The App Clinic: Personal Fitness Tracking

Uploaded by androiddevelopers on 16.11.2012


RETO MEIER: Hi, there.
My name is Reto Meier, and I'm usually joined on the App
Clinic by Ian Ni-Lewis.
But the preparation for this week's show required us to do
some intense physical exercise in order to properly test
personal fitness apps Endomondo,
runtastic, and RunKeeper.
We chose to test these apps hiking.
Now, back in Australia, we call hiking "walking," but
folks in California seem to be more inclined to drive if
they're going anywhere further than the nearest car park.
But in any case, the last time I saw Ian was deep in the
backwoods of the Big Basin National Park.
Anyway, find out what features and technical tips and tricks
it takes to make a killer personal fitness app today--
on "The App Clinic."
So one of the big benefits of living in the Bay Area is that
there's really a limitless supply of hiking trails all
within a really short drive.
Now, being a certified practicing geek, the only
thing more fun than hiking through the wilderness is
tracking my route while doing so.
So all three of today's apps will let me do that, and a few
other things as well.
So all three of today's apps support a standard set of
functionality, which is what I've put up here.
Now, they're all designed to allow you to track a workout.
And in this case, they're optimized for something
running related, basically any exercise which can be measured
through a combination of the distance you've traveled and
the amount of time it's taken.
Now, accordingly, they measure the duration of your workout
and the distance traveled and use that to work out things
like your pace, average speed, calories burned, water
consumed, all those sorts of things.
And they also use the GPS information that they track
throughout your workout to display your route on a map.
And each of the apps shows a slightly different set of
details on the map and, in fact, in
terms of your workout.
And I'll go through each of those as we look at the apps
in a little more detail.
They each also allow you to select the activity that
you're doing and choose from a selection of different
workouts, so that could be running, jogging, rowing,
cycling, push-ups, whatever you like.
And there's different styles of workouts as well.
So it could be a one-off, a time trial versus your
friends, any number of different workout styles.
And again, I'll show you what some of these apps have to
offer as we go through them in detail.
So taking these features as a baseline, as a given, this is
basically what your personal fitness tracking app needs to
have in order to be in the game.
Let's take a look at some of the features that can really
help differentiate those apps from their competitors.
So this is my wish list of things that I'd like to see in
personal fitness apps.
So there's a bunch of stuff on this list that's totally in
the nice-to-have territory.
So things like a rich tablet experience and analytics are
the sort of that can really lift an app well beyond its
competitors, well beyond sort of what you would expect from
an app, which is really going to help you win over fans, win
over users, which are going to be coming back to your app and
really become addicted to it.
But let's face it, these features are the sorts of
things which people aren't going to notice straightaway.
They're going to require a certain amount of discovery.
Now, why is that important?
Well, as it happens, I was hiking in Rancho San Antonio a
couple of weeks ago when my wife asked me if there was a
way that we could track how far we were going and how long
we would be hiking for.
And I thought, you know what?
There's probably some apps to help with that.
So I jumped straight on to our suggestions on the Trello
board and installed the first three apps that were there,
and that is, in fact, the three apps which
we're looking at today.
Now, the factors that I used to decide which app we were
going to actually keep running was how quickly it let me get
started with the confidence that it was going to record
everything that I wanted it to.
So a quick startup and an intuitive--
dare I say--
obvious controls were really critical.
So the overall look and feel were really
important here as well.
I opened each app and literally spent 5 seconds
looking at each of them before I chose which one I was going
to go with.
So that gives you a really good idea of just how
important it is to make that great first impression.
I'm not alone in the way that I look at my apps.
People will just download them and figure, well, which of
these three am I going to use?
Eh, this one kind of looks like it's the best, so they're
going to go with it.
So in the end, for me, I ended up choosing Endomondo.
So they've got a beautiful feature page here, which has a
perfectly distinctive icon.
Now, it doesn't necessarily say too much about the app,
but it's quite clear that you're not going to mistake
that icon for anything else, anyone else's icon.
And it fits in really nice into their bigger logo as
well, so it's a really good example.
So we really got off onto the right foot here.
I looked at this and thought this looks legit.
This looks like an app that people have spent a little bit
of time and effort on.

