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What is Seren?

Seren is a platform designed for women who want to pursue outdoor fitness with greater safety and confidence.




9 weeks



Design Process





Affinity mapping


Problem Refinement



Experience mapping

User stories

Taskflow creation




User testing

Brand development

UI Library


Hi fidelity

Marketing website



The Objective

My goal is to gain a comprehensive understanding of how safe women feel whilst they exercise in public spaces. By gaining valuable insights into this issue, I hope to make informed design decisions that will help improve their experience.

Outdoor & Indoor Experience

It's crucial to highlight that women face various challenges when exercising, both indoors and outdoors. These challenges aren't limited to one particular space but can occur in any public area. 

Personal & Indirect Experience

Women are now feeling increasingly insecure while working out in public places. This feeling of unease is not just limited to personal experiences but also arises due to fear triggered by the tragic events highlighted in the news.

of women have felt uncomfortable exercising in public spaces.

of women have cut a workout short because gym-goers have made them feel uncomfortable.

of women feel unsafe whilst exercising in public.

of female runners who had considered stopping running altogether.

Key Takeaways

  1. Safety concerns make women uncomfortable, unsafe, or cut workouts short.

  2. Public space safety concerns vary by location.

  3. Personal experiences and fear cause insecurity for many.

Problem Refinement

As an exercise enthusiast myself, I recognise the importance of creating safe and accessible spaces for everyone to exercise and stay safe. This has led me to problem space that I will continue to conduct further research into:

Women feel that they are unable to independently exercise in public spaces, as they don't always feel safe, due to unwanted attention. As a result, they either choose not to exercise if their personal safety protocols are not in place, or end up cutting their workouts short.


I created a number of assumptions formed from my problem space, which will inform the questions that I ask during my user interviews.

Women may feel unsafe in public spaces due to the risk of physical or sexual assault.

Women feel unsafe exercising in outdoor public spaces at night due to badly lit areas.

Women feel more comfortable exercising in public areas that they are familiar with.

Women don't feel safe exercising in public spaces at night as fewer people around.


I formulated two hypotheses to understand women's safety concerns when exercising in public spaces.


The first step in validating or invalidating my hypotheses, is conducting further research. This research will provide insights into women's challenges and experiences, enabling me to make informed design decisions that enhance their safety and overall experience.

3/4 Don’t exercise alone at night.

I believe that women feel unsafe exercising in public due to harassment and assault from men and vulnerability when alone. I will confirm this if 3 out of 4 of women report cutting workouts short or stopping due to feeling uneasy.

3/4 Cut workouts short or completely stop.

I believe women avoid exercising in outdoor public spaces at night due to safety risks from poor lighting, low visibility, and fewer people present. I will confirm this if 3 out of 4 of women report not exercising alone at night due to safety concerns.

User Interviews

Interviewee Criteria & Purpose

I selected four women who met my user criteria: between the ages of 25-45, residing in London, and from diverse ethnic backgrounds. They all engage in exercising in public spaces.


My intention is to gain a deeper understanding of my interviewees' behaviours and challenges, and to verify my assumptions through this research.

Interviewee 1

33, Walthamstow

Prefers group classes suited to her fitness level.

Interviewee 2
33, Islington

Feels anxious when her gym is busy.

Interviewee 3
34, Abbey Wood

Interviewee 4
38, Barking

Prefers running alone and usually runs at night.

Likes the idea of someone to exercise with.


About Interviewees

What did the Interviewees say? 

Organising Insights Into Themes

I gained valuable insights from the interviews I conducted, extracting a substantial amount of data points that I classified into three categories: motivations, behaviours, and pain points.

After thoroughly reviewing the insights as a whole, I grouped them accordingly, enabling me to identify three key themes: community, self-awareness and safety and planning.

Key Themes

Self-Awareness & Safety

Women prioritise safety and practice caution with what they wear and environment choices. They prefer busy public areas for outdoor exercise and avoid nighttime workouts.


Women exercise in public spaces for community and companionship. Exercising with a friend increases motivation and  the feeling of safety. Some prefer women-only exercise groups.


Women want more information on safe routes and spaces for outdoor exercise. It helps them track their running patterns, reduce the risk of feeling unsafe in unknown public spaces, explore new routes and see is others are exercising nearby.

Are My Hypotheses Right?

In my interviews, I found support for both of my hypotheses, except for one interviewee who felt uncomfortable during exercise but continued because she was with a friend and felt confident.

Not Quite.

2/4 Mentioned that they had to cut or completely stop their exercise because they felt unsafe.

