Mobile Highlight Reels for Athletes & Fans

A•REEL is a platform for fans and athletes to edit and share sports highlights, workouts, and skills videos with a highly engaged and supportive community.

I co-founded this startup—an app allowing athletes to create and share collections of their best performances while making it easy for fans and recruiters to browse by both sport and level. Launched in the App Store in 2019, I led the Experience & Product Design, User Testing, and overall Creative Direction. I am proud to have made it through Seed funding and the launch of this app with Jeremiah Wanzel, my partner who conceived of the original idea.

While video platforms like YouTube—and sport-related video apps such as Hudl— already existed, our research revealed that they weren't very effective at facilitating community among athletes. These platforms also lacked tools for up-and-coming athletes to be able to post stats for the various sports they might play.
In addition, athletes who were working towards a career in competitive sports had a need to connect, not just with fans, but with scouts and coaches that might be able to further their careers.
Create a platform that made it easy for athletes and their fans to post and share videos of their competitive performances and practices.
We created a ranking system that allowed users to “rank” their favorite athletes, and iterated on an algorithm that would allow viewers to see the most recent, most-voted, or otherwise most relevant athletes in whatever category they chose.
“Props:” A points/Ranking system
We took the "likes" functionality that is ubiquitous on social platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, and we assigned a points value to them.
Users could give three levels of “props” to the athletes: "Impressive" earned the athlete a single point, “Baller” earned two points, and “Mad Respect” earned the athlete three points.
We also made it easy for users to see which athletes others were giving props to by showing them on their profile feeds. This offered incentive for athletes to give props to other athletes while helping to ensure that they weren't just giving points to anyone—only finding the best highlights to associate with.
Overall, gamification of the platform through a points system enabled two things:
1. Encouragement for athletes to promote and share their reels in order to earn props-points.
2. Tie the points into a rewards program—allowing the redemption of props points for the purchase of products with our app partners.
Filters to Find What you want
We knew that hardcore fans of one sport might not be interested in seeing every sport in their feed. So, we made it easy to filter the feed by only the sports that you are interested in. 
We recognized that the best highlights don't only happen in competition, but often during everyday training sessions. So, we included activities like CrossFit and yoga

Inclusive of All levels
We wanted our platform to be relevant to athletes at every level, Including folks who might not compete, but who might just have intense workout routines and fun ways to stay in shape. For that reason, we included a category for "Enthusiasts".
Additionally, our founder was a veteran of the Army. He was well aware of the training regimen that keeps our men and women in uniform in good shape, so, we included a category for members of the military to post their grueling workouts and sports activities.
Powerfully simple editing tools
During our beta testing, we quickly learned that for many of our younger, high-school athletes, it was their mom or dad that was doing the uploading and managing of the content on their behalf. They were not as tech-savvy, so we had to ensure that the interface was simple to use and understand.  Our editing tools included the ability to add a spotlight to the action, control the brightness/contrast of clips, adjust the volume of any given clip, and add music over the final edit.
Addressing some of the inherent hurdles with mobile sports clips.
An athlete that's performing cannot always record themselves. To answer this, we developed an experience that allowed fans and onlookers to easily send video footage to the athlete via text or a simple upload through the app. This powerful feature allowed an athlete, such as a skateboarder, to have their friends supply shots of the same trick from various angles.

Other work in this section:

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