So let's jump ahead here.
So when you open up the app, what you get is this really
well-designed home screen.
It's totally intuitive.
It leaves me with absolutely no question as to what I need
to do to get started.
There's a giant green start button that draws your
attention straightaway and is a great example of when and
how to create custom controls within your app.
The rest of the app looks pretty standard.
They've got a clean white design with a
standard action bar.
And what I really like about this design is its simplicity.
The layout isn't cluttered.
You have three pieces of information about your workout
visible at any time, along with the exercise that you're
planning to do and the workout style that you're
planning to engage in.
There's even a hint of the map poking out
along the bottom corner.
And if I switch to the giant phone, I can show you a couple
of other nice features of the app.
All right, giant phone, excellent.
I'm going to switch to the other side here, because my
cables aren't long enough.
So if I fire up Endomondo, you can see here that--
we choose not to go Pro.
I didn't install the Pro version here simply because I
didn't use the Pro version when I was using
the app on the road.
I'm going to try and unplug this and put it back in.
Hopefully, it will stop flickering.
Or it'll go away entirely, one of the two.
There we go, still flickering.

What do you think, Daniel?
Anything we can do here or just persevere?
DANIEL: Why don't you persevere for a second.
I'm going to see if--

actually, I'm going to go right over there and try to
mess with the connection really quick.
Just give me 10 seconds.
I'll talk, and I'm going to stand in front of the giant--
well, that's going to be pretty annoying, but
What you'll find--
in fact, if I jump a step back, that's going to make it
easier for us.
And if you want to just switch that off for a second.

So you can see straightaway that the
layout isn't clustered.
And what we've got here is, alongside each of the options
on the screen, you can see that there's a little
drop-down, which is in fact going to allow you-- it gives
you a hint that clicking on any of them is actually going
to do something.
It's going to let you choose you're options differently.
And this is really useful, because straightaway it gives
me hints as to how I'm going to be able to use this app in
the right way.
So straightaway, you know that the clicking on stuff is going
to give me options to change things.
And in fact, that's exactly how it works.
And so if I click on any of those options what I get
straightaway is a list of alternative things that I can
look at, so whether that be looking at calories consumed
rather than distance traveled or any of
those sorts of options.
And the same thing goes for the workout style and the
workout activity that I'm planning to do.
Right away, you're able to choose, click the drop-down
and see, oh, actually, I'm rowing.
And when I click on those, I actually get nice, big,
full-screen activities rather than pop-ups.
And this is kind of important because it makes it really
simple for me to be able to make those choices without
being overly distracted, which is really, really useful.
And that's really the way that the whole UI
design for the app works.

It's really intuitive.
It's really fast to get started,
which is a real benefit.
So I'm going to spin this around.
If we hold it real tight, it looks like it gets--
DANIEL: Yeah, I think it's the movement on the device.
RETO MEIER: Movement on the device.

DANIEL: You know, it's the issues with MHL.

So are there any Miracast OEMs out there that are producing
products which are Miracast compatible?
Get on it so we can start using Nexus 4 to do our demos.
RETO MEIER: Exactly.
All right, so that's hugely disappointing that that's
working out that way.
But nonetheless, I will continue on.
We have do have screenshots for most of it.
So the other important thing is that this-- yeah, let's
just kill that because that's just way too annoying.
So again, it's really important that you're likely
to be using this app outside in direct sunlight, when
you're in a hurry.
So you really don't want to have to read small text and
hit small touch targets.
You want everything to be as simple and
easy to use as possible.
And basically, everything in the app
goes along those lines.
It's really simple to use, really straightforward to be
able to select different elements within the
UI, which is great.

