(Editors' Note: This article is part of Club Industry's report, "Trends That Will Affect the Fitness Industry in 2019," sponsored by ABC Financial. You can download this report for free by going here.)
Just as in years before, in 2019 fitness business owners will need software systems that work with the least amount of challenges possible. Having reliable software and business systems and solutions can be the difference between success and failure.
Having worked in fitness for many years with a focus on technology services, I feel that the design of a quality user interface, or as it is often called UI, is becoming more essential than ever. However, what looks pretty isn’t always the best solution. Developing great UI that works is not easy to do.
Prioritizing UI as a critical component of systems can help operators lower employee training requirements, improve efficiency and realize greater benefits from their systems. The results can be greater profitability. However, achieving the perfect balance of reliability and functionality is hard and demands insightful industry experience. Sometimes, developers who conceive how solutions might work do not have the benefit of understanding the real world they will be applied in. That can mean a great deal of risk for unwitting operators who might consider investing in something that looks like the new shiny thing only to discover problems down the road.
This challenge is not unusual in an era of great technological change. In fact, many businesses attempting to adopt new technologies to transform how they do things fail. Don’t believe me? Check out this article from Inc. Magazine titled “Most Digital Transformations Fail -- Here Is Why, According to Experts.” Here is an excerpt:
“Many digital transformations are failing because people do not understand why the organization needs to change in the first place. Transformation initiatives are only successful if there is a clear directive centered around delivering exceptional customer experiences. New technologies cannot be the end game. The customer needs to be at the core of the work and everyone in the company needs to be involved.”
UI becomes an important emphasis when investing in a new platform. Failing to have knowledge of how things work in the real world can result in software that seems to look great but doesn’t ultimately do what the customer needs it to do.
Innovation is a process that demands a balance of the essential best practices while embracing the potential and new tools of the future. I agree with the Inc. Magazine article: “New technology cannot be the end game.”
Kelly Card is the senior vice president of partner relations at ABC Financial. She serves on the board of directors of the Fitness Industry Technology Council and is the co-founder of Industry FIT. Card has more than 20 years of experience in health club, gym and fitness operations and co-founded and was president of Club-Apps, which was acquired by Netpulse in 2014. You can reach her at [email protected] and follow her @KellyCard on most social platforms. Connect with and follow @IndustryFit for the latest in fitness trends and technology as well.