1/4 Said they would have cut their exercise short due to feeling uncomfortable, if it had not been that they were with a friend.

Yes! I was right.

3/4 Said they would not exercise alone at night.

Indoor or Outdoor Exercise?

From the interviews, it's clear that I should focus on women who feel unsafe exercising either in the gym or outdoors. While women generally feel safer in the gym, addressing safety concerns for outdoor exercise presents a greater opportunity for design intervention. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Key themes established from interviews: Self-awareness & Safety, Community and Planning.

  2. Women have don't tend to exercise alone at night.

  3. Outdoor exercise presents a greater opportunity for design intervention.


Who Am I Designing For?

By gaining a comprehensive understanding of the safety concerns that women face while exercising in outdoor public spaces, I was able to create a persona who will help guide my design decisions.

Experience Mapping

In order to further empathise with my persona and identify their key challenges and areas for improvement, I created an experience map to visualise their current journey with planning where is safe to exercise.

Key Takeaways

  1. Highlighting safety features, check-ins, and location sharing can increase feeling of safety.

  2. Feedback through reviews and ratings can enhance accountability and recommendations

  3. Saving favourite spaces and tracking progress can improve the user experience and motivation.

How Might We

Based on my research and interviews, I've determined that 'planning' and 'community' will bring the most value to my persona. The experience map has revealed that the biggest opportunity is to create a platform for recommending safe outdoor spaces for exercise. This platform will include reviews and ratings to enhance accountability and improve recommendations. This has led me to establish my how might we.

HMW help women feel safe when they exercise in outdoor public spaces. 

User Stories

Crafting Stories

I crafted a compelling scenario that has allowed me to empathise with my persona's perspective and gain insights into her needs, desires and challenges, when exercising in outdoor public spaces. This scenario helped me develop several user stories. This process will help me to design with a clear focus on making improvements that will truly benefit her.

User Scenario

Anna wants to exercise outdoors but has grown increasingly aware of women being harassed when alone, so does not always feel safe. She has grown tired of running the same routes and wants to explore more of her local area but wants to feel confident that she is making informed decisions, by planning ahead and not putting her safety at risk.

User Epics

After reviewing the user stories, I have grouped these into epics, which focus on the high level tasks that a woman wants to achieve whilst exercising safely outdoors. By identifying user epics, I'm gaining a clearer understanding of the essential features needed for a minimum viable product, that would be valuable to my persona. I am deciding to focus on developing the Location and Route Planning epic into a Primary task flow since my persona wants recommended routes. Additionally, I have chosen to develop the Connecting with Community epic into a secondary task flow since it aligns with my persona's goal of having the option to run with others.

Epics for MVP

Location & Route Planning 

for recommended exercise routes and spaces.

Connecting with Community

Option to exercise with other women in the local area.

User Task Flows

What My Persona Needs to Achieve

Now i have a clearer understanding of my minimum viable product, I can develop task flows of the actions my persona needs to take to plan an outdoor exercise and connect with her community.

Task Plan a new route to exercise.
Scenario Anna, a safety-conscious fitness enthusiast, explores running in her local area using the app to search for recommended routes. When she notices she's alone, she checks her app to see how many others are exercising nearby, which makes her feel more comfortable and safe.

Task Find a circuit training partner in the area.

Scenario Anna chooses to workout later in the evening and decides to find someone to join her for circuit training in a well-lit public space with good reviews. She posts to the community using the app to see if anyone is available to join her.



Following a series of exploratory sketches, I have been able to refine key features into solution sketches. These sketches now serve as a foundational framework for my route planning and community event screen design, and will guide the development of a digital prototype.

Home Page
Route Planner 
Map of Route
Rate your Run
Run Saved Screen

Task 1 (T1)

Task (T2)

Community Page
Create an Event
Event Post Complete

Screens to Develop

Home Screen  T1

Search recommended routes and outdoor spaces, daily activity review and join events.

Route Discovery T1


Filter routes by exercise type and additional preferences e.g. terrain

Route Discovery T1

Set distance and turn on safety alerts.

Live Route T1

View and select routes. Review safety alerts and see who is active on the app.

Community T2


Join daily events or upcoming events. Create events.

Mid-Fidelity Wireframes

Solution Sketches into Prototype

I created a digital prototype on Figma, incorporating interactions and animations to enhance user experience. My aim is to design an intuitive interface that users can navigate easily during initial testing.

Safety Alerts

Safety alert icons on the map to indicate locations where police-reported incidents have occurred. This feature is crucial for users to assess the safety level of an area.