Wow, it seems that our technical difficulties have
scared off most people, which is a shame, but nonetheless.
So that's basically how everything goes, and one of
the nice touches as well that we had.
If I drop back to this screen, you'll see at the top there is
in fact a little menu item or a little action item, I should
say, which is going to allow you to start a music player.
Now, in this case, it's going to start up Google Music.
Now, one of the really nice things about this is that you
can do this in your app.
And this makes a lot of sense, because a lot of the times
when you are going to be using an app like this, it's going
to be while you're exercising.
You're going to want to listen to music.
This is pretty common.
So having a quick link to a music player is a really
useful, a really nice touch.
And you can do this by creating an intent to launch a
music player like this.
Note that it's changed slightly in Ice Cream
Sandwich, and you can see both of the options on screen here.
Then note that this doesn't specifically
launch Google Music.
The launch intent doesn't specify a
particular music player.
Any app that's capable of playing, browsing, or
manipulating music files stored on the device can
specify the category app music in its manifest and be
presented as an option when this intent is fired.
So if you're building a music player, that's something you
may want to consider when building your app.
Let's take a look at the next app that I installed, which is
RunKeeper, from FitnessKeeper.
Now, they've taken the approach of using their
feature graphic to display their app name and logo.
And that's perfectly reasonable, but it lacks the
punch of something more representative of their brand
rather than just the branding itself.

Now, the biggest roadblock for me was the five touches it
took to get from my launcher to the main screen.
Now, that's a lot of work to do to get to the point where I
can decide if I even want to use the app.
Now, when I did get to the home screen, I felt a little
like I'd walked into a time warp with old-style
tabs and a title bar.
Now, in fairness, it turns out that RunKeeper has a new beta.
So I'm going to switch to that, which hopefully I took a
screenshot of, but I apparently didn't.
Now, their new design is definitely more modern.
It's very much the same navigation
as you can see here.
But they've replaced the tabs with a
ViewPager-style tab pager.
They've got an action bar.
Now, unfortunately, it looks like a ViewPager, but it
doesn't swipe.
So that's one of the most important things that they
need to do to create that consistency, is make sure that
they can swipe between tabs.

And that's kind of the story for their entire redesign, is
that it's not really a change in the app.
It's just cosmetic.
So I would definitely suggest that they take this
opportunity to rethink some of the navigation, some of the
structure of the app, as well as just the raw cosmetics.
Because at the moment, the layout and navigation is
pretty much unchanged.
And in terms of data and functionality provided on the
main screen, it's actually pretty similar to what
Endomondo has with a couple of really important differences.
Now, before I start exercising there's no indication of what
information I'll get.
Will it be mapped?
Will it be recording the time or distance?
I really don't see any of that before I get started, and that
really makes me reluctant to get started in my exercise
knowing that I really don't know what's going to happen,
how much of what I want to be recorded is going to be.
And a lot of users are like me, and they'll install a
bunch of options all at once before jumping in and seeing
what each has to offer.
So as a result, it's important that you give potential users
as clear a picture of what you offer without them having to
do anything.
Now, they've also put a lot of emphasis on how I'm receiving
my location.
And the input type is the first thing I'm presented
with, and 99% of the time that's going to be GPS,
probably consolidated with Wi-Fi and cell ID, if that's
accurate enough.
In practice, for an app like this, you're going to want to
listen for every location update that comes through
using a patent a lot like this one, as described in the
Location Strategies API Guide section "Maintaining a current
best estimate." This is going to let you listen for updates
from every location source, after which you can determine
the most likely current position.
This is really important for apps like these, where a few
small offsets for a few small seconds can turn a 10-mile
jog, into a 100-mile odyssey.
And you know what I mean.
You've all seen someone's hilarious social media post
with a massive spike in distance where they appear to
have jogged across a river or up a mountain range thanks to
some GPS reflection error.
So don't be the punchline to a joke.
Try and sanity check all of your location results so that
your users are able to get the best possible location at any
given time.

