Your go-to source for gymnastics news!
Ever heard of “The Gymternet”? Maybe yes. Maybe no. But you’ve almost certainly heard of Simone Biles. Nastia Liukin. Nadia Comaneci.
Gymnastics Now is the go-to source for gymnastics news, covering men’s and women’s gymnastics at the college and elite (i.e. Olympic) levels.
Launched in February 2020, Gymnastics Now has seen rapid growth in the past two years, and the Gymnastics Now app is the next step in getting the latest gymnastics news, training clips, photos, and more in readers hands.
While gymnastics is a fan-favorite Olympic sport and is especially popular every four (or five) years, in the general sports landscape it is still growing. A variety of outlets currently exist across different mediums to provide fans with news about the sport, but most, if not all, lack money and manpower, resulting in an overwhelming “blogger” — or informal — aura surrounding these outlets and, as a result, opinions infiltrating their content.
Enter: Gymnastics Now.
Gymnastics-Now.com is dedicated to reporting the news, the facts, about the sport in a comprehensive manner that others do not for fans, athletes, and coaches alike that want a consistent and reputable news source that they can rely on.
After almost two years of successful reporting and exceptional growth, Gymnastics Now is launching a mobile IOS app with the goal of being one click away from readers at any given time.
Gymnastics Now is currently able to provide good coverage of the sport to its target audience and has already achieved “proof of concept” in this regard versus other outlets in the industry. The outlet needs to go a step further to create a product that provides great coverage that is truly comprehensive and accessible, eliminating possible tangible or intangible barriers in the process and becoming an industry leader in the process.
To date, there is not a dedicated gymnastics news app on the market (Apple or Android, etc.). When Gymnastics-Now.com launched, it was for a reason: there wasn’t a dedicated news outlet focused on gymnastics coverage, and certainly not one that was comprehensive with its coverage (outlets previously focused on just men or just women, just elite or just college, etc.).
A very niche market, there are already very few gymnastics outlets to begin with, and an app? Forget about it. That being said, it’s something that would be welcomed by the target audience — the “Gymternet” — and take this rapidly growing outlet to the next level.
News Feed (1.0) Purpose: Read the latest articles from Gymnastics Now, including feature stories, meet recaps, live blogs, videos, and more.
Photo Galleries (1.0) Purpose: A huge draw for gymnastics fans (and athletes!), a photo section will feature curated meet galleries from Gymnastics Now photographers.
Comments (1.0) Purpose: The Gymternet loves to talk, you guessed it, gymnastics! Here, users will be able to talk with fellow gymnastics fans about the latest breaking news items, predictions, and beyond.
Settings (1.0) Purpose: A basic settings section that will be a catch-all for necessary features developer details, and eventually, premium features.
The Gymnastics Now app will be the first of its kind in the industry and an innovative app in the sports landscape, in general.
A logical extension of a news website is a cohesive and complimentary app. In this case, I have elected to design an IOS app utilizing SwiftUI via XCode for two main reasons: 1) I have grown up using Apple products and being an “Apple person” and therefore know the technology from a user perspective and 2) We learn SwiftUI, a.k.a. the IOS coding language, in the Emerging Media program.
WordPress is the back end of the app as it is connected to the website and updates when the website updates.
Any marketing, branding, and other graphics are designed in Canva — our go-to graphic design platform for its ease of you and awesome pro features.
A Major Breakthrough
Fall of 2021 was a challenging time for Gymnastics Now’s app development. Specifically during 7005E, I hit a bump in the road as I was simultaneously trying to learn the SwiftUI language while Alpha and Beta development checkpoints were rapidly approaching. Initially, I tried to code the app by hand, but soon after Alpha development, I realized time was not my friend and I needed an alternative solution.
As a result, I researched and purchased a well-reviewed iOS News App template that utilized WordPress as the backend of the app. This means that it would pull all of the content, imagery, links, and videos from my WordPress-powered website Gymnastics-Now.com and pull them into the app, refreshing in time with the site.
The decision to utilize a template and “worker smarter, not harder” was a huge stepping point in app development, making it possible for me to focus on adding features and adjusting the code to build an aesthetically pleasing and easily navigable app.
Efficiency for the Win
Since Gymnastics Now was launched in 2020, long before I knew I would be joining the Emerging Media program, the brand is well-established. That made designing the style guide, design system, and overall branding simply a matter of pulling the details together and putting them all in one place.
Competitive Advantage Report
Simply put: an app like this, for the gymnastics community, does not exist. There is a market gap that the Gymnastics Now IOS app will directly address. A direct result of more than two years building the Gymnastics Now brand, I know the target market wants a product like this and will be eager to use it.
No similar options currently exist on the market. The market gap for this niche product is immense and felt by the target market.
While no similar and/or successful products currently exist that are direct competitors to this product, we researched other gymnastics news competitors to gain a better understanding of the market needs. Those competitors include: Balance Beam Situation, Inside Gymnastics, International Gymnast, and The Gymternet.
The Gymnastics Now target market is vast but can be paired down to a few key points:
Gender: 80% Women — 20% Men
Race: Predominantly White/Caucasian
Age: Over 70% of the target market’s age ranges from 18–44
Education: Predominantly High School or above
Location: United States
User Testing Highlights
There were eight users tested, and the tested audience was proportionate to the GymNow audience — approximately 80% women and 20% men.
- 88% of users said an app like this is needed
- 62.5% of users were not satisfied with current offerings
- 7 out of 8 users were “happy” about the idea of a gymnastics news app
- The app received an excellent system usability score of 92.
“Has the potential to serve as a main news hub for all things gymnastics.”
Users called the design of the app:
My decision to pursue an additional degree via the EM program was rooted in want and not need. I’m thankful that my Dad gifted me a year of his G.I. Bill, making the decision to go back to school three years after graduating easier. Since it is not a required degree for me, I also felt empowered to pursue something to simply further my skillset, rather than feeling pressured to get another degree for employment purposes or otherwise.
While I don’t need this degree, I want it because I know it will benefit me in my current occupation as an entrepreneur who owns a news outlet and a digital media consultant who is consistently impacted by the ever-changing technology landscape.
Advice to Future EM’ers
“Work smarter, not harder.”
Be a sponge, but also realize that you don’t have to do everything from scratch. You can understand how something works, make it better, and go the extra distance while utilizing templates, tutorials, and more. Honestly, this program requires to think dynamically in order to design a Capstone in a year (if you’re on the accelerated track).
To My Cohort
Thank you to my peers, professors, and all the people that have made the NMI the exceptional program it is today. I’ve learned something from everyone I’ve encountered in the EM program and actually enjoyed earning this degree — there’s something to be said about that!
Want to learn more about this project and Gymnastics Now? Check out the links below!
Here are some resources I found exceptionally valuable while developing this project: