We’re excited to welcome Webb Henderson to the Fitbot team! Webb is a talented product designer originally from Missouri and currently residing in Denver, Colorado. Get to know one of the the latest additions to the Fitbot team.
How did you first get into design?
Oddly enough, I didn’t start my career with a design focus – I have a pretty unconventional path that wanders through finance, project management, animation, and others, but I’ve been surrounded by many talented designers and software engineers along the way.
In my early teens, I snagged a copy of Photoshop (which took like 3 hours to download at the time) and fell in love with it. I also dabbled in web development here and there, but it all remained mostly a hobby for years after that.
Fast-forward to 2012 when joined a really strong development agency called Crowd Favorite. As a project manager, we were expected to deeply understand the underlying technologies, dev workflows, and industry trends so we could communicate well with both our clients and engineering teams. So while I wasn’t in a fully creative role, I still acquired many extremely helpful skills in design and development during that time.
I officially shifted into UX and product design at ReadyTalk – and immediately confirmed that it’s the path I was searching for all along. Again, I found myself surrounded by an incredibly talented group of people that quickly helped me become a more confident, capable, and well-rounded designer.
Where are you from originally? What brought you to Colorado?
I grew up in a small town just outside St. Louis, MO, but visited Colorado quite a bit as a kid. My dad’s side of the family is from Denver, and I was always envious of their quick access to the mountains. We moved to the Dallas / Ft. Worth area when I was about 16, and soon it was time to decide where to land for undergrad.
The first time I visited Boulder, I remember walking around the CU campus and thinking how could it get any better than this? I still feel that way today – it’s a gorgeous place, and perfectly aligned with a health-conscious, active lifestyle. Plus it’s about a 90 minute drive from some of the best skiing in the country.
What role does fitness play in your life?
I tore my right ACL in January of 2016, commencing a year-long(ish) process of rehab and recovery. Throughout that time, I worked with a great team of physical therapists and trainers at Next Level Sports in Golden, CO. They’re extremely passionate, hard-working, and knowledgeable people, but I couldn’t help but notice some challenges they faced in terms of communication, administration, and client management. I was so excited to discover Fitbot because it alleviates many of those pain points I observed throughout that process.
So in a strange way, my injury and recovery experience played a huge role in my decision to join the team.
What tools or technologies are you most excited about right now?
I’m really curious to see where we go with augmented reality (AR) applications. Luke Wroblewski recently shared some interesting use cases that make you think oh, we could use this for almost anything.
Do you think technology is having a positive or negative impact on people’s health and fitness overall?
Wearables, workout/nutrition apps, and online training communities have definitely had a positive impact on my own health and fitness – but overall, it totally depends on the intent of companies releasing new technologies. If the developer’s intent is to hook you into their app so you just scroll mindlessly on the couch all day – there’s obviously a potential negative impact. At the same time, we’ve seen some really amazing hardware and software innovations that are making it healthy/active lifestyles more accessible than ever.
What’s your favorite part about working at Fitbot so far?
The people behind our product (both our team and our customers).
We have an amazing founding team: super transparent, passionate, and clearly on a mission to build a great company and top-notch customer experience.
Our engineering team is incredible. Insanely smart, innovative, and in-tune with our customer needs. Plus it’s just a solid group – we take what we do very seriously, but we definitely don’t take ourselves too seriously.
Also worth mentioning – we have a dedicated LaCroix fridge, weekly exercise competitions, gym access 20 feet from our desks, and get to dedicate 10% of our time to becoming better at what we do. It’s really an amazing place to come to work each day.
What do you hope to accomplish while at Fitbot?
- Get super swole (kidding, kinda).
- Establish an industry-leading customer experience (in both fitness and software as a whole).
- Engrain product design as a continuous and collaborative effort that we all own.
- Continue to build a great team, product, and company.
What’s one tool or technology that’s greatly improved your quality of life in the past 5 years?
A few things come time mind:
- Kindle: Is this a lame one to start with? (Yes) but I read WAY more often now, and I can make more thoughtful decisions about which physical books to put on my shelves. I’m also a big fan of Goodreads. Nerd alert!
- Meditation: I sometimes use an app called Headspace in the morning. So many of us live a busy, hectic, go-go-go lifestyle (even in CO), so it’s really helpful to occasionally stop and just focus on something as simple as breathing.
- Exercise Bands: Until I started physical therapy, I never really worked on strengthening my hips (which likely played a part in my ACL injury). In terms of injury prevention for skiing and snowboarding, these little things are a game changer.
- Spotify Premium: I listen to ALL kinds of music, all the time. Spotifiy originally started with a great app and continues to improve the listening experience without bloating it with features. Potentially the best $10 I spend each month.
Honorable and extremely random mention: this thing (hint: it’s a gardening tool).
What’s your go-to design app?
Sketch, Proto.io, Framer, and HTML/CSS are my go-to design resources right now, but if I were stranded on a remote island – with no hope of returning and one app request – I’d probably choose Spotify 🙂
What’s your favorite part of the design process?
Any part that uncovers new learning about our customers and their problems – which usually seeps in through user research, prototyping (building quick, movie-set-like versions of new product features), and testing.
Overall, I like to take a fairly scientific approach to design (see any book about product management or UX design). It’s all about gathering data, understanding the problem, hypothesizing solutions, testing them, and deciding how to move forward.
Here’s a quick overview of what that looks like:
- Research & Synthesize: Talk to (and, if possible) observe users with the product. Interpret analytics and other behavioral data. Try to understand how they’re solving the problem now so we can hypothesize a great solution.
- Build: Totally depends on the goal. You could brainstorm 50+ ideas with the team on a whiteboard. Draft a handful of mockups in Sketch or Photoshop. Assemble a high-fidelity prototype. Any of these approaches are fair game depending on the time constraints and the learning we hope to achieve.
- Test & Improve: Did we nail it? Is there room for improvement? Should we NOT build this thing and focus on something else? This is a critical step in the process, and it often leads to surprising customer insights.
- Launch, Monitor, Repeat: It’s live! So how do we know it’s successful? It’s important to listen for feedback and continually measure against benchmark metrics to ensure we delivered the best possible solution.