Now, otherwise, the app works in much the same way.
You hit start, stop.
One of the strange things is once you hit stop, you get
prompted as to whether or not you want to save your results.
Now, that should be a given.
You should always save anything the user does and
give them an option to delete something rather than an
option to save it.
The other thing I noticed is that they have map pins, which
look strikingly similar to the ones in iOS, which in and of
itself isn't a problem, except that it looks a little bit
weird on an Android device to have these pins which look
like they come from a different operating system.
One good piece of news for this app, which I really
liked, is that it does send everything to a server without
you having to log in.
Now, logging in to the other apps was
actually a real hassle.
It took a lot of time and effort, having to exchange
credentials, create accounts, send email addresses, all this
sort of stuff, whereas here, it auto-syncs without me
having to do anything, which is actually
a really nice touch.
Now, while I was navigating around this app, I actually
noticed a couple of strange artifacts.
And one is the way that they are using a web view to
present a lot of their screens.
And that in and of itself is perfectly fine.
There's no problem with that.
But the implementation of the way that they've done it is
making the zoom controls become
visible at various times.
Now, you can make sure that you turn off both the built-in
zoom controls and the visibility of the on-screen
zoom, the ability to pinch zoom as well as the ability to
zoom using the controls by turning off the zoom controls.
That should be enough to make it all go away.
But if you hit both of these methods here, then that will
definitely make sure that there are no ability for the
user to zoom on a display which you've clearly designed
not to zoom.
Another strange artifact, is this modal dialog that tells
me that my GPS result is pretty crappy.
Now, I don't want to see this unless it's preventing the app
from being able to do what it needs to do.
So you really don't want to pop it up unless I've already
hit the Start button and definitely not randomly while
I'm just navigating the app.
Now, last but certainly not least, let's
take a look at runtastic.
Now, leaving the strange capitalization choices that
they've made aside, they've got a pretty good landing page
on Google Play.
Like Endomondo, they've used a feature graphic that
immediately makes you feel like you understand the
purpose of the product and the sorts of people that they're
marketing towards.
And their logo and icon is pretty good, though I would
really love to see them lose that rounded rectangle and
choose a more distinctive silhouette.
And if you kind of look at it, you can see that maybe even as
simple as removing the blue, so you've just got the running
man on the black ribbon, would look kind of awesome and
definitely distinctive.
So that's something that you guys may want to consider.
Now, once we get to the main screen, we can see that it's
actually pretty similar to Endomondo, which is great.
Clearly, there is a best practice here, which I think a
lot of these apps are going to move towards.
Straightaway, we can see what we'll be recording, and
there's a big green button to let me know to get started.
And as a bonus, runtastic also displays details like the
sunrise/sunset time, the current weather forecast,
temperature, all of which is a really nice bonus.
And in fact, those extra details are also included in
my workout data.
So I can see whether it was sunny, cloudy, hot, cold as I
did each workout, which I think is a really nice touch
and provides a little bit more context
for your daily workout.
And they've included them on screen here in a way that
isn't overly intrusive, which is always a nice touch.
So the functionality provided on the main page is really
similar, but they've made a couple of specific design
choices which I think risks users falling into the "you're
holding it wrong" trap, which is something you
always want to avoid.
So the main thing you'll notice here is that there's no
obvious indication of what your touch targets are.
And in fact, as soon as I started touching things on the
screen, I tended to get it wrong.
So I'd hit each of the different--
like duration time things to try and get pace or calories
or anything like that and nothing happened.
And so it's not until you try to hit the smallest touch
target on the entire UI, the tiny cog in the middle, that
you get that functionality.
You hit that, and then you're able to modify them.
And again, what that does is pops up a really, really small
bar of icons, which lets you choose which of the different
settings that you want to view.
So again, it's tiny, tiny touch targets, which don't
tell you what they are.
And this could be a real problem, because I'm using
this app while I'm stretching, while I'm jogging, preparing
to start my exercise regime.
You really want to have things be big, easy to touch, and
obvious to know what you're going to touch.
And it's kind of the same thing here once you get down
to the workout type and activity type.
It's not obvious that they're buttons.
You click on them, and it pops up a dialogue
with small text in--
closely spaced, and you really want to make sure that that's
easy for people to use and easy for people to navigate.
And it's the same as the big green Go button.
It's clearly a button, but it's not
actually an Android button.
So all these things taken together really puts you in a
situation where you're having to think before
you can use the app.
You're having to figure out how do I get it to do the
things that I want it to do?
And for an app like this, where you want people to be
able to get started quickly and easily, that
can be a real problem.

