Sportacular - Feedback, Ideas, Trash talk, etc

Discussion in 'iPhone and iPod touch Apps' started by flash80, Sep 16, 2009.

  1. macrumors newbie

    flash80

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Location:
    SF, CA
    #1
    Hey everyone -

    I'm one of the guys at Citizen Sports working on Sportacular (plus Sportacular Pro and Fantasy Football 2009 by Citizen Sports). I want to reach out to the sports fans around here for feedback, suggestions, bugs, etc. As some of you know, we're one of the few developers doing custom push notifications around sports (and free) but we're always looking to improve the app. For those of you who want to build the best sports app ever but want someone else to do the work, we're your guys, just tell us what to do!

    Some stuff we think we know:

    - Sportacular isn't perfect. Far from it, actually. We still have a long way to go.

    - For the most part, our styling looks like crap. Every time we work on an update we toy with the idea of making it look much cleaner, but new features keep taking priority. An update is pending with much better game page styling and stats for College Football and NFL btw. Most areas still look pretty lame.

    - We need to add more sports, like NASCAR, tennis, Champions League, college hockey, college baseball, MMA, etc. Anyone working in the sports space can tell you what a pain it can working with stats providers and their feeds, but we're working on all of this stuff.

    - Customizing the alerts settings would be cool. Allowing different tones for when your team scores, or for wins, or for other things would be sweet, but it's hard to justify the work over other stuff like red zone alerts or major fantasy injuries. That being said, I can't wait to hear "Hail to the Victors" after a Michigan touchdown at some point this season.

    - Data needs to update faster! You might not believe it, but we're getting the fastest feeds we can. We'll keep on trying to improve the speed and feel free to let me know if you see anything horribly slow.

    - There are some bugs, like the news page not loading on the first attempt right now, which are annoying and unacceptable. We've fixed most them in this next update, but come on, we can't have that crap and expect to compete with ESPN. So please let me know if and when you find bugs and we'll knock em out asap.

    - We should have streaming video. Man, it would be unreal if this were possible, but until we have the deep pockets of DirecTV or ESPN, the chances of the leagues giving us the rights are very slim. Sucks.


    What else should we be thinking about and working on? We're in the tough position of competing against ESPN, Yahoo, Fox, CBS, NBC, Sports Illustrated and other big boys, but I can promise you that we're working harder and trying to improve faster than any of them. I would love to hear feedback - good or bad - on what we can do better.

    Last thing... THANK YOU to everyone who has given us a shot. Frankly, if I just bought my first iPhone, I would download ESPN's app first and probably never even know about Sportacular. The only reason we've been moderately successful is because people like you spread the word. We have the highest rating of any scores app out there, so thanks for your support. For those tried Sportacular and weren't happy with it, let me know what we can do to earn the right for a second chance. We'll try to return the favor by improving the app as fast as possible until you all think it's perfect. I'll try to keep this thread updated with screenshots of pending releases to get some feedback.

    Thanks,
    Brian

    My twitter: @meadball
    Sportacular: @Sportacular
     
  2. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Location:
    Richmond, VA
    #2
    Great job. I love the app and would never give it up for ESPN's. Not even close last time I checked their's out.

    One thing I would like, granted I have no idea how hard this would be to add, is a play by play type thing on each games page. Especially for football games where you would have a details of the last few plays so when I get a push notification thats says my team scored I can open it up and see exactly who caught the pass or carried the ball and how many yards.

    It would also be sweet if you guys could basically combine Sportacular and your fantasy football app and even sweeter if you were able to add the ability to manage your roster, add/drop players, etc. for yahoo fantasy leagues.

    But overall your app is awesome and I use it just about as much as any app I keep on my phone and some of the updates you mentioned sound great. Keep up the great work.
     
  3. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2009
    #3
    First off, I love Sportacular.

    One bug I noticed this last Sunday was that I kept getting push notifications like 10 times in a row of the same thing right after the game was over. I only have it set to send push notifications of only one NFL team, Dallas.
     
  4. macrumors 6502

    amann76

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2009
    Location:
    MacWorld USA
    #4
    I just purchased your app. Some things i would like to see in a future update would be betting lines for the college sports and also an option to turn to the odds on or off permanently. I may have more suggestions once i play around with it more. Also the college games need to be extended past top 25 action.
     
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2008
    #5
    I love Sportacular! Keep doing what you're doing, those other apps don't hold a candle.
     
  6. macrumors 68040

    tobefirst

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #6
    I would love to see scoring information in the push notifications, if possible. Who scored, who assisted or drove them in, etc.
     
  7. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2007
    #7
    I'd like push notifications to work. I was waiting for a notification for the Devils (NHL) all night (as I was keeping track of the game from my computer) and never got a notification. I set the notification for game start, score change, period change, and game end. After 4 total goals, and overtime, and a shootout, I had a total of 0 notifications :(.
     
  8. macrumors 68040

    tobefirst

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #8
    I have mine setup for the Blues, and didn't receive any updates for their first preseason game either. I just dismissed it as being because it wasn't an in-season game, but you could be right as well.

