Who’s the main audience for Boston University’s Fitness & Recreation Center?

Well, yeah, it’s sort of the students. But really, it’s faculty and staff, because we pay for memberships and students don’t.

Thus began the long and exhausting process of selling myself on excercising regularly.

This hadn’t gone well in the past for me. I have a famous time, The Time I Exercised. Similar to The Time I Got Drunk and The Time I Tried To Clean the Coffeepot Before Drinking the Coffee In It, it only happened once and it ended disastrously. It began with a Jillian Michaels tape and ended with me hobbling up and down five flights of stairs at about the pace of a snail for a week straight. Why five flights of stairs? At the time, I lived in a fifth floor apartment where the elevator just so happened to break right after I destroyed every muscle in my body (even the unrelated ones!) doing squats.

So I made a user profile that was basically me - wary and overwhelmed by the choices of equipment in a workout room, a little self-conscious, and big on excuses. Along with me came two other fake users: someone who liked going to the gym and had been active previously, and someone who was too busy for working out. From those, we worked out an information architecture that focused on the activities you could take part in and messaging that welcomes people new to FitRec, and working out in general.

The colors are fun and inviting and (shamelessly) inspired by workout clothes. The type is clean and bright and friendly. And we chose photos which showcased the wide variety of activities you can participate in at FitRec. Although it is a little more expensive, you can do a lot there. There’s a rock wall, aerial yoga, an olympic pool… you name it, it’s there.

The same look, feel, and flow had to apply to a proprietary CMS and membership system to handle FitRec memberships, as well as FitRec member IDs. Skinning proprietary systems is always a challenge since there are usually some wonky requirements for getting CSS and HTML in, and you don’t always have complete control over what comes out the other end. This was no exception.

As for me? Well, I still don’t have a gym membership, but I did manage to get myself a yoga mat and a bag of resistance bands.

FitRec Main Site

FitRec Membership System

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