So once we get going, they've again made a really
interesting choice.
And unfortunately, I can't show it to you right now.
But once you start your workout, you actually have to
unlock the screen before you're able to do anything.
And in fact, if you don't, so if you just try and hit the
Pause or Stop button on your workout, you get a toast that
pops up saying, you're doing it wrong.
You have to unlock the screen first.
Now, I didn't even notice--
excuse me.

I didn't even notice that the first time that I
went to stop a workout.
I just hit Stop, turned off the screen, and when I opened
up the app later on, I noticed that it was still going.
Now, a good tip for UX general is that if you're using a
toast to tell your users that they should have done
something else when they did what they did, you're probably
the one doing it wrong rather than them.
So it's really important to figure out how users are
actually using your app and make sure that you
optimize for that.
In this case, they've made the assumption that the most
likely thing that may happen is a user will accidentally
stop something on the screen.
Now, for most users, chances are they would just turn the
screen off when they don't want to touch anything.
So they're better off relying on the phone than having
something built into your app.

OK, so once we finish the workout, the experience is
pretty great.
From this point onwards, I probably prefer
runtastic to Endomondo.
The contextual information you get around things like
weather, relative speed, the way that they display your
speed along your track on the map is really great.
There is an option there to choose between Save and Done
once you've finished a workout which is
a little bit confusing.
As I said before, saving should already have happened.
It should just be a case of, yes I've
finished reviewing this.
Let me go back to the main screen.
Another comment I had is that their setting
screen is really complex.
Again, you're sort of in this pattern of having to really
read a lot of text to figure out how to do stuff, which is
something you should try and avoid in apps like this.
Now, the next few points apply to more than just runtastic.
So I want to make sure that the shame gets applied
broadly, and the credit where it's due as well.
But I think what we're trying to focus on here on "The App
Clinic" is ways that you can improve your app.
So we're going to try to highlight a couple of the
things which could be done perhaps a little bit better.
Now, first off, both runtastic and Endomondo have a little
surprise waiting in their overflow menu.
It is, in fact, an Exit button.
Now, those of you who know me know that my initial reaction
to seeing an Exit button is something a lot like this.
I chose not to destroy our studio room once
again to make a point.
But in fact, you can find my full thoughts on Exit buttons
in Android apps and why they shouldn't exist by watching
Table Flip on YouTube where I lay out exactly why this
anti-patent fills me with an impenetrable darkness.
But in some ways, I guess I get it.
These apps represent kind of a special case.
They should definitely keep running while they're in the
And they all do use notifications to let us know
that that's exactly what's happening.
So given that, they have two choices to figure out what the
right use case is.
Both of them involve getting rid of something called Exit.
They need to decide if they are more like turn-by-turn
navigation or if they're more like a music player.
Now, for the sake of argument, I'm going to say that they
should be more like music players, which really means
that I only want to see a notification.
I only want the app to continue to run in the
background while I'm doing the work.
So as soon as I hit Play or Start, then by all means, pop
up a notification, start an ongoing service to make sure
that the app doesn't go away.
But then as soon as I hit Stop, as soon as my workout is
finished, then I want the app to behave just
as any other app.
So hitting Home or hitting Back out of the app should
take it out of memory, should stop GPS updates, and just
basically give me my phone back as though the app was
never running.
At the moment, you have this tendency of like I just opened
the app, checked it out, and I have this icon saying or this
notification saying, hey, actually, it's still running.
And that's not a great user experience.
I don't want to have to figure out how to make it stop.
I already did make it stop by ending my workout.
While we're talking about notifications, I think there's
really a fantastic opportunity to make these notifications
even more useful.