    One other thought for features: it might be nice to set different rules based on whether the game is a home game or away game.
     
  9. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    #9
    i dont think preason counts this happen during the Preason with the NFL wich i could care less who wins in preason or not.
     
  10. thread starter macrumors newbie

    flash80

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Location:
    SF, CA
    #10
    Good call. The college football pages are severely lacking this, but they'll be fixed in the upcoming release. We'll have full player stats for both teams and play by play shortly. This really should have been in here before the season, but fantasy football took longer than expected.

    Agreed... one app is better than two, right? I think you'll enjoy this next release. :)

    We won't have the ability to manage your leagues from other providers though, but you can still manually enter your roster for alerts and live scoring. Servicing other providers was something we considered but decided not to do because it's a ton of work, we knew all of the major providers were building their own, plus you're basically scraping from their site so if they make changes, you break (as y! fan can attest to). It's probably too late to work on it now, but it's something we'll consider in for future fantasy seasons since it would be great to have. I'm in nine different leagues, two of which are on yahoo, so it would be great to not have to go to their app all the time. I just manually enter my roster data into our app for the player news alerts and then open theirs if I need to make moves. It's kinda a pain the ass, but it does the job.

    Thanks for the feedback. As a user myself, damn that was annoying. Sorry about that... I hope you had your sound off!

    That was a bug in our alert detection where we weren't handling the data feeds well when our stats provider sent over crappy data (not blaming them, crappy data happens and we need to be prepared for it). Basically they were sending feeds that kept resetting the game so the alerts kept firing off. The bug was fixed by Sunday night so let me know if you ever see that again.

    You can access college football lines by clicking on the individual games, but we don't have a toggle for the full schedule mode yet. We need to restyle that page because the odds toggle won't fit as it's set up now. This is a request I've heard a number of times, so we might bump this up in the priority queue for a future release (won't be in the pending release though... sorry about that). A permanent on/off for odds is a great idea, something we can probably add to the app settings.

    You should be able to go to any conference by clicking on the button where it says "Top 25" on the NCAAF scores page. Let me know if it's not working for you. Oh yeah, and if you're looking for an "All D-1 Teams" filter, it's at the very bottom of the list.

    Agreed, this would be money. In all honestly, it's a bit of a tough call for us because you would never have to open the app to see our beautiful banner ads! Maybe we should add it as a feature in the Pro version? I'm not really sure, but we'll definitely add it somewhere. We'll probably just add it to both versions since we don't want to hold back anything cool for our users. Pro folks may get it first or something, we'll see.

    Argh, sorry about that. As a few other people guessed, alerts are only set up for regular season games but we don't make that clear at all in the app. I realize now that a bunch of people must just assume they are broken. That sucks. Hmm... maybe we'll try to support them sooner than planned.
     
  11. Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #11
    It's an awesome app. Keep up the great work. I've tried all the top sports apps out there, and Sportacular is the best. I only put the best apps on my iPhone.
     
  12. Guest

    Surely

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #12
    It's an awesome app. It's my primary sports scores app..... and it's on my first page- that's prime real estate :D

    My complaint still deals with the push notifications. I've had them off for a while because of the whole getting-the-final-score-update-12-hours-later thing that was going on. I decided to turn notifications back on last night to prepare for the pre-season Leafs game tonight. This morning, I received a final score update to last night's Blue Jays game.

    I didn't get any of the Leafs updates, but I looked and saw that push notifications are not set up for preseason NHL games.

    Keep up the good work. All in all, it's an awesome app. I just wish push worked properly. The pros definitely outweigh the cons.
     
  13. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    #13
    Notifications have worked great for me. I always get them withing a minute of the score change (or end of the game). The only issue I have had with notifications is sometimes I get multiple ones. It seems as though this has been fixed. I will see this weekend.

    The only thing I wish was added to notifications is a description of how the scored happened. This would be nice especially for football (and perhaps even baseball).

    Other than that, my only complain would be the UI. It is not very polished. Hopefully some effort can be put into that some day as I am sure ESPN is planning on releasing their app with notifications in the near future.
     
  14. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2007
    #14
    Makes sense, thanks for clarifying.
     
  15. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Location:
    Northern Virginia, USA
    #15
    I use Sportacular and have for close to a year now. I tried ESPN and the others but Sportacular is simply the cleanest and best. Alerts have worked perfectly for me and are usually very timely. I can be watching a ballgame, see it end and sometimes less than 2 minutes later have the alert on my phone.

    One thing I would say is don't fall into the 'let's make it pretty' trap. An attraction for Sportacular is that its simple and uncluttered. Absolutely it could look way better than it does now and you should put an effort in towards that, but don't make it look good at the expense of usability. I want the information first, presentation is second.

    One thing I'd like to see is a filter for that day's games. Let me choose whether I want to see only games that have gone Final, In-Progress, or both.

    I think the button for the main menu needs to be larger as well. And landscape support would be nice.

    Other than that, keep up the great work. I realize you're up against some powerhouses, but Sportacular is doing a GREAT job.
     
