Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu app

Mehraban Niaki
4 min readJun 9, 2019

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a form of martial arts that builds the body and mind and helps bring discipline into practitioners’ lives. After working so closely with the client who was a BJJ fighter, it was evident that this sport helps individuals increase confidence, become more centered and become resilient.

Business Problem

We were asked to create an app that allows BJJ fighters to learn techniques online and allow them to recall their techniques for practicing and drilling.

User/Domain Research

In order to better understand the needs, goals, and behaviours of fighters, we decided to do some upfront user research.

1. We sent out an online survey to find as many fighters within the short time frame provided across different regions and received 28 responses.

2. We conducted one-on-one interviews with fighters to collect answers to more complex and in-depth questions.

It was evident that BJJ fighters share the exact same needs, goals, and views on life. It was the first time that I was seeing such unified answers across interviewees, no matter the job title, pay grade or fitness level. After close consideration, we created Ali as our typical user to help tailor the app. Meet Ali:

Through our data analysis we found out that 68% were unable to practice more due to cost, long commute, injuries and gym timetables.

Three Solutions

We concluded that this app will bring value to the busy BJJ fighters. Also, through qualitative research, we saw an opportunity to add a saved video option for offline viewing. These two solutions eliminated the need for the BJJ fighter to commute while injured from practice or when occupied with work and life constraints.

Design Process

As a team, each member designed the whole app via low fidelity sketches then we consolidated the best versions of each page and moved on to mid-fidelity and finally to high fidelity.

Low Fidelity sketches of the whole team.
There were two iterations of the mid-fidelity, attached is the final version of the fidelity.
Here is a link to the prototype and the high fidelity version of the app. Click on the top right to enter full-screen mode to test the app.

Differences of Opinion

We ran into some problems when the client started to ask for features that were not going to directly increase the usability of the app. For instance, the client asked for a five-page biography for each instructor listed within the app. After explaining that this feature is not favoured in apps and how people are running away from information overload, the client still pushed the idea. We went ahead created the five-page bio and tested it. Biography within the instructor profile did not have any fans. We had to reach a middle ground. The users did not want the biography but the client did. We decided to minimize the biography and add a read more button for anyone that might want this feature. We tested again and this time the users did not notice the length of the biography and the client received what they asked for. More importantly, it did not take away from the usability of the app.


We decided to storyboard for this app to help bring our solutions to life, so we could walk in the shoes of our users to better convince our client of the direction we took.

In the process of finishing the storyboard.
The client really enjoyed seeing the interaction of the user with the app.

Our client enjoyed the hand drawings and was delighted by the accuracy of the picture in ‘watches the video’ frame.

Usability Testing

The fighters that we tested, enjoyed using the app and repeatedly asked when they can go ahead and use the final app. Other than minor design changes the app was well-received.

Future Consideration

The client was very happy with the design of the app. The scope of the project was straight forward and the client knew exactly what he wanted. If we had more time we could have added_

  1. Kids section
  2. Step-by-step transcription of BJJ moves

The interviewees all had the same needs and had similar personalities. Due to the clarity that needed to be done the project was fairly smooth from beginning to the end.