Now, at the moment, all three of the apps have a simple
"click here to return to the app" text within the
Now, why not be a little bit more adventurous?
I'd love to see rich notifications with actions
that let me pause or end my workout directly from the
notification shade.
I'd also love to see some more details on my workout here,
things like duration, distance traveled.
Basically anything that I've selected to look at on the app
home screen, why not stick it in the notification as well?
I think that really would present a really rich
experience for your users.
And in fact, when we looked at stopwatch apps just a few
weeks ago, we saw a few examples of rich notifications
being used to great effect, where you could basically use
the entire stopwatch app without actually having to
launch the app.
The other thing missing from all three apps
was a tablet layout.
In fact, only RunKeeper even supported the option of using
the app in landscape mode.
Now, I know that these apps were originally created with
the thought of having a fitness
companion on your phone.
I'm sure no one really imagined strapping a Nexus 7
to your arm as you go jogging.
But what about using it at the gym or if
you're using it rowing?
Then suddenly, a tablet isn't quite as ridiculous an option.
Now step one is creating a great responsive design that
means that the app will work great on whatever device I
happen to be using no matter what the
orientation or screen size.
So that's where I'd start, really just make sure that I
can use the app in a way that doesn't frustrate me on a
tablet device.
Step two is creating a great tablet-specific experience.
Now, even if I'm not planning to take my Nexus 10 rowing,
I'd love to go through my workouts while I'm sitting on
my couch not working out.
Whether that's reviewing the tracks I've run, analyzing the
data, sort of doing all that stuff to figure out what is my
fitness level, all of that stuff will be fantastic to do
directly on a tablet.
And in fact, that's one of the things that
discovered when they created an optimized tablet
It turns out that tablet users are more deeply engaged and
more likely to spend time within the app.
So Mint responded by creating a richer experience,
specifically for tablet users designed around data analysis
rather than data entry.
So whereas on the Mint phone app you'd go through and
actually put in all of your purchases, keep track of your
budget, within the tablet app you would be able to go
through and see exactly where you've been spending money and
do that deep analysis.
And I think that there's really an opportunity for
these apps to do something similar to drive their user
engagement and really get people
addicted to their service.

