Sheila Marikar wrote a very interesting piece for Bloomberg called The Race to Disrupt Your Tedious Treadmill Workout Is Heating Up. It talks about the mind-numbing boredom of running on a treadmill, with a focus on their design:
Today’s electric machines absorb shock better and look sleeker, but the ones in most gyms retain a certain quaintness, with their last-gen phone-charging cables and omnipresent menu of Calorie, Heart Rate, Manual, Random, Hill.
It then discusses how companies like Peloton are trying to change that:
In a kettlebell-adorned lounge area afterward, Foley talks up the treadmill’s design. “You don’t want to hit a little button 20 times when you’re running full sprint,” he says. “So we asked, ‘Where are your hands, and what would be easy to interact with?’
“Fitness equipment is a very dopey category,” he adds. “It hasn’t evolved. You still sometimes see the dots rotating around the track. It’s a 1979 interface.”
I love reading stories about how user-centered design is used to upend and dramatically improve the user experience of entire industries. We saw it in phones, in the taxi industry, and countless others. I’m looking forward to seeing it in treadmills as well.