The Smiley/Frown Face and Your Community


As many of you have noticed we launched our new support system over the weekend, and have already gotten great feedback. Being on the beyond the whiteboard team means you respond to support. We don’t see it as a task that one person should do. We can’t expect our team members to know what beyond the whiteboard users are thinking if they don’t interact with them.

We read and discuss all feedback you guys send, and truly appreciate it. I recently started a conversation about a design approach we recently implemented. We now display a smiley when members beat their previous result and a frown when they don’t. By no means are we trying to interpret a result. The icon is a design approach that we feel helps a user visually distinguish PRs from Non PRs. In fact, we have privacy controls, at both the user and gym level, for all posts(meals, weigh ins, workout results, etc).

After some thought I realized our design approach had a lot to do with our view of how a community is organized at a box. We see a Crossfit Box as a community of people who understand that you have to acknowledge a weakness before you can overcome it. We feel being more open with a weakness, among other gym members, is a good approach. Members feel more comfortable working out next to someone they know they can’t catch, because everyone already knows and is comfortable with each other’s fitness level. In fact, the open approach is rooted from writing everyone’s result on the whiteboard. Globo gym’s have the exact opposite effect. Many of my Globo Gym friends have told me, “I’m not in good enough shape to go to the gym.” There will be times when you are injured, sick or lazy, and you should add such items to the notes field when posting a new result. In general, you shouldn’t feel discouraged. You are Crossfitting, which means you are light years ahead of most people.

Crossfit Kinnick takes the open community approach. Jon Kinnick, Jeremy Kinnick and Jake Mannion have built an environment where everyone is comfortable and honest with their current fitness level. We talk about it openly and encourage each other to improve. For example, I used to suck at ring dips. I started doing some extra dips before workouts and now can bust out 12 strict pretty easily. It’s not where I want to be but it’s better then where I was at. When I first started doing more dips, I didn’t worry about only doing 5 and someone noticing. Everyone already knew I sucked at dips and encouraged me do keep putting in work.

So we personally feel the smile or frown is a motivator. It says “hey keep up the good work” or “better luck next time”. It gives your community a chance to encourage you and keep you on the path to achieve your goals. If everyone hates the smiley/frown face feature then we’ll take it down. We’re not prideful, and want to build what the community wants.

Again, we love the feedback guys.



  1. April 5, 2010 / 9:11 pm

    I like the Smiley face. I will see how it works a little more this week.

  2. Murph
    April 5, 2010 / 9:50 pm

    Love the smiley/frown face. Please keep it

  3. Rae
    April 7, 2010 / 2:04 pm

    I think you’ve nailed your intentions. Keep it, it’s helpful, easily identifiable and a quick visual reminder.

  4. John Cary
    August 18, 2011 / 4:16 pm

    I like the smiley/ unsmiley face concept, but I think that the vital statistic should be the power output, not the time. I am just over a year into crossfit, so am still on the steep part of the improvement curve. I often add weight to an exercise and take longer to complete the workout. This sometimes results in a longer time but still a much higher power output. So I am actually DOUBLY improved – putting out more power and for a longer time. But I get frowny face…
    Thanks for all the good work.
    John Cary
    Manassas, VA

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