Pilates Redefined: An innovative Solution for Boosting Brand Visibility and Customer Engagement

Apr 22, 2023

See the UI case study here.


The E-commerce industry has emerged as a game-changer for businesses in the 21st century, enabling them to reach a wider audience and boost revenue. As part of a student case study, this analysis focuses on the research-based hypothetical scenario of transforming a local Pilates studio in Turkey into a global e-commerce platform.

Through extensive research and analysis, I will explain the key strategies and tactics used during our design process to improve customer engagement and generate revenue.

Join me on this journey as we explore the exciting world of Pilates e-commerce and uncover the potential benefits of this innovative business model.

1. Project scope, the challenge, and the team

a. Project Scope

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many local businesses to shift their focus to online sales to survive. However, only a few businesses have a meaningful online presence beyond an insufficient landing page, which hinders their ability to reach a wider audience and generate revenue.

Search engines such as Google and Bing can play a key role in promoting local businesses online. E-commerce platform should be designed to maximize search engine optimization (SEO) to help local businesses rank higher in search results. Additionally, the platform should be designed to facilitate services such as delivery, click-and-collect or purchasable feature to increase sales and revenue.

Consider the needs of both businesses and customers when designing the platform. The design should be easy to use and navigate and should create a seamless experience for customers from browsing to purchasing. While designing such a platform, we should also consider how businesses will manage their inventory, requests, and customer data through the platform.

b. The challenge

"Design an e-commerce platform for local businesses to boost sales and revenue and compete in the digital age."

Duration: 7 days

Project deliverables are:

  • Desktop device Hi-Fi prototype and brand style

  • MVP website design with branding strategy

  • Project presentation

Programs and platforms used:

  • Figma: A main design tool

  • Figjam: Whiteboard and collaboration tool

  • Otter.ai: Voice transcription

  • Cooler: Color palette generator

  • Unsplash: Project images

  • Google Slides: Project presentation

  • Discord and Zoom: Team communication

  • Flaticon: Design icons

  • Procreate: Concept sketches

c. The Team

Our team consisted of three people. Despite having an unfortunate accident with one of our members we still managed to keep up with the pace.

Before starting the full journey, I would like to thank my lovely teammates Jpchacond and Meena Priya Singaravelan for every effort they put into this beautiful project.

2. Research Process

a. The Stakeholder

The Pilates Lab Studio is a modern and private studio based in Antalya, Turkey. Their approach is to provide tailor-made lessons for each of their precious clients. Unlike the general sales method of Pilates, they do not offer group sessions. In order to provide the best experience users can book private or duet lessons for themselves.

The company has two co-founders as friends from university. While studying chemistry they were also pilates students as a hobby and health activity. Over the years they discovered their passion for Pilates, which became their main life goal. Even after working in the chemistry industry for several years, they quit their careers and started their inspiring journey with passion.

To compete in this fast-developing business life, they need a website to enlarge their audience and make their brand more visible in every possible way.

b. The Stakeholder Interview

After refining the interview guide from each team member, we did a 35 minutes interview session throughout the Zoom platform. Our goal was to understand business needs, define the short and long-term goals, and gather more insights for future research steps such as S.W.O.T analysis.

Our interview guide consisted of 26 questions, some of them were focused to understand the stakeholder while some of them were more on business analysis. (During the user research phase we realized we had some answers missing and we did a follow-up question session. In total, the form was 30 questions long.)

I color-coded the whole interview to make our analysis more clear. Than, connected the insights and the quotes with the relevant answer.

  • Yellow for answers

  • Orange for UX insights and opportunities

  • Pink for actual user quotes

At first, this might seem like a huge job but having every different title color-coded and noted helped us a lot to find the specific information in the future steps.

Below you can see some key insights that I have noted while writing down the answers of the stakeholder.

c. Business Analyze

To be able to have an effective design work we started by analyzing the business in the relevant market. I can shortly explain the steps that we followed;

  • Work on lean UX canvas: The Lean UX Canvas is a visual framework that helps teams to create and validate their ideas for a product or service quickly and efficiently. This canvas basically provides a framework for teams to quickly and collaboratively design and test their ideas, enabling them to create better products that meet the needs of their users.

Let’s have a closer look to our hypotheses and research flow organization:

  • Market and Competitive Research: We made competitive market research to address our place in the market.

It was very clear to see that even having a website will move our stakeholder one step forward; but combining it with the common missing points from all the competitors will certainly have a big impact on the market.

  • Fill out the S.W.O.T. table: SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats of a business or project. It is an effective framework that helps to identify and prioritize key factors that can impact the success of a venture or endeavor. By understanding the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, they can develop strategies that leverage their strengths, address their weaknesses, seize opportunities, and mitigate threats.

d. User Interviews and Insights

We conducted six interviews with different people. Here are their short demographic info:

  • Three women and three men

  • Ages between 27 and 38

  • Based in The Netherlands and Germany

  • All of them are active people

  • Two of them (women) knows actually what pilates is

  • All of them tried pilates at least once in their life

It was a long and tiring interview process because the insights were very hidden and we had to listen the recording more and more to pick the right points. -Hands up here for Jenny, for proposing the voice recording and getting the transcript on Otter.ai.-

Here are some quotes from our interviewees that provided us very clear ideas:

“I want to have my own schedule.” E.

“I would like to see a clean and simple website instead of having a lot of buttons or options. I just want to see what I need to see. Nothing more.” E.

“Pilates is quite abstract for me because I’ve never done it. So, I need a little bit more information to not feel uncomfortable while booking or going there. I think transparency would help me make a decision” S.

“Sometimes I miss a free slot just because it’s annoying for me to book it.” S.

