...and suddenly - GAMIFICATION!

Tough Mudder

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Tough Mudder

Tough Mudder app is an iOS concept project to build camaraderie between Tough Mudder participants - even between races.

The Tough Mudder App keeps Tough Mudder competitors engaged between races by building camaraderie through social posting, as well as through the gamification of in-app engagement.

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  • Project Span1 week sprint
  • TeamCarly Johnson
    Alli K Woo
    Drew Allen
    Claire Lee
  • RoleResearch
    Design Studio
    User Flow/Wireframes
    High-Fidelity Mockups
Keep users engaged between races to encourage repeat participation.
Provide guided workout plans in-app that help racers prepare for races and obstacles.
When Research Disproves the Hypothesis

Through surveys we found out that the original hypothesis would not work. Even when workout and training options were provided and easily available, racers did not do any extra training for the race and therefore would have no use for an app that provided training regimens.

To find the motivations of participants, we conducted interviews and did ethnographic research within the Tough Mudder online community.

Through these interviews and observations we were able to conclude that participants were motivated by a personal sense of achievement and a sense of community & camaraderie built through social media sharing. It also became clear that participants had a strong attachment to incentives provided by the race that showed a quantifiable benchmark of achievement.

Meet Karen.


Fitness Expertise


  • Personal Sense of Accomplishment
  • Be Part of a Community
  • Fitness/Life Balance

Karen strives to keep a balanced life between work, friends, and fitness. She loves being a part of a community and feels a sense of accomplishment at sharing her fitness acheivements on social media.

... And then there was

Gamification met the three main business and user goals.


Motivate Repeat

"The more goals you reach, the more dopamine it releases, and the easier it is to stay motivated."*


Be Part of
a Community

"Social relatedness [is] positively influenced by avatars, a meaningful story, and teammates."*


Personal Sense
of Achievement

"Competence and autonomy regarding task meaningfulness is affected by badges, leaderboards, and performance graphs."*

*source: How gamification motivates: An experimental study of the effects of specific game design elements on psychological need satisfaction

User Flow

Applying the concepts of gamefication, we created a positive feedback loop.

The team brainstormed possible user journeys to find the optimum times for positive user feedback to increase engagement. The following prototype shows the flow of a user who just finished a Tough Mudder race. The app pushes a notification to the user which congratulates the user on acheiving a goal and, while the dopamine is pumpin' from this acheived goal, gives them a discount if they sign up for another race. This positive gratification screen contains a call to action that leads the user to races they can sign up for. Additionally, each race page immediately lands on a forum, increasing the users' sense of community and belonging.

User Flow Prototype



Positive feedback for behaviors releases dopamine in the user's brain, which motivates them to repeat this behavior. We pushed congratulatory messages to users during achievements.


Call to

Immediately after positive feedback (while ridin' the dopamine wave), user is given time-sensitive motivation and prompted to complete an action (discount for signing up for next race).



When user clicks through to each race, they immediately are immersed in the forum which creates a sense of camaraderie, belonging, and inclusion.



The meaningfulness of a task is increased for a user by the use of leaderboards, resulting in higher motivation and therefore higher autonomous engagement.

Related Work