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Top features for health and fitness apps

author

Volodymyr Vrublevskyi

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Delivery Manager

10 min read

10 min read

Being active and living a healthy life is a trend surging across the globe. In fact, it’s estimated that approximately 56% of people worldwide now own a fitness tracker or smartwatch.

However, just because the use of these devices and fitness apps is growing doesn’t mean all are created equal. If you’re ready to create an amazing healthcare app people will want to use, you must add the right set of features — believe us and statistics. Health and wellness apps are in public focus — the number of willing users in 2020 increased by 27% compared with the previous year.

A superior fitness app results from quality application development and a mix of features that promote the optimal user journey to health and wellness. How can you have it all in one app? We’ll show you using real-life examples developed by NERDZ LAB, so keep reading.

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Must-have features for your healthcare and sports app

When creating a fitness application, it’s essential to know that the right parts can make or break your app. Even though the number of fitness apps developed each year skyrockets, the development process has challenges that have to be adequately addressed. Some top ones are:

  • Security issues
  • Fierce market competition
  • Need for appealing user experience
  • A balance between bleeding-edge and well-tried tech

The features we’ve listed below will help startup owners ensure their apps are competitive, up-to-date, and attract more loyal users.

Geolocation

Geolocation_truconnect_sport_app

Thanks to this feature, users’ routes, speed, location, and more can be tracked in real-time, providing stats to measure abilities and progress. That was exactly what NERDZ LAB did for the digital workout platform – included running route mapping in a TRUCONNECT by TV.FIT platform.

This feature is all about convenience and visibility. Besides the obvious mapping, it helps you locate the closest practitioners, personal trainers, fitness studios, gyms, along with many other facilities and professional specialists necessary for maintaining health and physique. On top of that, geolocation can connect with other users of the app in the same area.

Wearable device integration

The ease of integration with popular wearable devices is a highly decisive factor for your app’s success. Millions of people rely on these devices today, and forecasts suggest that user spending on wearables will exceed $90 billion by 2022.

This market covers wristbands, smart clothing, and smart patches. It also includes smartwatches, head-mounted displays, and ear-worn devices, all of which lead the growth today. Each device may require a unique type of integration. So you should consider the most popular options and focus on the number of wearables your app will be compatible with.

Wearable device integration_Truconnect_sport_app_

During the mobile application development for the TRUCONNECT project, the NERDZ LAB team worked on robust integration with almost any fitness device, be it Apple Watch, Garmin, Fitbit, Huawei Watch, or Solar. In this way, users get most workout information automatically. In addition, by integrating Google Fit and Apple Health APIs, the TRUCONNECT app can connect to a native healthcare app, first extracting data and then adding its own information.

HIPAA compliance for healthcare apps

When investing in health app development, especially if your audience is US-based, keep HIPAA compliance in mind. It’s required for anything that utilizes personal health-related information and aims to ensure the highest level of security for payment processing and patient data. Failure to comply with the guidelines can result in your app being banned, and you may even face fines. When choosing a software vendor, double-check their ability to meet all the HIPAA compliance requirements.

HIPAA compliance for healthcare apps

We helped the client achieve HIPAA compliance for the Ayadi project by ensuring the highest level of security required for patient information and payment processing.

Real-time accessibility

This is actually the primary feature of modern health and fitness apps. Being able to view a workout, meal prep, and so many other things is imperative for today’s apps.

Real-time accessibility in applications

For example, with TRUCONNECT, the leaderboards are updated in real-time as someone engages in an activity being tracked.

Another NERDZ LAB example is GCTV. In this project, all the data seen is retrieved and displayed in real-time. Live streaming video is accessible as well, making the app even more interactive.

real-time feature in application

Offline mode

You may not consider offline mode as an essential feature when designing a health and fitness app. However, quite often, your users may find themselves in a location with low internet connectivity. Without an offline mode, the user may not be able to access their body stats, route, or other vital data. This can be frustrating and even dangerous.

offline mode in sport and health apps

While developing TRUCONNECT, we made sure essential app features are available offline. Users can also review videos, check stored data, and access their training information. In most cases, tracking abilities will be limited until a connection is restored, but offering users access to some critical features is necessary.

Hands-off capabilities

This functionality goes without saying when it comes to fitness and health apps. Most activities cannot be done while having to hold or keep track of a mobile device. The app should provide optional audio support during the training or meditation session. This is where wearable device integration comes in as well. This sleep and meditation case is the perfect example of how to implement this technology.

hands off feature meditation app

Thanks to the hands-off feature, it’s possible to follow the lesson or training without continually accessing a mobile device, making it convenient and intuitive.

Accessibility support

It’s vital to ensure that your app features are accessible to people with varied disabilities. Enlarged text, voice support or voice-enabled functionality, emergency calls, and customized alerts will make your health and fitness app more usable and accessible to a wider audience.

For example, NERDZ LAB, per client request, paid special attention to accessibility for the sleeping app we helped develop. We included enlarged text, implemented VoiceOver support, and ensured offline access to the content.

Storage management

To provide a valuable user experience, fitness and healthcare apps must offer various types of fitness content. You may suggest pre-recorded video workouts or live-streaming sessions, and it can also feature text describing exercises or audio coaching. Besides that, mobile apps need to offer a holistic view of health and fitness data gathered from various devices. And to work seamlessly, all this heterogeneous data has to be properly stored and managed.

storage_sport_health_app

NERDZ LAB dealt with this task while working on the sleep meditation and stories app. It included various types of content, from animated items to audio stories and music. TRUCONNECT, an extremely versatile fitness app, required a solid solution to storage management as well. For this reason, the app uses an on-device database (Realm, Core Data, and SQLite) that synchronizes with the server as soon as any change to the content occurs.