“Pilates is something that needs awareness and I joined one through a word of mouth and based on reviews. Experience of the trainer also matters.” R.

We made an affinity map based on the results of the interviews and gathered our insight with the quotes too. We voted for the topics to create our problem statement.

Reading from the affinity maps is not very effective for the listeners during presentations. In order to make our insights more visible, I created the word cloud from the interview insights to present keywords effectively both in the presentation and in this case study.

You can easily see that our key points were;

  • Time management

  • Information

  • Personalized service

  • Scheduling and booking

  • Referrals

e. The persona and the UJM

After those key points had been defined our beautiful persona has born.

Here is Challenge Chase:

Chase is a young man at mid 30s. He loves to keep himself busy with various sports. He is feeling himself good where there is a body improvement in terms of both cardio and stamina. When he realized that there is a lack of improvement he gets frustrated and talks with a friend about what to do and he gets a recommendation about starting taking pilates lessons.

He finds this idea quite interesting because he will meet with a new kind of sports and also will keep improving himself. When he tries to book a lesson he saws that there is no clear information, no online booking system and things get complicated and annoying.

Let me introduce you to our beautiful problem here;

Health-conscious individuals who are interested in Pilates need to find a way to engage with Pilates while knowing about the actual benefits because the manual systems in both scheduling and payment negatively impact their self-body improvement & available time.

3. Ideation Steps to Solution

a. MVP and Concept

We generated our ideas with the Crazy 8s method on Figjam for an optimum solution both for the stakeholder and the user. Afterward, we quickly sorted them into the MoSCoW table and we had a clear MVP, which is;

At the bare minimum;
Our Pilates e-commerce website MVP will provide users with a seamless and personalized Pilates experience. The MVP features will include real-time trainer schedules, customizable scheduling options, studio photos, detailed class and service information, Pilates methods and approaches, trainer profiles, and comprehensive company information. Our goal is to provide users with an easy-to-use platform that simplifies scheduling, enhances their understanding of Pilates, and helps them achieve their health and wellness goals.

Homepage concept sketch:

Training schedule page concept sketch:

Studio services concept sketch:

b. Lo-fi and Mid-fi Screens

The development of our ideas continued during the lo-fi and the mid-fi wireframe process. For example, instead of a huge image of the hero section, we redesigned it as a carousel to give a little bit more interaction to users.

Homepage lo-fi and mid-fi wireframes:

Studio story page lo-fi and mid-fi screens:

c. Competitive Site Map and User Flow Analysis

As you saw in the business analysis section we did market and competitive research with a table. We chose the most rated competitive that has a website among them (Pilates by Ebru) and analyzed their sitemap and also user flow.

I can sumarize the pain-point insights from this analysis below;

  • There is basically only one page.

  • When you click on the navigation bar sections you go up and down on one page, which is confusing and annoying for the user.

  • Photos were not placed seamlessly.

  • When you want to book a lesson you are redirected to the membership page of another company (a fitness club).

d. The Pilates Lab Studio Sitemap and User Flow

Now we have the idea of “How we really do not want our website to be”. We designed our sitemap and user flow just in perfect taste for Chase and other users who are looking for a clear way to meet with Pilates.

"Sometimes making the bad or unpleasant points of the analysis shine could help us find the solution faster and smarter."

TPLS sitemap:

TPLS user flow:

e. Usability Testing

When we were done with the mid-fi prototype we made a usability test before we dive into the high-fidelity section.

The test session showed us that we clearly lost ourselves while forming our pages in the content frame. For example, during wireframing, it felt like if we put trainer info on every page (like about us, classes, and home) users will get the info as soon as possible they need. However, test show that it was only confusing people. They were feeling lost between the pages and the content.

Whereas we had the sitemap and user flow. Everything was clear step-by-step but with the joy of designing I must admit we got far away from this map and flow and it caused us more working hours to fix the flow and content in the prototype.

4. Brand Attributes and Moodboard

After designing the moodboard and deciding on the brand attributes we asked our cohort mates to test if our moodboard really reflected our brand attributes. The outcome was pretty satisfying and here are our brand attributes;

  • Balance

  • Exclusive

  • Challenge

After some design critiques, we were still not able to reflect the challenge attribute clearly enough to our audience so in the end we changed it into energy. I am still not sure if this was a wise move or not. Because our color palette and total design was reflecting everything we wanted to represent. We didn’t want to change our color palette or other design principles to reflect the “challenge”. We were thinking those popping orange is clear enough to give that vibe but apparently, it was a recall of “energy” for the majority of the users.

5. High Fidelity Wireframes

High fidelity design section was fun but also challenging in its own aspects. Making the right balance with colors, arranging clearly readable text, and making the perfect alignment both between the elements and in general on the page is really important decisions that must work in harmony altogether.


Studio story page:

About us page:

6. The Prototype

Here is the pre-made video of our prototype (since it is a desktop-size prototype) I wanted to keep visibility clear for mobile device users.

7. Future Aspects

If there were following steps of this project there were many other points we would like to add. But for now we worked in the context of the MVP features but I can list some of the futures ideas below;

  • User portfolio information for the stakeholder.

  • Blogging section for the stakeholder to gain greater audience.

  • Online classes and streaming.

  • Login and account pages for users.

  • Progress tracking for users.

8. Conclusions

My biggest conclusion from this design flow is;

“To stick with already decided ideas”. In this case it was the site map and user flow for us. I must insist on focusing approved map -if I need to- if my team members are getting lost or too excited about new features or content. We were the ones making our job harder.

And as the last thing, there is nothing such as perfect design. As designers, we cannot make everyone pleased and happy. We must know where to stop and move onto the next steps.



9. Resources



See the UI case study here.