Friday, March 20, 2015

Review: MapMyFitness

Site: MapMyFitness

Score: 58/100

Summary: Broken features and performance issues behind a firewall, an unexpected failure from such a large market participant. The strength of the site is still the ability to map routes ahead of time for mileage and elevation, but unfortunately none of that is part of the review gauntlet. A difficult recommendation to make for triathletes to use as a training tool, as it adds little or no value over a data store such as Connect, Movescount, Strava, and the like - which any site should strive for.

Layout (25)
  • Logical Flow: Right from the start, this is not going to go well; upon login you have a banner ad, a navigation bar for 'My Home', 'Discover', and 'Improve', a button to upgrade to "MVP", then a sub navigation bar for Create Route, Log Workout, Log Food, and Create a Goal. However, over to the right side of the main nav bar is the Under Amour logo, my name with a drop down carat, and a search icon. But alas, in Chrome, none of them do anything. Switching over to IE and enabling secure content, they turn into javascript pop down menus...for a while, and then they stopped working. Then miraculously they started working (albeit for a little while only) in chrome. Let's pause for a moment...I start from the top and work my way down the screen, that's flow. Before I get to the sub nav bar I have 3 buttons that don't work consistently. There's also a lot of redundancy - when the buttons *worked* I could get to my profile or dashboard 3 different ways. While on one hand that's good for feature location, it's bad for clutter and comfort. I was confused again by clicking "Activity Feed" and seeing a spinner gif that never disappeared...and never showed an activity feed. Things are feeling very broken.
  • Feature Location: The aforementioned profile wasn't obvious, the activity feed doesn't display anything, and I had to click everything to eventually find the way to connect to my data under the '24/7' tab, which I don't know what it means. I also found the manual import option for .fit, .tcx and other files in the same place, but way at the bottom of the list.
  • Feel: It's a billboard, and the free version is kind of an onslaught of ads. At any given moment, at least 20% of the screen real estate is dedicated to ads. However beyond that, the feeling is light and modern, with sensible icons, soft colors, and a non-aggressive approach. 
  • Performance\responsiveness: Fair, and that's a stretch. First for the javascript buttons that refuse to work consistently. Not content to just kiss goodbye to features, I had a look under the covers and saw a log message that jQuery.Browser() was deprecated. To the non-tech out there, that basically means the site is using a function that has been discontinued and will eventually be removed. When you get these messages, it's sloppy if you don't clean them up, because it's usually a minimal effort to do so. There is a TON of javascript behind this site, and I think it's just a question of how long it takes to load that causes the issues, but as a user, it's not supposed to be my problem. I'm also disappointed in the endlessly spinning gifs in the 'Activity Feed' tab that make me think something is loading even though it never does. Additionally, the 'Friends' section takes about 4 minutes to load for me. Unreal for a major brand (Under Armour is the parent company now). Interestingly enough, when I put the browser on the other side of the firewall, everything works better (I finally saw the activity feed!), but still with lethargic speed.
  • Mobile conversion: The site condenses, but it does so into a fairly useless state, only able to show me my workouts and nothing more. As if to wave the white flag, there's a giant button at the top to 'Download the App'. No thanks, that's not the point.
  • Creating a plan: You can't. Even more bizarre, I went to try and add a 'Goal', and...well...there's nothing there. It just says 'My Goals', and shows me an ad (of course). Without a firewall, the goal types *do* display, but they're kind of pointless as they lack context. For example a goal to 'run 6:00 per mile' is admirable, but its a different animal whether we're talking a 5K or a marathon, you know?
  • Creating a workout: A good widget to do this, for distance and duration, the ability to add splits, HR data, calories and what not. You have a dizzying array of different sports to choose from, to the point I consider overkill. I can't be bothered to discern between 'Bike Ride - Road Cycling - General' and 'Bike Ride - Road Cycling'. Actually, I'm not even sure there is a difference.
Score: 10: It looks pretty, but that's where the fun stops. I gave 2 points for the color scheme and 7 points for the workout creator, which is actually pretty good. 1 more point given for having *some* plan for condensing to mobile, albeit one that's pretty lacking. Any points I would award for performance observed without a fire wall can't really be given, as many users have this setup (ie those that log on from work!). 

Analysis Tools (20)
  • Charts are time variable: Yep, organized by day, week, month or year.
  • Heart Rate: nope
  • Fatigue vs. Freshness: nope
  • Duration: Yep
  • Distance: Yep
  • Zones: nope
  • Personal best calculation:nope
  • Zone calculation: nope
Score: 8: It's a stretch to say this is any kind of analysis tool, but I'm being fair in standard with the other reviews, and there is a time variable chart for total duration and distance, so it gets the points. 


Activity Detail display (10)
  • Time analysis –  No, it actually says "Detailed workout analysis is unavailable" and asks me to download an app for iPhone or Android.
  • Maps - nope, same issue.
  • Overlays – nope, same issue.
Score: 1: Disappointing. The point I gave is for *having* a detail view, though there is nothing on it.

Coaching features: (15)
  • Follow athletes – I clicked on 'Find Friends' which brought me to a search function, where I put in my friends name (in this case myself under a different logon) and was able to send a request. I got the said request via email, which is good because I couldn't find where to approve requests from within the site without it! It brought me to my 'Activity Feed', which presented me with the same spinning gif that never went away. I waited 10 minutes (about 9:59 too long, in other words) and it was still there, so I gave up. I try all this without a firewall, and magically everything started working. Unreal.
  • Provide feedback– Yes, but only with no firewall. Disappointing.
  • Scheduling tie in:  I can't affect any of my friends schedules, nor they mine.
Score:5 :  It's worse than it not being there at all when I find features that don't work. Why I find things that don't work behind the firewall but do on the other side is beyond me. The notion to even try it that was isn't something normally in my test packet, and I'm not sure why it occurred to me.

Device Store Connectivity (15)
  • Garmin - Yep
  • Suunto - Yep
  • Strava –nope

Score:10 - Another rare Suunto sighting! Lots of platforms to connect to, conspicuously missing is Strava. 


Import (10)
  •  Manual entry - Yep, with intervals
  • .fit –yep
  •  tcx – yep
Score: 10- Finally, something that works. Oddly, all the detail is preserved in a file upload (you can tell because it exports with the same detail), but it isn't available in the site. On a pure technical basis though, it *does* upload.

Help (5):
  • Well written: Most of the features are documented, however without images or whatnot. I found it interesting that there is a 'known issues' section, where half-assery abounds, for instance: "There are a few issues with Suunto integration at this time, namely that imported workouts appear as bike rides or activities other than the original activity type. This will be addressed with a site update as soon as we are able."
  • Clear term definition: They don't *use* terms like load, zone, and the like, so it's hard to miss definitions for them. 
Score:5 : It's there, and I can't find a fair reason to deduct any points. Half assery isn't deductible in this section.

Extra features (bonus, 2 points each)
  • Email reminders – workouts: yep
  • Email reminders – equipment : yep
  • Workout text messages – nope
  • Sync with online calendars : not that I could find.
  • Allow messages with other athletes: supposedly, but it mostly only worked for me without a firewall, only saw it work once with a firewall. 1 point.
  • Allow tracking of consumables –yep
  • Metric\imperial conversions\Time zone\Clock\Calendar: Yep.
Score:9