January - July 2022
23 Weeks

Oss Mobile
Redefining Jiu-Jitsu training through user-centered design

User research & User interface design

Project Type
Individual student project at Springboard

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Problem Statement

Despite Jiu-Jitsu's rising international popularity, there's a surprising lack of a user-friendly application that connects the community and supports personal growth in the sport. With the current state of technology, Jiu-Jitsu should have a digital presence to increase engagement.

Although there aren't many Jiu-Jitsu-centered mobile applications, users may gather information, tutorials, and other knowledge through different applications such as Reddit and YouTube. However, with the creation of Oss Mobile, users can access everything they need to not only improve their Jiu-Jitsu but also their life.

Competitive Analysis

Currently, there are no mobile applications that perform like Oss Mobile. There are four main competitors of the application, but these applications would be considered mostly aggregators. Although these applications are not Jiu-Jitsu focused, many people still use them to access anything related to the sport, such as news, tutorials, memes, etc. Oss Mobile aims to combine all the positive components of these applications into one.

User Interviews

We conducted interviews with 9 participants, divided into two groups:

1st Group: People who do not participate in the sport.

We aimed to understand their knowledge of the sport and their interest in joining Jiu-Jitsu.

Here are some of the questions we asked:

  1. Have you heard of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu? If so, what do you know about it?
  2. Would you consider learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or does the sport not interest you?
  3. As a non-participant, why do you think some people enjoy the sport so much?

2nd Group: People who participate in the sport.

We aimed to explore their experience in the sport and their openness to integrating technology.

Here are some of the questions we asked:

  1. What aspect of the sport do you like the most? (Competitiveness, workout, self-defense, etc.)
  2. What aspect of the sport do you struggle with the most? (Lack of friends, distance, cost, etc.)
  3. If there was a BJJ-related mobile application, what feature would you most like to see? (Competitions, nearest class locator, tutorials, etc.)

Affinity Mapping

After user interviews, we created an affinity map for the application. We are able to categorize the notes and quotes from the interviews into five different categories. These categories give us an insight into what people want and need in the mobile application. We can later on, use these insights to incorporate different features in the mobile application.

Learning and Training

His end goal is to reach black belt and learn as many moves as he can.

“I like learning new moves and trying to improve myself and increasing my move set.”

Tutorials would also be a nice feature because she likes the ability to learn when she is not in class.

“This is my only workout for the week and I love it, I love everything about it. I make sure if I can, to come at least three days of the week to train."

He thinks that it is very time consuming and physical. Many people might not enjoy the physical aspect of it where two sweaty people are wrestling with each other.

Community and Trust

He loves meeting new people every day and building lifetime relationships.

“We used to roll (spar) on my rooftop, me and my boys. It was a fun time, we would just roll under the sun on a nice day with a little breeze. I miss those times.”

He can’t find partners in his weight class

“I think everyone should learn the sport BJJ because it teaches some kind of self-defense, but it also teaches important life lessons that you can incorporate in your daily life.”

“I never really played sports that much. It doesn’t really interest me and I would rather play some games with friends or just hang out with them.”

Women Related Issues

Since it is so physical, she sees why many women are intimidated from joining the sport.

“I have heard Jujitsu before but I never really seen it. All I know is that it is some kind of fighting and that’s about it.”

Yes, she is surrounded by technology all day so she thinks that a more technical presence will make it easily adaptable from everyday life to the sport.

“I wish there would be more women in the sport. Last time I went, I remember I had to sit out because of the odd number of partners and there were not enough women.”

Very time consuming. She believes you need a certain level of commitment to join the sport.

Discipline and Time

He believes that this sport will teach him discipline and other important life skills

“I have heard Jujitsu before but I never really seen it. All I know is that it is some kind of fighting and that’s about it.”

Going to the city to train was too time consuming and used up too many resources.

“It is very physical and time consuming, so many people might not be interested enough in the sport to commit their time and health into the sport.

He does not have that much time to go to class sometimes.


He thinks it is not necessary to add more technology.

“I don’t learn well with online classes or tutorials, I need a more hands on explanation. I like learning online because there is freedom but it is difficult and I lose focus really fast.”

No, believes YouTube and reddit are enough for the sport and maybe more platforms might make it confusing.

“Isn’t there Reddit already for that? You can find everything on Reddit or YouTube. I don’t think we need anything else, it gets too confusing and it is just too many things to look at.”

No, having a mobile application would not make him want to join the sport but he might enjoy it if he learns some moves in his free time.

How Might We Questions

After gathering notes and insights from the affinity mapping, we get an idea of what people are looking for in the applications and how they feel about certain aspects of both the sport and technology related to the sport. With these insights, we come up with "How Might We" questions, to determine the problems that we are trying to solve.

How might we make Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu more appealing, encouraging people to join?

How might we introduce more women into the sport, making them feel safe?

How might we differentiate competition BJJ and normal BJJ?

How might we find suitable partners to train with?

Empathy Map

After coming up with "How Might We" questions, we can create empathy maps and personas. We create empathy maps and personas to visualize the wants and needs of potential users. Understanding how users feel, think, and say helps us create a user centric design that can cater to what users want and needs. We created a empathy map for both men and women because we believe that they have different experiences when training Jiujitsu. Since there are different experiences and perspectives, we created two empathy maps and personas.