Home Screen

Key step in task to discover routes & spaces.

Updates user on latest exercise activity.

User can join community exercise events.

Opens a map with safety alerts notifying users of any reported incidents in their local area.

Route Planning

tabs to discover routes or outdoor spaces.

The user enters their location to get locally recommended routes.

The user selects through each stage to build their search preferences.

Review Routes

Monthly police reported data, with 'clickable' icons highlighted on map.

Recommended routes.


Route reminder.

Safety alert detail

Safety alerts

Profiles of who is online.


Create an Event

Create an event, using the same interactive steps as explore routes.

Create an event

Highlight of local daily exercise events for user to join.

User Testing

Two Rounds of Testing 

Organising The Issues

I performed two rounds of user testing, enlisting five participants for each round to complete a series of tasks with two overarching goals. The aim of testing my solution on users is to identify any potential usability challenges that they might encounter, in order to proactively address these issues before proceeding to my high fidelity design.

As I conducted task analysis, I identified several usability issues that require attention. To effectively prioritise these issues and determine the appropriate solutions, I developed a comprehensive design prioritisation matrix.

Task 1 goal Discover a new running route.

1 Discover a new route.
2 Add in route preferences

3 Review safety alerts
7 Review list of route results and go on the Monument run.
8 Start/Pause/Stop Route.
9 Leave a star rating.

Task 2 goal Post a new event to your community

1 Navigate from home screen to ‘create a new event’
2 Create a new event.
3 Add event details
4 User reviews post and sends it.

Round #1 Key Issues

Task 1

Discover a new route. - some users missed the main CTA

2 Add in route preferences - Although users were able to complete the task, they were unable to remember what they had selected. Further to this, users wanted the option to filter out routes with recently reported safety alerts.

7 Review list of route results- All of the users missed the navigation to the list of routes.

Task 2

1 Navigate from home screen to ‘create a new event’ - Some users attempted to use another CTA.

Design Prioritisation Matrix Round #1

Key Revisions Round #1

Home Screens 



Moved logo, to be less of a focal point.

New button, for clearer call to action.

New plus button to open community page and allow the user to add an event.

Made the map button lighter, to be less distracting,

Discover Routes



Recognition rather than Recall- new labels, disclosing the information filled in the previous step.

Discover Routes



Additional Safety option. User can choose to avoid routes with recently reported safety incidents.

Review Routes


v.2 List

v.2 Map

Reversed the screen layout to have the list of routes at the top of screen and the option to open the route map in another screen.

User Testing Round #2

Prior to the second round of testing, I managed to resolve all issues addressed in the first round of testing. In round two of testing, users were able to complete all tasks, however I made a few observations that had to be considered if the user were not to be following a linear task flow.

Round #2 Key Issues

Task 1

2 Add in route preferences - further detail required on meaning of safety alerts.

8 Start/Pause/Stop Route. Missing a 'start' button, giving users the option to restart their exercise.

Design Prioritisation Matrix Round #2

Key Revisions Round #2



Additional 'start' button



Additional safety information.

Final Thoughts Before Hi-Fidelity...

​I managed to address the important tasks in my prioritisation matrix, however due to time constraints, I was unable to include the option to add friends to events. I can appreciate the value of this addition and will consider for next steps.

Brand Development

Finding The Mood

To develop my brand's visual identity, I've drawn inspiration from a set of carefully chosen keywords and used them as a starting point for creating a mood board. Through a deliberate curation process, I've extracted the colors that best represented my brand, resulting in a cohesive and impactful color palette.


Prior to proceeding with the development of my high fidelity prototype, I've taken steps to verify that my application is accessible and conforms to the WCAG accessibility standards. I evaluated my selected colour palette by testing the contrast across various uses and combinations of colours.


I chose the name Seren, meaning "star", aligning with the app's mission to guide users. It resonates with users as it's associated with "serenity", evoking calm and tranquility.

The word "seren" has multiple origins depending on the language and culture. In Welsh the name Seren means star.


Icon Development

When I began developing my icon, I had a clear vision in mind: I wanted to incorporate circles into the design. Circle are highly symbolic and can represent a wide range of concepts, such as unity, wholeness, and inclusivity.

By selecting circles as a key design element, I was able to create an icon that is both visually appealing and meaningful. It serves as a symbol of connectivity, inclusivity, and openness, and I believe it will resonate with users who share these values.

Wordmark Development

When designing my wordmark, I made a deliberate decision to focus on developing the letters "s," "r," and "n." I recognised that these letters are critical for establishing the brand identity and creating a memorable impression. To enhance the visual appeal of these letters, I experimented with various design elements, such as increasing the curvature and simplifying the points to create smoother curves.