Push notifications and system reminders

Push notifications can help increase engagement, as well as the time users spend interacting with your app. But don’t be pushy (pun intended)! Use notifications and reminders responsibly so as not to annoy your users.

push_notifications_sport_health_apps

When NERDZ LAB dealt with the Ayadi platform concept, we had to make all system notifications available in two languages — English and Arabic. So right-to-left language support was a must during this project.

For fitness apps, push notifications like the ones in TRUCONNECT can remind users to start a workout, have a meal, drink water, and more. To ensure that your users get the most from push notifications, make them witty, appropriate, personalized, and subtle. To do that, base your user journey on real market research and not assumptions, test your ideas, and gather feedback from actual users.

Communication

The pandemic has shown it’s a good idea to help people connect with each other and specialists in real-time. Therefore, online communication is worth investing in these days.

communication_sport_app

In Ayadi mobile app development, NERDZ LAB helped the client connect platform users with qualified bilingual therapists via video or chat. The project’s mission was to become a haven for people who suffer from mental disorders or need psychological help.

Another relevant example we’d like to share is our work for a US-based early-stage startup called OnForm. NERDZ LAB assisted them in building online communication between coaches and athletes. Functionality included various helpful features such as slow-motion, video mark-up, voice-over recordings, the ability to add several people to the chat, and more.

So make sure to include a user-friendly chat to encourage your users to share their results and ask for help online.

Machine vision and motion detection

The pandemic caused people to invent new ways to stay fit while staying home. If a user can’t attend a gym or take a tennis lesson, it doesn’t mean one should abandon sports altogether. Luckily, AI can help coaches and trainers do their job remotely.

Using the smartphone’s camera, the app with machine vision and motion detection functionality analyzes body position, provides real-time instructions, monitors fulfillment, gathers various body stats, and more.

Machine vision and motion detection

NERDZ LAB helped OnForm implement this technology to ensure smooth and effective cooperation between coaches and athletes. For example, swing detection for golfers allows users to record their swing and receive feedback from experts.

Advanced stats

Advanced stats in sport and health apps

If you wonder what the right way to take an app “above and beyond” average functionality is, it can be achieved by adding advanced stats. Beyond tracking location, distance, and calories burned, you can track further data as well. For example, advanced stats used in apps like TRUCONNECT include BPM, total workouts, reps, weight lifted, and more.

Advanced stats integration requires more computing power and innovation than basic fitness stats. Not all app development companies are up to the challenge, but here’s the way to make your app stand out.

Leaderboards

Incorporating leaderboards as a key gamification element in sports apps is ideal for changing people’s attitudes towards physical activity.

While leaderboards keep users motivated to achieve better results in real life, they also make them constantly return to your app. This fact positively impacts user retention. Yet, you should be careful with implementing this feature and avoid demotivating users who will compete with top performers by no means. Our advice is to make this feature optional.

As long as leaderboards are a common element in fitness apps, you may have thought their tech implementation is no big deal. And so it is – unless you have to deal with massive environments and hundreds of thousands of users. That was the case with one of our projects.

leader boards in sport app

During the TRUCONNECT development, our team was challenged by millions of dynamic leaderboards that any user action could change. We found the right solution to make them work smoothly, and now the system can support more than 1,000,000 leaderboards simultaneously.

Social sharing

Today is the age of social media, and it’s quite profitable to integrate social channels into your fitness or health app.

People like to communicate and show others their goals and accomplishments. With integrated social sharing capabilities in your fitness app (like TRUCONNECT offers), you can provide users with the ability to do just that.

social sharing feature in sport app

Interacting with others, chatting with friends, and sharing progress helps users stay engaged and promotes your app. Market research will help you define the social networks most popular with your audience. Social media can also help you gather feedback, add the most desired features to your app, and even structure a marketing campaign based on the social presence of your users.

Goal setting

One of the top motivational factors when using a fitness or wellness app is the measurable result. When signing up to use the app, the user will input their desired outcomes, meaning you need to ensure that the goal-setting procedure is clear and simple to use. When creating a “goal setting” section, ensure you have options related to activities and nutrition. That’s what we’re planning to do in the course of one of our current projects. We’ll be glad to share all the details, so watch for the updates on our blog.

Users should be able to select tasks, customize goals, specify what needs to be done, view performance statistics, and ask for assistance if needed.

One of the best-working implementations of this feature is goal setting in the form of a personal diary. It might be a daily or weekly planner that allows users to record and track how they consumed food and what type of workout they decided to go for. While users record their weight, menu, and exercise, they keep returning and interacting with your app, so consider adding this feature and make it really useful and encouraging.

Please have a look at how it was implemented in this weight loss tracking app.

Bottom line

Top Features for Health and Fitness Apps

Health and fitness apps have come a long way in the past few years. The popularity of such apps worldwide has increased dramatically since the COVID-19 outbreak. Thanks to the abundance of innovative technology and capabilities, it is easier than ever to create an app offering sport and wellness products and services to the user.

However, to disrupt this industry and edge out the competition, knowing some basic app features is not enough. You’ll have to be aware of the challenges that startups face while entering this flourishing market and have a solid technological background to build a competitive application.

So whatever your specific focus for fitness or healthcare app is — gym scheduling, online workouts, branded coaching, mindfulness, nutrition, or something else.— contact NERDZ LAB. We can discuss your needs and schedule a consultation to ensure you get the quality, user-friendly app you’ve imagined. Or just drop us a line to discuss any of the cases mentioned.