First User Experience in Kapowski

a geek trapped in a cool guy's body presents an article by Jason Kemp 2016-10-24

What’s this app for again?

Oh, right. Make it easy, and habit forming, to take photos and measurements to track progress during physique transformation.

It’s not a complicated premise. I assume most people are aware of before and after photos.

Ew. That last sentence made my programmer spider sense tingle. Let me be more precise: those interested in physique transformation (fat loss, muscle gain) have presumably browsed websites related to exercise and fat loss. One cannot go to those sites and not see a before and after photo comparison.

My hope is that some of those who are so motivated search the app store for the best app in the store that does that: Kapowski!

Let’s go through what they’ll be greeted with when the open the app for the first time.

The first four screens of Kapowski FUX

The first screen, left most in the figure above, is a bog standard welcome screen. We describe what Kapowski does, motivates where it fits (this could be a tad more precise now that I write about it), and make the user take action right away with that big button at the bottom. (Could there be some foreshadowing in that text? Hmm.)

The second screen, the sex picker, is pretty straightforward: pick the sex with which you identify; the UI changes accordingly, only showing representations of that sex. This screen caused me no end of hand wringing.

Sex is a spectrum, or something? I honestly don’t understand it but I’m sensitive to the need for those that feel they are not either sex. The code is much simpler if I limit to just male and female. I don’t suspect Kapowski’s user base to be much more than tens of thousands; at that size, the potential user population that would require an ‘other’ option is too small for the engineering effort. Software needs to be inclusive to succeed, though. If Kapowski blows up, I’ll revisit this.

The next screen: mode selector, I call it. This is inspired from video games with an easy, normal and hard option: this has changed as I’ve aged to default, nightmare and nightmare plus darkness, or something similar. I originally had easy, normal, hard, but I prefer the terms I chose instead: Stress-free, default, obsessive.

There are those that punish themselves with fitness; they feel that it’s supposed to hurt to work well. I’m a recovering one of those. Sticking with easy, normal, hard was sending the wrong message, I thought. You want hard mode, keep it in the workouts. There is no virtue in taking tape measurements, or measuring scale weight as long as progress is apparent. Photos can show progress just as easily; not that photos themselves aren’t stressful. I’ve been take some of myself: yeesh!


  • Stress free which sets up Kapowski to only track photos from front, left, and right in the measurement screen. It also sets up a local push notification to remind you it’s weigh in day.
  • Default which sets up Kapowski to track photos (same as Stress-free) and scale weight. It sets up a local push as well.
  • Obsessive which adds waist and hips measurements to Default. “Obsessive” may be a bit on the nose, but it’s the only time we get a little preachy.

The next screen met with much vacillation on my part as well: we need permission to use notifications and integrate with Apple Heath. I have to ask sometime. There is evidence that telling users we’re going to prompt them with the permission dialog, as opposed to just showing those screens, is much more successful. That’s all this screen does. It’s the only skippable screen. I vacillated on the inclusion of Apple Health, for…reasons. I decided to just go ahead and include it.

Finally, we have the first weigh-in screen, in three versions depending on the selected mode, depicted below. There are slight differences between it and the standard weigh in screen: a prompt to make your before pics right now and the units selector. The units selector is because I’m Canadian and sensitive to units as only Canadians can be.

The First Weigh-In Screen, depending on mode.

Tap Done on the weigh-in screen and you’re kicked into the app proper where we count down to the next weigh-in. You must complete the FUX or keep doing the FUX until you do. Restart the app and you start where you left off. And almost no code to do so. Thanks, Apple!

Writing this blog post forced me to reconsider whether I’m doing enough. Time will tell. Onboarding is one spot in an app where analytics makes sense. I’ll make a note right now to follow up in a few months. As I said about the FUX last time, there’s a tension involved between giving users what they need to know to get started and being exhaustive. I still think I’ve struck a nice balance here.

We’ll know shortly. The release is coming. Stay tuned.