have to spend too much of their valuable time preparing for the workout.

      The Programs pages are the key components of the app. Users can select which type of program they would like to participate in and which best fits their schedule and goals. The ​Beginner​ and Intermediate​ Programs have different levels and time commitments. The Beginner programs teach basic yoga moves and as the user advances through each level, they will be adding on to the skills they learn in the previous programs and levels. Similarly, the Intermediate programs are designed to introduce more complex skills and build upon what users learn in the beginner programs. The routines and skills taught differ based on the selected program, however each unique program covers all the essentials. In addition, ​Targeted Practice Programs​ are offered to further enhance and reinforce knowledge and posture of moves learned in selected programs. These programs are meant to aid the gradual process of learning traditional yoga and ​allow for repetition of moves to remember postures and better understand how to execute them.

      Another key component of the app is the Progress page. This page provides users with data about their workouts and allows them to review recordings of sessions to check progress over time while providing self-feedback. Once users begin a ​workout, the session will automatically be recorded and saved under the Progress page. While each session is recorded, there is an option to delete recordings as well. With the recording feature, users can review their workout history by watching the recorded videos for additional self-reflection on ways they can better improve next time, but also providing them with a way to see how they have gradually improved throughout the course of each program. This page also displays stats on users’ performances and participation. They can also see how much time they spend on each program, including days completed, time spent, calories burned and more. Each time a workout is completed, or just partially completed, this page will update so users can track their journey and see how they are progressing over time.

      Once the user selects a workout or program to do, they will be prompted to a page to setup their workout preferences and begin the session. Unlike in a studio class, the user will have complete control over what they believe would best enhance their experience. After the workout settings are updated, the user will then begin the workout which will transition into an “in-session” screen. As soon as the begin workout button is tapped, Kinect will display the session on the screen of choice, like a TV, and there will be a countdown before the workout begins to allow the user time to put their phone away and get on their yoga mat. The session recording begins with the workout as well and will automatically save to the Progress page. The user will then direct their attention to the screen that Kinect is connected to for the workout.

    3. Displayed Workout
    4. The above image is a representation of what the Kinect display interface looks like. It is simple and focuses on the user’s projected display working out alongside the virtual instructor. Using the motion sensors of Kinect, the display eliminates the need to use a mirror to observe posture during the workout.

      There is also a time display of the workout to let the user know how much time they have left in the workout. This is a huge contrast to the studio sessions where participants don’t have a way of keeping up with the time. Along with the time display, the names of postures and moves are displayed on the screen to build memory connections and gradually become more familiar with the vocabulary of yoga.

    Overall Goal

    With Yoga Flow, beginners, including busy students, can participate in a meaningful integrated yoga experience that is cost effective, doesn’t require excessive time commitments and can be scheduled around their schedules. Through the different programs, users can customize their yoga experience and even improve on their learning by participating in the targeted practice programs. In addition, the virtual instructor provides audio and visual instructions on the moves and postures and demonstrates all moves so participants will know exactly what to do. Rather than guessing whether a move is being done correctly, users will see a holographic reflection of themselves on the screen and will be able to compare their posture to the instructor with a side by side comparison. This approach aims to lessen the confusion that beginners experience when practicing yoga by displaying them and allowing the users to mimic what the instructor is doing. Not only does the virtual instructor help in better understanding the practice and executing moves correctly, but it also serves as a workout partner so that the experience is not as lonely. Overall, this app gives users a cost efficient studio class feel in the comfort of their home and on their own terms and availability.