Project by:

Jiayan Li

High Concept Statement: 

Audio running app with adaptive story series (each chapter is a training session personalized by runner’s goal/plan and storyline for each session is subject to minor change based on runner’s real-time physical data to help him/her run in a desired heartbeat/pace)




Health & Fitness

Need or Demand:

I believe there are needs for both runners and non-runners. According to my survey on running behavior and user interview, an app that can provide runners with alternative entertaining options while in the meantime support their running levels is needed while for non-runners, an app that can help distract them from the perceived exertion and increase the engagement during the run for more sustainable investment in running is valued.

Product / Service / Solution:

These needs can be fulfilled by adaptive narratives, which is identified as one of the key elements that foster and sustain people’s engagement in video games. In running, this strategy can be utilized as well.

Firstly, attractive audio stories specifically written for running can be served as distraction from the perceived exertion and provide runners with alternative entertaining options.

Secondly, with the support of sensor technology, the vital parameters that determine the intensity of exercises (heartbeat, pace, etc.) can be key values to indicate the change of storylines to support runners run in a desired pace and heartbeat for scientific training purposes and better running outcomes.

Thirdly, addictive story series can trigger people’s curiosity to return to the app for more running sessions in longer term.

Value Proposition:

Users of the app will
1) have alternative entertaining options other than music for running and be engaged in the running time;
2) be responsively and adaptively supported for scientific training while immersed in the stories and running without the need of tracking his/her heartbeats all the time and the knowledge of how to run properly;
3) be eager to set time for daily exercise to learn more about what’s next in the stories, which might help them form a regular and long-term running habit.


1) Zombies, Run! is a zombie-themed running game app. It now has 5 seasons in total of its story missions for runners to run with the stories. It also has training plans such as 5-K training to be combined with its story series. However, though it is a well-designed running game, the stories of non-stop helicopter drones and zombie growls might get old in a while for some people. Most importantly, it only pushes runners to run more and faster, but not scientifically designed or adapted to different runners’ abilities.

2) Runtastic is a common running app with all the basic functions as other running apps on market including pace collecting, leaderboard and etc. However, it has a special feature in-app, Story Running, with audio stories of around 35 to 40 minutes long, specially written for running experience and the duration of a typical daily jog.However, these stories are not in series, but are separate stories instead, thus lacking the plot hook in narratives for longer motivation. Also, same as Zombies, Run!, stories are not adaptive and personalized according to runner’s physical ability and reaction, which makes it not quite different to listen to a good podcast while running and does not provide real time feedback to help users run better.

3) For other mainstream running apps such as Nike+ RunClub, the entertaining choices are limited and they don’t have interactive and adaptive strategy to engage users in a fun way for the running itself and sustain their efforts.

Revenue Model:

The revenue model mostly likely will be Paywalls (Subscriptions) that users will have free access to limited story series until they sign up for a premium membership for all the story series available in the app. Also, users can choose to buy separate story series that is not free.