Sunday, March 15, 2015

Review: Sportlyzer

Site: Sportlyzer

Score: 90/100

 Summary: A lot to like in a sleek, modern package that self coached athletes should find very adequate, particularly the under-served Suunto user. Missing analysis features for coaches and a clearly written help section, but overall a strong offering that deserves consideration and will likely improve as time progresses.

Layout (25)
  • Logical Flow: The concept of the site is driven by 'clubs' and 'members', which I can describe as imagining that when you join the local LA Fitness, you're assigned a competent coach who can manage a group of athletes with this application. If you think of *yourself* as that coach and club owner, then everything is actually pretty logical. 
  • Feature Location:Again, if you're in the right head for it and think like a dual club owner\member, everything is in a logical place. Creating a plan and applying the plan to your calendar requires a few extra clicks because of the 'think like a club owner', 'now switch to member' process, but it works.
  • Feel: It took a little while to get used to it, but I started to really like it. It has a very modern and light feel, with soft color choices, rounded edges, and smart icons. The more time you spend in it, the more you get used to it. I really liked the planned vs. actual layout, even though it was only week to week. 
  • Performance\responsiveness: No issues, I was able to move fluidly throughout the site.
  • Mobile conversion: Another excellent example of how you're supposed to do things. The site collapses beautifully down to mobile devices, rendering controls in a sharp fashion. Very well done indeed.
  • Creating a plan: Nicely done. You create weeks of simple workouts, then schedule when those weeks begin and end on the calendar. If you want to re-use weeks it's a bit redundant as you can't copy old ones or schedule them to run on more than one start and end, but that's more of a nice to have than a requirement.
  • Creating a workout: Basic, no intervals, but you can specify sport, duration, time of day, and notes, which allows you to cram in there what you want. Very simple interface, right on top of the week scheduler, a good placement from a layout perspective.
Score: 24 :  I like the feel a lot, and I think the implementation of the planning and workout creator is clever and very extensible. Coaches will really like the layout, athletes will be just fine with it. However, the dual headedness of the club\member mentality - while functional - is a little confusing. Overall, though, this is really well done and sharp.

Analysis Tools (20)
  • Charts are time variable: Yep, organized by weeks
  • Heart Rate: yep
  • Fatigue vs. Freshness: sort of. There's a pretty cool charting\analysis tool to make customized charts, and you can plot duration vs load, of which the inverse plot would be fatigue...sort of. Hacky, yes, but sure. 
  • Duration: Yep
  • Distance: Yep
  • Zones: Yep
  • Personal best calculation:not calculated, just a section for 'tests' where you enter what benchmarks you want for whatever sport, and it displays the results you enter. Meh, 1 point.
  • Zone calculation: Yep, although a little confusing whether I'm calculating them myself or picking them up from my data. 
Score: 17: Overall, solid. The deductions are for the personal best display and the FvF hackery.

Activity Detail display (10)
  • Time analysis –  Yep
  • Maps - Yep
  • Overlays – yep
Score: 10: Up to snuff and sharp.

Coaching features: (15)
  • Follow athletes – you can examine other athlete's training logs, and keep track of who your 'friends' are to make it easy to find them. However - you can't access any of the reporting or analysis features using the non-premium version, at least not that I could figure out. To that extent, a lot of the coolness isn't available to coaches in the free version.
  • Provide feedback– yep, you can comment on other club members' activities, send emails and messages.
  • Scheduling tie inWell done, a strong feature. As I pointed out in the layout section, there's a segmentation in the app between clubs\coaches and members\athletes, but the distinction between who is coach and who isn't is broad, and you could have multiple coaches or groups of athletes, what have you. I like that sort of extensibility and while it can lead to outlandish scenarios (ie you could have 10 coaches telling you what to do!) it's more likely that users will tailor it to a smart situation than an unrealistic one.
Score:11: There's a lot there, but not having the charts and analysis presented to coaches is a big hurt. 

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

Score:10 - A rare Suunto sighting! Also supported are Withings and Polar.

Import (10)
  •  Manual entry - Yep, again, no intervals.
  • .fit –yep
  •  tcx – yep
Score: 9One off for no intervals, a common theme in these sites!

Help (5):
  • Well written: There is a smattering of popup tips around the site, but oddly, no help section.
  • Clear term definition: For heart rate zones, yes, but 'load' is referred to often with no clear definition.
Score:3 Really could be done better.

Extra features (bonus, 2 points each)
  • Email reminders – workouts: Yep
  • Email reminders – equipment : nope
  • Workout text messages – nope
  • Sync with online calendars : not though iCal format, no.
  • Allow messages with other athletes: Yes
  • Allow tracking of consumables –nope
  • Metric\imperial conversions\Time zone\Clock\Calendar: Yep.

Score:6, no minor deductions.

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