Wednesday, December 28, 2011

SportsTracker Review

I’ve recently started using the Sport-Tracker application for WP7, and registered on the site.
So far I’ve logged a few activities (running / golf / cycling), and I must say that it’s a rather fun way to log your exercise activities.
The Details:
- Windows Phone Sports-Tracker app downloaded from here.
- Sports Tracker website here
Preliminary Advisory: I’m a software developer by trade (blog), and dabble in windows phone development in my spare time, so I’m probably a little more critical that your average user.
Update 16 Jan 2012: I’ve been using Sports Tracker for a while now, so I’ve added a few other observations….
On to the details…
Firstly, the app – website and phone – are really simple to use. The design and use of fonts are really user friendly. The flash website takes a little long to load, but imo worth the wait for the user experience once it’s loaded. The developers of the product are a spin-off from nokia, so already there’s an association of quality there, and you won’t be disappointed. The support, while I haven’t personally used it yet, seems very accessible, with all the social network access points, email, forums and contact details one could hope for. They also have a “most-wanted” feature list on their website, which to me demonstrates that they’re really serious about keeping their users happy.

The Windows Phone App:

Firstly, and most importantly – it’s free. The home screen is fairly self-explanatory:
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A brief summary of your work-outs are available, as well as access to more detailed work-out info in a diary format. The “start new workout” button is front and centre – you can literally start the app for the first time, press the button, and presto, you’re logging an activity.
While on the move, you can pause, resume, record a lap, view the gps map data etc – all very easily accessible.
Make sure your location services are active for tracking GPS data, and your data services are active for viewing the map info.
I switch my data services off (it’s expensive here in sa!) – the GPS tracks fine without it.
The workout screen is simple enough – the more important information is displayed in a larger font, and it’s metro design allows for quick-glimpse information access, which you need while out on the road.
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The plus and minus buttons on the map view could use a re-touch though, since it kind of disappears behind the map (although that’s probably what they were going for). In my WP7 map apps, I’ve added an opaque background to the buttons, which still gives visibility to the map behind, but makes the buttons clearly visibly. Also satellite view on the phone would have been handy (it’s only a few lines of code to add) – especially for activities that don’t take place on the road system – like golf. I also prefer the standardised windows phone round metro buttons to the traditional square buttons being used here.
image .. imo much better.
Some minor functional gripes:
- When an activity is saved, I never get a confirmation what exactly took place – since saving also synchronises with my web account. I usually have my data turned off, so a notification that told me workout was saved, but not sync’ed would be nice – or even just a notification that save and sync was successful.
- One stat is turned out to be pretty pointless – maximum speed. I would have thought that they would factor in and eliminate extreme readings, but apparently not. My easy run has me clocked at doing 80.4 km/h!
- Sometimes I add a description to a workout, save – only to find that it hasn’t been added when I return later. Second attempt always seems to work though.
The windows phone app was only just released, so I’m sure they’ll be ironing out the wrinkles in due course.
16 Jan Update:
- The sync’ing between the device and web isn’t anything to write home about. Work-outs I’ve created\updated don’t sync to the device – and workouts I’ve deleted online don’t get removed from the device.
- There is no way to delete a workout from the device.
- If you accidently press the back button when you’ve completed a workout, you’re presented with a dialog asking whether you’re sure you want to abandon the workout without saving – only problem is there is no Cancel button! Ouch – how did that pass testing!? OK – so you can use the hardware back button to exit out of the dialog – but I don’t think this is standard UI practice.
Finally, you can share your workouts from your phone via a number of channels, including the sports-tracker website and social media integration such as twitter and facebook.

The Website:

Admittedly, I haven’t delved too much into the functionality of the website, but from what I’ve seen, it’s awesome. All the information that is on the phone app is accessible here (including the missing satellite map views). Here’s a screenshot of a workout:
You can mouse-over the graph and it will give you the data for the exact point on the map on the left.
There’s also a comparison with previous workouts of the same activity, as well as the ability to export that data to a gpx format file.
This last feature turned out quite handy for me, as the GPS data for one of my runs was not recorded due to loss of signal. I hopped on my bike, recorded the same route, exported that data, and imported the gps information into a new workout.
It would have been handy to import the data into my existing workout though.
There’s also a heart rate stat – which I’m assuming is used in conjunction with the heart-rate product I’ve seen advertised on the website.
It doesn’t end there – you can add pictures – link friends – view comments from friends etc.
Finally – they’ve also made web widgets available for those of you like myself who have blog – viewable in the right column of this site. You can embed a summary widget, as well as a single workout.
So in summary – if you’re anything from mildly active, and have one of the supported smart devices (Android, Nokia, Windows Phone, Apple) go and get the app and start logging Smile

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