Nov 06, 2013

October Updates

You might have noticed we didn't announce any major feature updates in the last month. That doesn't mean we haven't been busy.

We've rolled out a lot of small updates and enhancements we want to tell you about. We're also going to use this opportunity to talk about our product development philosophy. Curious? Read on.

Smart distance markers in charts

Early in October we added smart distance markers on maps. This is a really nice feature for long workouts when lots of markers clutter up the view of the route but you still want them at high-zoom.

As soon as we released this I immediately said "This is soooo cool, I want this on charts too!!" A few days later the team delivered and we added it to the website. Below is a screenshot of a 100km ride showing the markers on charts every 5 miles.

Map and chart marker selection

In mid-October we enhanced both the map and chart with clickable markers. Click any distance marker, lap or hill to select and show data for the segment. Using the marker hover rollover, you can quickly compare two segments. Below I've zoomed in on a section of the 100km ride, selected the mile #26 marker, and hover over the mile #32 marker.

Zoom map to segment selection

Once we allowed segment selection it made a lot of sense to zoom the map to the selected segment. Especially on long workouts, this gives you a better view of that section. I can't really show this in an image, you're going to have to play with it interactively. (here is a workout. go play.)

Range selection in chart

The final feature we added just before the end of October allows you to analyze any arbitrary segment of data along your workout. Click the chart and start dragging to create a segment. You'll see the data flag show the metrics while you're dragging, and the map continuously zooms to the selected range. (this is another go play scenario. so go play)

Wow guys, that's a lot of features!

None of the features above were big enough to justify separate blog posts. But taken together (along with the marker enhancements in September and zoom + smoothing in August) the fitness analysis powers are stackin up.

The release calendar of these features (Aug… Sept… Oct) perfectly illustrates our development process:

  1. Break an ambitious and amazing feature into pieces that can be finished in a week or two
  2. Make sure the pieces are useful features on their own
  3. When the features are done, don't wait for a "release" - get them to the users immediately
  4. Continuously build on and combine the features to create new features

We've got an acronym in the office which roughly translates to "ship awesome features fast" (the actual acronym is much more inspirational, involves profanity, and can't really be printed here)

So… this is our take on agile development. We don't build massive teams that go into hiding to work on complex, year+ releases. Instead, we talk to athletes and users every day, and constantly deliver features.

What does this mean to me?

A few things.

First: We're not done. Not nearly.

We have long term improvements sketched out for nearly every page in the website – the dashboard, calendar, workout list, gear, health, and analysis – all these will continue to become even more useful. As an example the next logical step for workout segments is to support detailed analysis breakouts for zones. That work started last week. Segment comparison? That's on the short list too.

Second: Come back. Often!

We push features out to the website almost every week. Don't be surprised when you come back and find some new option or button to play with. To use a restaurant analogy – we're not going to suddenly change from serving pizza to Asian cuisine, but we are constantly adding new dishes to the menu. Tasty!

Third: You're part of this.

We strive to make time to communicate where we are at, where we are going, and what is important to you. Feature priorities are directly driven by user demand. Looking for something? Let us know.

Think something sucks? Let us know. Think something is awesome? We want to hear that too. Or just send us some Red Bull.