UI Library

Atoms, Molecules & Organisms

Safety Alerts

Distance Capture

Event Button

Activity Buttons

Terrain Buttons

Event Card

Search & Plan Buttons

Route Recommendation Card


Hi-Fidelity Design

After conducting two rounds of user testing, I refined and elevated the design of my app by creating a high fidelity prototype. This involved carefully applying brand guidelines and further developing the user interface to create a more polished and cohesive user experience.

With Seren women can find safe spaces, plan secure routes, and connect with a supportive community.

Product Marketing Website

The Key Value

To effectively share the story of Seren and engage with its potential community, I created a marketing website highlighting its core features: safety alerts, community connection, route planning, and exercise event creation.

Given that Seren's target user is likely to be frequently on the go, it was crucial that the website was fully responsive and optimised for mobile devices.

Multi Platform Design

Considering Seren's purpose as an activity app, it's logical to optimise it for the Apple Watch. Keeping in mind the user's on-the-go usage, the interface has to be straightforward for quick glances to track progress, directions, and alerts.

To enhance the existing design, I brainstormed a new feature. With community ratings available in the app, I realise that during an active run or exercise, users could benefit from being alerted about areas with low visibility, including its duration, to re-route or continue safely.


Making An Impact

This project has been a true labour of love, and the knowledge I've gained during the early discovery stages has only served to reinforce its importance. I firmly believe that the product and it's mission holds real value, and I hope others share this sentiment. In the current climate, where trust in those tasked with our protection has been eroded, the issue of women's safety is all the more critical. 

With Seren, we can support one another and feel secure without having to halt our daily activities. The community aspect of our platform is a key feature that I believe holds immense value and has the potential to make an even greater impact.

Next Steps For Seren

There are numerous opportunities for Seren's development that I couldn't pursue due to time constraints. The first avenue involves enhancing the app's exploration of outdoor spaces. Seren goes beyond being a mere route planning app and seeks to help users maximize their experiences in safe outdoor spaces suitable for exercising.

The next exciting avenue for Seren's growth entails expanding its community aspect, which is among the most valuable features. My vision is to empower users and ideally, users should be able to share their location with chosen friends, invite them to their events, and cultivate a strong sense of community.

Thinking Outside The Box

What's The Worst That Can Happen?

Seren's main focus is on creating a sense of safety, which has always been my top priority and driving force in every decision made. The primary concern for Seren's community is the possibility of someone misusing the shared information and providing inaccurate or harmful guidance that could jeopardise the safety of another user. To address this issue, I have always contemplated a crucial step, which is not yet evident in the task flow as the persona is already registered. This step involves verifying every user's identity by requiring them to share some form of identification to ensure that they are who they claim to be before using the app.

Key Learnings

Embrace The Problem

As designers, we often hear "embrace the problem, not the solution," which can be challenging, given our natural inclination to believe that we already have the solution. However, I found that embracing the problem was not a hurdle for me, as I was deeply passionate about the problem space and could relate to it on a personal level. This led me to take the crucial initial step of actively listening to what other women had to say, which proved to be immensely valuable and interesting. By trusting the process and remaining open to feedback, I gained invaluable insights that informed the entirety of my project.

Be Receptive

Throughout the past 8 weeks, I have gained two essential insights into my design approach for this project. Firstly, I have come to appreciate the critical role of testing in the development process. Secondly, I have learned that incorporating feedback and remaining receptive to other viewpoints is crucial in product development, regardless of the design stage. It can be disheartening to realise that certain elements that I have spent hours on may not work or make sense, but I recognise that there is always room for growth and refinement.

Always Think Of The User

When considering this app I realise how crucial it is to be cautious about the information and wording used. While I can provide valuable information to help them make informed decisions, it is impossible to control what people will do. It is important to recognise that the safety of individuals is ultimately their own responsibility, and they must exercise caution when using the app's features.

Furthermore, certain wordings or suggestions may give users a false sense of security, which can lead to complacency and increase the risk of harm. Therefore, it is essential to strike a balance between providing helpful information without creating a false sense of security.

Know When To Stop

As a designer, it's natural to want to tackle every problem and devise multiple solutions, even during the early stages of the design process. However, I quickly realized that to create a robust product, I needed to narrow my focus and choose between either indoor or outdoor exercise. Due to time constraints, I had to consistently refocus on the tasks required for my user to complete their goal and accept that certain areas had to be prioritised over others.

Thank You.

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