  16. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2009
    #16
    First off sportacular is my favorite app by far and my suggestions are only minor.
    1. The news stories do not load on the first attempt. I have to select, press done and reselect it to read a story.
    2. I agree push notifications would be better with more detail.
    3. It would be nice if the stats for both teams were on a single page so there is no need to switch between them.

    I don't like your fantasy football app as much as sportacular for these reasons.
    1) I think the ultimate FF app would allow you to download and manage your teams from all the major sites, yahoo, cbs and espn. Not sure if this is possible. I know the yahoo app is horrible and buggy so it would be nice to have one that worked and updated correctly
    2) the push notifications are annoying as they are sent out multiple times. The player news never sends me an alert as well.
    3) The live stats are tedious to look at as it does not display all of the players at once. It would be nice if there was a way to input the scoring rules from your league so the stats could just give you the fantasy points.
    As of now I find the live stats useless because it takes to long to look at.
    The yahoo app is a good example of how it should be. However, I think that they should also list the actual stats below the players name.
     
  17. thread starter macrumors newbie

    flash80

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Location:
    SF, CA
    #17
    Thanks for the feedback and support. You bring up a good point about trying to make it pretty. We're planning to keep the functionality and layout the same since it's what people have come to expect, but things like the colors on the scores page (which indicate Final, In-Progress) could use some cleaning up. Before we make any full UI changes, I'll post something here and would love to get your thoughts.
     
  18. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2007
    #18
    I think speed should be one of the main things to be improved. I used to have Verizon and the ESPN mvp app that had realtime scores. It was pretty nifty to be able to have a little scoreboard on your phone and watch the clock tick down second-by-second. I actually tested it out by watching a basketball game on tv, and about 1 second after the score would change on tv, the score would change on the phone. I know you've said that you are using the fastest feeds that you can get right now, but if there's any possible way to improve the scoring updates it would be great.

    Also, like others have stated, play-by-play would be a nice addition.

    I do love the push notifications, and all of the different options that you have for updates with them. The only thing I can think of that would make the notifications any better, is being able to change the tone for specific teams that you are tracking.

    I purchased the pro version so I wouldn't have to look at banner ads all day and while the UI can be a little bland I think the app is great. Like I said, the #1 thing of importance to me in a sports app, is accuracy and speed.
     
  19. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    #19
    I think they can improve the UI a lot without major changes to the layout. Mainly, the colors and icons are not that great. They really don't fit well into a iPhone app. Also things like the "Pre-Game Odds" toggle switch is pretty much overkill on the scores page since the user most likely either wants it off or on all the time (it should just be moved to the settings). Also, things like the settings icon for each game could be removed. Make it a double tap and put the icon in the game details page. It could also support a swipe that would bring up buttons for voting or setting game alerts. Then the scores screen wouldn't be cluttered with that same icon being duplicated 10-15 times on the screen.

    Also, the sports filter is inconsistent when using the menus if you have selected "My favorite teams". Anything but the scores page will actually switch you back to the last sport you had selected. This isn't very obvious at first.
     
  20. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    #20
    I love the app; paid for it, absolutely happy.

    There were some bugs this last weekend... as much as I would have
    loved for it to have been true, the chargers didn't score 5 touchdowns
    withing 2 minutes ;)

    I hope you can eventually add F1 and Indycar to the app; I follow
    racing as well and getting an alert of lead changes, incidents,
    qualifying, etc would be AMAZING.


    I also hope you can add a feature where I can get only my teams'
    news, not the whole league. Maybe even a feature where based on schedule, I get the news of the San Diego Chargers AND whatever opponent they're going up against that particular weekend.

    Keep up the good work, I love the app.
     
  21. macrumors demi-goddess

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Location:
    Little Rock, AR
    #21
    I like the app overall & did pay for the Pro version. Along with the multiple notifications this past weekend another thing my husband & I both noticed was that around halftime of the early games, the scores page stopped updating & was 30 - 45 real-time minutes behind. The notifications had the correct score & time but the scores page was way behind.
     
  22. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2009
    #22
    Great App, but I still can't seem to get any push notifications. Everything is set up properly and I've received push notifications from other apps, but just not this one. I do have alerts, badges and sounds on - do I need to turn off badges?

    Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!
    Jeff
     
  23. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2009
    #23
    Well nevermind. Seems as though an uninstall and reinstall did the trick.

    Jeff
     
  24. macrumors 6502

    amann76

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2009
    Location:
    MacWorld USA
    #24
    My push notifications seems to be working fine for the G Tech Miami game tonight the only complaint i have is do i really need a notification after a touchdown and an extra point. One combined notification would seem to be enough.

    Still a great app way ahead of the cbs sportsline app.
     
  25. thread starter macrumors newbie

    flash80

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Location:
    SF, CA
    #25
    Lots of great feedback here... thanks everyone for taking the time.

    Funny you bring this up. We had a big debate over this in the office and decided to go with sending two alerts, simply because we want to deliver the information to you as fast as possible. Waiting to see the outcome of the extra point (or 2-point conversion) can take over a minute and we thought people would rather know the team scored right away. Thoughts?
     

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