A review of the health and fitness app Lifesum

Lifesum is an app I use multiple times a day. I track my food and my workout sessions to achieve my fitness goals. I’ve been using it every day for a year. The app has been very helpful and taught me a lot regarding nutrition. Recently I got my boyfriend to try it but his experience was not pleasant. He got super angry or should I say hangry.

This article will be a review of the app. Presenting the good and bad, three user scenarios and user flows. In the end, I will present what I think Lifesum could do to improve their app from a UX perspective.

 

lifesum logotype

 

About Lifesum

Lifesum helps you track your food and your exercise to live a healthier life and reach your fitness goals. You add your personal data, calorie intake (the app can also help calculate the calories depending on what your goals are) and sets distribution between carbs, protein and fat. There is a free version of the app and a premium from $3.75/Mon, I’ve only used the free version. The app also contains recipes, plans and a social section, but honestly I never used any of that.

This article is not a huge user study. This article is based on my own experience as a power user and my boyfriend as a new user.

 

Woman power user

Handling the app like a power user 💪

 

First I want to list some good and bad with the app.

Good

  • The playful UI with the colours, illustrations and animation
  • Tracking nutrition & workout
  • Most of groceries are registered (or you can add it by yourself)
  • Save favourite foods
  • Add personal data and see progress

Bad

  • The app is very time consuming
  • Easy to get distracted from the real world
  • Too many clicks
  • A lot of scroll
  • Too much information at the same time, spam-feeling
  • The food sometimes get cold while using the app

 

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User scenarios

A user scenario describes the situation when the user is using the app and want to achieve specific actions or goals.

Here are three user scenarios:

  1. Add a meal. I use to do this in two different ways. I always use a scale to be precise and either I first add the food in the app and then put it on my plate or I’m adding the food in the app at the same time as putting it on the plate. This by select food from recent-list, scan the product or search.
  2. Update amount. I’ve added my food in the app but ends up eating more and I need to update the amount in the app.
  3. Hitting macros. Typical situation at the end of the day. I want to hit my macros, meaning I want to be sure that I’ve eating enough carbs, protein and fat. I’m adding food and then I need to go back to the start screen to see if the day is full filled and if not I need to go back and adjust.

 

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Let’s talk about the user flows

User flows shows the path the user takes in the application to complete a task.

In this section I will present three flows based on the scenarios.

Add meal

Below you see the steps to add red pepper for lunch. There is two ways of adding food; Click on the Add lunch card or click the plus sign in the bottom navigation. Personally I never use the bottom navigation button. First it’s not consistent to add something by using the navigation bar and the menu that appears is not clear and it takes me more time to find lunch and click than just click the card. To much thinking-time is bad user experience especially if you are a power user.

The flow contains a lot of step to just add one thing and a lunch contains more than one thing so this flow is repeated to add the whole meal.

 

user flow add meal Lifesum app

Flow: Add red pepper for lunch

 

Update amount

I need to go back to the meal in the app and update the grams or amount of the food. This also contains a number of clicks. If I want to add more food to the meal (last screen in the flow) the Recent used food i displayed in the top. This doesn’t make sense, why would I like to add this again?

Flow: update the grams of the food

 

Hitting macros

The third and last flow is the struggle in the end of the day when I want to hit macros. I want to make sure I’m not eating too little or too much. This is the last thing I’m doing with the app and this flow is massive.

App flow hitting macros

Flow: Adjust value to hit macros

 

That was the flows. Conclusion; it’s a lot of screens for simple actions. The usage is very time consuming, even though I’m a power user and could do it with closed eyes.

I also want to mention two other sections.

Start screen

In this screen you have a summary of the day in the top, calories left in main focus and the grams of carbs, protein and fat displayed below. You can scroll up and down and click on multiple places, it’s a lot of interaction and information in one view.

Start screen Lifesum App

Start screen; blue marks shows the interaction points

 

Meal screen

Picture below shows the meal Breakfast, the green header is taking up a lot of space and with no purpose. I’ve never added a photo before this article. I wonder how many users are using this function? It’s a nice to have feature but not necessary it’s taking up half of the screen. In this view that’s not what I want to see.

Meal screen Lifesum App

Meal screen; the top header can be used for adding a photo of the meal.

 

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How to improve the app

I’m ending this article with some thoughts on how to improve the app.

Start over. With that I not saying ditch the app and create a new one I mean go back to step one in a UX process and improve.

Do new research. Meet the users when they are using the app in their daily life. Discover how and when they interacts with the app, what they feels and thinks and how they would like it to be.

Explore time efficiency. Try out different ways of decrease the time using the app.

Work with consistency & hierarchy.

Don’t be fun. When it’s an app I use multiple times a day I don’t want it to be fun I want it to be trustable and discreet.

Specific improvements

→ Display the values of the day; the calories, carbs, protein and fat when adding new food and not only at the start screen.

→ Add a section to take progress photos in the profile.

→ Change the hierarchy in the meal view, prioritise numbers not a green header.

→ Start screen; give the grams of carbs, protein and fat more focus. Those numbers are more interesting than the numbers of eaten and burned calories.

→ ♥-button for saving favourite food could be more accessible.

→ Suggest what kind of meal to add based on what’s been added before and the time of the day.

→ Try to make the flows with less screens.

 

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Thanks for reading!

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