Messaging Feature
Case Study

A messaging feature for busy coaches and
athletes to centralize and organize communication.

Project Background

TrainingPeaks is the world-leading coaching platform for endurance athletes and coaches to communicate and collaborate together. Coaches can write, plan, and analyze training plans so athletes can reach their training and racing goals. Coaches and athletes can access the platform through desktop, tablet, and mobile.

My case study is about creating a way for coaches and athletes to communicate more effectively by adding a messaging feature to the TrainingPeaks platform, focusing primarily on the app-based platform first.

Project Details

Project Timeline: 2.5 weeks

Role: Research, Design, User Testing

Outcome: Created a working prototype for coaches and athletes to use in both individual and group settings to communicate with and amongst each other. From research, identified and implemented additional features to enhance the use of the messaging feature.

Case Study: TrainingPeaks Messaging Feature

Research and Design Goals:

  • Understand users (both athletes and coaches) and how they currently communicate with athletes and create a research-backed task flow that benefits both user types.

  • Define parameters for adding the messaging feature to the existing TrainingPeaks mobile platform.

  • Design and test a prototype on users to identify issues and test ease of use.

Case Study: TrainingPeaks Messaging Feature

Secondary research, Competitive Analysis, and User Types

This was conducted early in the research phase in order to understand the coaching platform market, analyze our competitors, and identify key users for these types of platforms.


A survey was conducted to get a basic understanding of what platforms people are using for coaching and how they communicate with coaches, athletes, and teams.

Participants (Age 18-60)

  • Coaches who use TrainingPeaks

  • Athletes who use TrainingPeaks

  • Coaches who use a competing platform

  • Athletes who use a competing platform

Athlete Primary Findings

Case Study: TrainingPeaks Messaging Feature

Methods of how athletes communicate with their coach

Total Participants: 16


  • 10 on TrainingPeaks

  • 6 on Final Surge


  • Digital platforms were the leading method of communication.

  • Texting was unanimously used followed closely by communication through comments in the app.

81% of athletes
reach out to their coach weekly
100% of athletes
use texting to communicate with their coach
56% of athletes
prefer texting above other forms of communication
94% of athletes
would switch to an app-based messaging platform if their coach preferred it

Coach Primary Findings

Case Study: TrainingPeaks Messaging Feature

Methods of how coaches communicate with their athletes

Total Participants: 7

Platform: 100% of survey takers are on TrainingPeaks


  • Like the athletes surveyed, digital platforms were the leading method of communication. -

  • Texting was unanimously used followed closely by communication through comments in the app and email.

100% of coaches
communicate weekly to their athletes.
86% of coaches
prefer using the app or texting to communicate to their athletes.
29% of coaches
find it challenging to separate personal life and coaching communications.
86% of coaches
prefer having a notification system when using messaging platforms.
Case Study: TrainingPeaks Messaging Feature

An Empathy Map to Summarize Interview Findings


From the survey, I selected four coaches, two of whom also coach a group of athletes, to better understand their specific needs and frustrations.

Primary Findings:

  • The most notable frustration was wanting the ability to star or tag specific parts of a conversation within a message thread. This could prevent information from getting lost in a messaging thread.

  • Most would like the ability to share a workout or photos within a conversation.

  • All saw the benefit of centralizing communications with their athletes if they coached over 30-50+ athletes. Only one interview participant has this many athletes.

Case Study: TrainingPeaks Messaging Feature

Persona - Kate Thompson

Kate is a "Career Coach" user with 30+ athletes and a need to centralize communication with her athletes onto one platform. Kate represents the user-type that will benefit most from the messaging feature.

Information Architecture
Case Study: TrainingPeaks Messaging Feature

Main Task Flow for Sending Messages

This task flow focuses on the primary task of sending a message to a user or users. This task flow also includes the action of saving a message to a conversation thread.

Case Study: TrainingPeaks Messaging Feature

Messaging Feature Sitemap

This sitemap helped guide me in creating the wireframes and prototype for the messaging feature. By creating this, it narrowed down the required pages and flows that users would take to complete the most important tasks.

Case Study: TrainingPeaks Messaging Feature

This was not a UIUsing the current TrainingPeaks UI, I developed wireframes for the messaging feature based on the current TrainingPeaks App.

Key Notations

  • "Peaks" was replaced with the Messaging button in the bottom navigator. Messages also has a notification indicator in the top navigator bar.

  • The Messages feature models many popular messaging and texting platforms in order to create an intuitive experience for all users.

  • New screens were created, modeling off of the TrainingPeaks UI to focus on specific tasks in a prototype

User Testing
Case Study: TrainingPeaks Messaging Feature

Test Objectives

  1. Test the usability of the new TrainingPeaks messaging feature

  2. Make sure the flow is intuitive to navigate

  3. Ensure the tutorial explains how to use the messaging feature and save a message


4 Participants were recruited through my coaching and social network. All tests are conducted over Google Meet, sharing their screen as they walk me through their designated tasks.

Tasks for Users:

Task 1: Go through the tutorial

Task 2: From messaging main screen, explore profile and more

Task 3: From messaging main screen, create a new message with Edith Harrison and Mary Miller. Type and send message. Add a picture of Central Park to the message thread. Back out to main message screen.

Task 4: From messaging main screen, view conversation with Sam Jones. Save the message at the top of the page. Go into Saved messages with the conversation with Sam and delete the message from Aug 10. Back out to main messaging screen.

Task 5: From messaging main screen, delete the conversation with Daniel Stevens.

Summary and Results

Testing Results

  • 4/4 users found sending messages easy and intuitive

  • 3/4 users initially tried to click on a user's name when adding them to a message thread rather than the plus button.

  • 3/4 users tried to tap the message button in the bottom navigator or the back button on the top navigator to navigate back - the prototype was not initially setup this way

  • 1/4 users were confused by the steps to save a message

  • 4/4 users weren’t able to fully complete the final task because there was an error in the flow for the 5th task

Case Study: TrainingPeaks Messaging Feature

Solutions moving forward after initial usability testing:

  • Accounting for every way a user might navigate a prototype by making top and bottom navigators fully functional

  • Added a confirmation page to the saved message feature

  • Fixed the delete message thread flow error

  • Made the entire username component clickable rather than just the plus button

  • Tutorial was updated to explain the minor update to the saved messages flow

Summary and Lessons Learned

  • The research process taught me to analyze and understand how athletes and coaches communicate currently and helped me identify key features, such as saved messages and the ability to add images to a message thread.

  • In constructing the sitemap for the messaging feature and mapping out the user flow, I was able to identify the most important pages needed to start message threads, start group messages, and save messages to a conversation thread.

  • Wireframes laid the base for developing my prototype and helped me identify what pages were most important and how I wanted them to look.

  • Through my prototype testing, I was able to identify crucial flow patterns that I had not initially included in the prototype so future testing can focus more on adding additional features

In the 2.5 weeks while working on this project I completed...

233 miles
of cycling
86 miles
of running
19,350 yards
of swimming
15 miles
of backcountry skiing