Your Image


Likes the aggressiveness of the sport.

Hard to find good schools/partners.

Likes the discipline associated with the sport.


Watching others train.

Looks up moves on Reddit and YouTube.

Training and learning with friends.


Worried about injuries.

Feels that it is more than just a sport.

Loves the competitiveness.

Brazilian Jiujitsu takes a lot of time.


“I feel more alive when I go against someone and completely dominate them.”

“I like learning new moves and trying to improve myself and increasing my move set.”

“I would like it if there was a good school right next to me where I can drop in anytime I would like. That way I can learn with great coaches and people, without spending much time on travel.”


Often gets injured from the sport.

Not enough time.

Too far from nearest good training center.

Can’t find the right partners.

Not good with technology.


Can find more partners.

Learn more moves and get better.

Learn other life skills from the sport

Become more disciplined and patient.

Your Image


Likes to learn different move sets.

Thinks there is a lack of women in the sport.

Brazilian Jujitsu is good for self defense.


Look for online deals.

Enjoys learning from others.

Learns from tutorials.


Hard to balance between family and sport.

Women are intimidated from the sport.

Tutorials are good to learn on the go.

More women should be in the sport.


“I think if there were more women in the sport, other women would be less threatened and maybe be convinced to join.”

“I decided to give it a try since I did not have much exercise at that point.”

“Most of the time I am learning from others.”

“My wife does not find many partners because there are not many girls that like this physical sport.”


Has to take care of family.

Worried about too physical sport.

Not enough time with other responsibilities.

Not enough partners to train with..


Able to find more training partners.

She can save money on gear/equipment.

Could introduce more women to sport.

Learn self defense or even new moves.


The next step for us was to create personas that give us an idea of what problems we would like to solve. The personas are based off the information received during the interviews, but they also represent the target audience. We need to create our application with these personas in our mind to make sure that the application would be fancied by everyone.

James Smith

James Smith Image

"I may not be the best but I will always try my hardest and there will always be room for improvement."

Age: 30

Work: Software Engineer

Family: Wife and 1 kid

Location: New York

Education: Bachelors Degree


James Smith enjoys watching sports with friends and he also enjoys physical activities. During the day, he works at home and he trains whenever he can. He did wrestling in high school. He plans on eventually competing but is just learning right now.


Train enough to compete in the future.

Get a job promotion soon.

Become a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.


Not enough time to train sometimes.

Same old routine, wants to try something new.

Sport is getting a little expensive.



Preferred Channels

Social Media


After gathering insights from the "How Might We Questions," empathy maps, and personas, we started brainstorming features and ideas we had for the application. The ideas were created to help solve not only the HMW questions, but also to satisfy the wants and needs of the target user, based off the empathy maps and personas. These were the ideas that we came up with.

How might we differentiate competition BJJ and normal BJJ?


Move advanced tutorials

Moves taught by pros (Gordon Ryan / Andre Galvao)

Calculated time until next competition

Create schedule to follow

More strict when setting goals

Strict diet plan


Tutorials from teachers and coaches

More basic moves

Can create schedule too (organization)

How might we find suitable partners to train with?

Competition game where people can challenge others (Grapplers’ Quest)

People sign up to participate in this

Geolocator to show people of the same weight class or belt as you.

Work with training centers for open space

How might we make Brazilian Jiujitsu more appealing, encouraging people to join?

Basic tutorials that anyone can understand

Fight highlights from previous UFC fights showing off BJJ

Newsletter for sports, keeping people updated

Memes and maybe a good community that's inviting

How might we introduce more women into the sport, making them feel safe?

Tutorials taught by women competitors and teachers

Local locator to see women training near you (geolocation)

Set up women taught classes

Deal finder for gear

Calendar or schedule maker for busy women


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Low Fidelity Wireframes

Prepping for Competition

Competition list for local competitions.

Large network of doctors, nutritionists, and other professionals to help athletes' health.

Coaching calls where users can video call or message different coaches.

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Taking Care of Your Body

Large network of workout tutorials specified for individual body parts.

Vast list of stretching and yoga tutorials, great for recovery and improving flexibility.

Health tracker that monitors sleep activity, stretching, meditation, water consumption, steps, and weight.

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Making New Friends

Training Partner Locator showing nearest online person and nearest place to train.

Competitive game where users can challenge others to move up in the rankings.

Tight community with a lounge and chatroom where users can meet lifelong friends.

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User Testing

When conducting our usability testing, we separated it into three parts; UI, tasks, and conclusion.

User Interface

Issues with button size and affecting clickability.

issues with color and brightness of text and other elementsissues with color and brightness of text and other elements.


Users struggled with switching from competitive and normal.

There were difficulties with finding the rankings of friends and global.

Several testers struggled with clicking the button to go either online or offline.


There is no home button.

Some buttons are glitchy and unclickable.

Issues with leaderboards.

Sees the value in the application and believes it can help the sport..

Some people are afraid it might be too much in addition to YouTube and Reddit.

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Reflections and Takeaways


This was our first student project, and it opened our eyes to the many steps needed to create an user centric design. Although it was our first project, there was a lot of research and editing involved to bring the idea to life.


The importance of user testing and interviews and how beneficial it is to have user inputs in the design process.

Users notice the little inconsistencies, it is important to keep everything as consistent as possible.