Digested read

Novoda partnered up with ustwo to help health and fitness brand ‘The Body Coach’ reach their Android-owning audience fast. With an outcome to match the exceptional experience they’d already brought to life for their iOS-owning fans.

www.thebodycoach.com

Key Themes
Frontend Android engineering • Integrated teams • Health & Fitness • Good People

Bringing health & fitness to the mobile masses

Joe Wicks MBE (aka The Body Coach) partnered up with Ustwo (digital product studio and friend of Novoda) to transform their business model, brand and customer experience, with mobile at the heart of that change.

Together they invested tremendous energy and expertise in discovering, validating and delivering an award-winning digital health and fitness experience for iOS devices. An accessible, thoughtful and feature-rich experience, incredibly well received by old and new fans of The Body Coach alike.

The Body Coach team was ecstatic, as were their many loyal fans and followers. Ustwo were rightfully proud of the next generation of The Body Coach business they had brought expertly to life. A job well done!

Joe Wicks doing lunges on a pink gym mat

Enabling an Android Owning Audience

As often happens, hitting a home run with a new digital product launch became the catalyst for a fast-emerging new round of possibilities for The Body Coach. In this case, bringing the same great iOS experience built by ustwo to The Body Coach’s Android-owning fans fast became a priority.

Thanks to The Body Coach’s incredible act of service during the Covid-19 Pandemic, the brand has become a global phenomenon with a diverse audience to serve. Add in The Body Coach’s mission to make health and fitness tools accessible to all, and suddenly, the need to match The Body Coach’s iOS experience on Android felt urgent.

Android-owning followers of The Body Coach knew they were missing out on something special and made themselves heard too! Though The Body Coach team could have capitalised on their iOS debut comfortably for some time to come, their commitment to serving their audience made moving fast onto Android a no-brainer.

That’s where Novoda came in. 

Joe Wicks doing exercises in his living room

Making the most of good partners

Ustwo wanted to mobilise fast, move exceptionally quickly and minimise the risks that speed can often impose on quality. Novoda is one of the safest pairs of hands for that challenge with Android. And with some successful past collaborations under our belts, we were a great fit.

Novoda is the best in their field. We needed high-quality, low-risk Android software engineering from a friendly, flexible team that’s as easy to work with as our own. They were our first choice, and the results speak for themselves.

Nicki S
Managing Director @ Ustwo
A mobile phone showing a screen from the body coach app

Taking on the Challenge

Keen to contribute to all things health-related, our mobile product engineers took on the challenge to:

  1. Deliver feature parity with the iOS Body Coach experience as soon as humanly possible for Android devices.
  2. Maintain the (frankly phenomenal) level of attention to detail, production quality and brand experience Ustwo had worked so hard to deliver on iOS.
Two screens from the body coach app showing healthy recipes and calendar functionality

There were a few secondary challenges to contend with too:

  1. The iOS team was still going full tilt, delivering on their roadmap of great new features and benefits for customers. The iOS app was improving all the time. So ‘feature parity’ was something of a moving target we’d have to pay attention to as we went along. Eventually, we’d need to catch up.
  2. If The Body Coach was going to capitalise on the launch fully, we had two optimal windows of opportunity – Black Friday and the beginning of the festive season – to launch a hardened, tested app experience that performed comfortably at scale on day one.  
  3. We were integrating into an already high-performing, close-knit team, fresh from their recent successes on iOS. Capitalising on that performance felt essential, and we could easily slow things down if we didn’t integrate ourselves effectively.

Teaming things up  

We started our collaboration with four super-experienced Android engineers and (as we often do) one of our own coaches to help establish excellent team dynamics and an agile practice fit for the circumstances at hand.

Working with Ustwo’s ‘One Team’ mantra (one we share!), the rest of the initial team would consist of designers, product engineers and engineering advisers from Ustwo’s core team. Once we’d gained traction and found our rhythm, we’d expand the engineering team to six Android engineers.

Joe Wicks stretching on a pink gym mat

The race to feature parity begins

What do we say about the eight intervening months between starting out together and delivering an excellent outcome for The Body Coach’s audience?

Sometimes when good people come together – great to work with, great at what they do, motivated by the same goals – things just go really well. Which, unfortunately, doesn’t make for such an exciting story!

Hopefully, the results, though, speak for themselves.

The results of our collaboration

Thank you so much for your work, energy, expertise and effort in building such an amazing product.

Joe Wicks
The Body Coach

After eight intense, rewarding and highly productive months of effort, The Body Coach was ready to debut on The Play Store with an experience they could be proud of: 

  1. The app quickly garnered highly favourable reviews and continues to average 4.4 stars from thousands of ratings. Up there with the best subscription-based service experiences on Google Play. 
  2. Our quality engineering practices came through clearly, not least in our app crash statistics. Just 0.4% of users ever experiencing some form of crash, despite the incredible fragmentation of OS versions and device characteristics we contend with on Android.
  3. We’d been set an exceptionally high bar with the app experience on iOS. The Ustwo team had really pushed the boundaries of what they could on the platform. It’s not easy to match that experience on Android, but our team managed to get exceptionally close.
  4. The Body Coach was ecstatic, as was their audience. They were proud to have invested in delivering such a feature-rich experience to their customers in the shortest time possible. 
  5. Novoda, Ustwo and our ‘One Team’ reinforced the value of good people, partnering with other good people in the service of great ideas. We had a blast, and we’re eagerly awaiting our next collaboration!

I’m really impressed by what we’ve achieved, and I’m so glad Novoda has been our partner. Based on past experiences working with third parties, I honestly don’t think we could have gotten to where we are without them.

Saagar B
Head of Product @ The Body Coach

Wrapping up

We worked with The Body Coach for an additional six months after launch, supporting them as they built out their internal team capabilities before transitioning ourselves out in July 2022.

Good people illustration

I’m really proud of what we achieved for The Body Coach, but I’m even more proud of the team we became. Everyone cared so deeply about the product, each other, and the outcomes they aimed to achieve. Some teams never get there, but we did in a few short weeks. The impact of that comes across in the product we shipped.

Jozef C
Engineering Lead @ Novoda.