An Exercise in Frustration Online

When I'm not writing this blog, I spend a lot of my time at work. For a living, I manage digital products, specifically web applications, for a well-known and respected brand. And, if I'm being honest, I've been using and making for the web for the better part of half of my existence on this earth! All of this is to say, I know a thing or two when it comes to what works, and what doesn't.

I'd like to share a story about an experience that didn't work so well for me and how I'd recommend fixing it.

Ever since I moved, I've been thinking about switching up my gym routine. The other day, I was scrolling through Instagram (as one does) and saw something about Rise By We. Based on the post, it looked like they had a boxing or kickboxing program which I'd be really into since I've been doing Muay Thai for years now. Intrigued and because they mentioned something about a free intro class, I clicked on the link from my phone to arrive at

The homepage set an odd tone. The "Refer a Friend" button is more prominent than I'd expect — it blocks the marketing copy that someone went to great efforts to write. Meanwhile, that copy is changing at an interval (in the screenshot below, the blue words are constantly changing so as I'm trying to make sense of what's behind that button, it goes away.

Refer a Friend? But I don't even know if I actually like you yet!
Refer a Friend? But I don't even know if I actually like you yet!

I can get around this, it's just some marketing, but I'm curious — where is this place? In essence, realistically, does this gym work with my getting to work/home routines? I decide to check out the navigation menu (the delectably named "hamburger" menu for all you insiders) to see where it's located.

Maybe the Studios link will tell me where you actually are!
Maybe the "Studios" link will tell me where you actually are!

The navigation doesn't have anything that immediately screams "Location." I check out the Schedule page but it doesn't indicate the location for any of the classes. Then I think "Studios" — surely, that will tell me where you are located, but no, no, it does not. Hmm, I know, maybe I'll scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and find the address in the footer. Upon doing that, I see nothing but their social media links and some very tiny links. And all I can think is, "OMG, where are you?"

OMG, where are you
OMG, where are you?!

The address, in case you were wondering, is buried within an FAQ answer. Alternatively, it is listed on the "Contact Us" page. In retrospect, it sounds so obvious but in reality, it was not. If the intent of these pages was to confuse me so that I learned more about the classes and offers by hunting for the location, perhaps then mission accomplished? On the other hand, if the intent is to get people interested and maybe sign up for a class, the website just doesn't deliver (for instance, why would anyone click on a navigation element called "turf"?).

Peloton example
Here's an example of what you see on the very first page for the experience.

If you look at competitor boutique fitness experiences, they lead with the information folks really want to know. For starters, where are you located? Equinox does this on their websites where the first navigation item next to their logo is "Clubs." This allows you to learn about a club near you (or the vastness of their networks of clubs — either way, a good selling point for someone contemplating membership). And the hot new kid on the block in New York City, Peloton, does the same on their studio's website where they lead with the locations of the few studios where you can join them in person (versus on one of their fancy shmancy home bikes/treads).

And, while I don't want to say you have to do what your competitors do at all times, there are sometimes design patterns that folks get used to and rely on. For example, knowing that produce is always on the outside aisle (not in the middle) helps me quickly navigate a supermarket I've never been to before — which happened the other day when I was out shopping and dear husband needed me to pick up an ingredient he needed for his recipe.

In short, best practices matter. And, for the folks at RiseByWe (which is owned by WeWork), I'd recommend they take a good hard look at that experience. The easier you can make it for me visualize how this service will work in my life, the more likely I'll be to really want it and pull the trigger on signing up.