So before we sign off, let's take a quick look at the
prescriptions that we have for each app to help them move
towards a pure Android experience.
So we'll start off with Endomondo.
So first off, kill the Exit button.
It should keep running only while
we're tracking a workout.
They've actually got kind of a bug.
So I made a note to say that they have an issue with their
navigation drop-down list on their homepage, where it
doesn't have a drop-down icon to tell you it's a list.
Now, as it happens, that doesn't seem to be the case on
all devices.
So that's just a bug to take a look at.
Similarly, the settings that you've got within the
navigation drop-down should be in the overflow menu rather
than within the main activities navigation.
No tablet view, forced portrait--
please don't ever force portrait mode.
I would like to use my tablet in landscape mode, and as soon
as you lock it to portrait, I feel like you're basically
saying you can't use this app on the
device that you're using.
And it's a 7-meg download.
I'm not entirely sure why it's a 7-meg download.
That seems like a lot for what the app is doing.
So maybe consider what you're packaging in there and how
many of those assets you need to have on the device.
In terms of runtastic pro, 10-meg download.
Why are these apps so big?
It feels like you could drop a lot of that without having to
lose a lot of the assets that you're using.
The fact that it takes five clicks to get to the beginning
of the app the first time you run it is a real turn off.
Every time I have to click the button again, I'm that much
more tempted to just hit Back, go to the Play Store, and
download something faster.
You want to update your UI a little bit.
There's some iPhone-y looking buttons, which just kind of
look out of place on Android.
And same--
Exit button--
same as Endomondo.
Please get rid of the Exit button.
The setting screen in the overall UI isn't as intuitive
as it could be.
I mean, it's a great app.
It has a lot of the features that I really want to see.
It just feels like I have to do a little bit too much work
to be able to use it.
Build with tablet mode would be fantastic.
Again, don't lock me into portrait if you don't have to.
And yeah, maybe see if you can do something about the logo.
I think you're like 90% of the way there
with something awesome.
You could just get rid of the rounded corners, and suddenly,
you've got something which would be a really distinctive
and really great Android logo.
And finally, RunKeeper.
So here, it's great to see that you guys are doing a UI
overhaul to bring in some of those new
patents like Action Bar.
I definitely think it's an opportunity for you to maybe
look a little bit more deeply into the structure of the app
and the navigation, but it's definitely heading along the
right path, so keep that up.
Do get rid of that modal dialogue for missing location.
That is just death.
And the menu button of shame, which is actually a full-blown
menu button of shame, clicking it does nothing.
So make sure that that goes away as part of your redesign.
It also takes like three or four clicks to go from opening
the app to being able to do anything.
So again, try and to speed up that first user flow from
downloading it from Google Play and running it the first
time should be as quick as possible.
So that's all for us today.
Apologies for the technical snafus, which meant we
couldn't do any of the live stuff, but I think hopefully
we were able to share most of the information that we
intended to.
Don't forget to tune in to Roman, Nick, and Adam for
"Android Design in Action" on Tuesday.
We'll all be setting their design skills loose on some of
the apps that we looked at today, hopefully.
There will be no "App Clinic" next week.
It's celebrating Turkey Day here in the US.
And we're going to be spending some time trying to find and
rescue Ian from the backwoods, hopefully with a minimum
number of his limbs sawn off with a pocket knife.
When we're back, device profile apps will
be up on the table.
We'll be looking at apps like Tasker and NFC Task Launcher.
So if you've got a device profile app that you'd like us
to take a look at, be sure to hit our Trello page at and get your votes and nominations in.
I want to quickly throw a question over to Dan and find
out if there are any questions or comments from folks on any
of the feeds which need to be responded to.
DANIEL: So we have two questions.
The first one is "What's the best way to integrate social
aspects into these types of apps?" Go ahead, and I'll ask
the second one later.
That's actually a good question and something which I
didn't touch on.
But at least two of the apps, Endomondo and runstastic, both
have deep integration with social features.
Now, they've done it a pretty good way.
And you can see that a lot of people will share their
workouts via things like Facebook and Twitter.
And likewise, Endomondo has the ability to actually cheer
your friends on or compete against them.
I think these are all really rich uses of social circles.
It's been proven, in fact, that with things like anything
goal setting, particularly things like exercise, having
people hold you accountable is a really great way of being
able to help motivate you and keep your willpower up.
So I think the key to social integration here on a
philosophical level is to find ways to help you be
accountable to your friends and create something
competitive with people, which is always a real help when it
comes to things fitness.
In terms of practical implementation details, I
think the key is really to try and make it as smooth a path
as possible.
So whatever social network you're choosing to integrate
with, you want to make sure that that sign-in flow is as
smooth as possible.
Like I said, I actually had some trouble creating an
account on Endomondo, and I want this to be as much of a
one-click process as possible.
So whether that's signing into Facebook, Twitter, G+, or
anything else which provides you with some of the
functionality you need, you really want to try and make
that process as smooth as possible.
And ideally, make sure it doesn't block.
So I want to be able to use the app with no social
features and with no account, and then see the reasons why
hooking this into my social network would be beneficial.
And then once you've done that, you want to make sure as
well you're not doing anything obnoxious.
Make sure that you always give the users an option as to
whether they want to share something on their social
network or not.
And in fact, one of the apps, I believe it was runtastic,
has a share icon, but it doesn't actually let you share
anything unless you're logged in.
And that's something you want to avoid as well.
It's great to have the social features built in directly to
those websites, if you can, just to lower the friction.
But even if I haven't chosen to sign in with Facebook, I
still want to be able to share it using any of the apps that
I have installed, which may include things like Facebook,
Twitter, or G+.
So you want to make sure that you don't limit yourself just
to those tight integrations and make sure that just
standard sharing across regular Android intent-based
sharing works as well.
And the last question that we have is "Have any of the apps
that we've reviewed on 'The App Clinic' made it to Pure
Android yet?"
RETO MEIER: So good news on that.
We have been spending some time going through the apps
which we have looked at.
And we have looked at a lot of apps over the last year.
So it's taken us a bit of time, but we have I think two
or three candidates which we're just going through now
within the team to make sure that we're all satisfied with.
And we'll hopefully have something to announce in the
week after Thanksgiving.
So not this week, but the week after, we will hopefully be
inducting the first of our apps into the Pure Android App
Clinic collection.
All right, so thank you very much for watching everyone.
That's all we've got time for today.
Join us in a couple of weeks for the next episode of "The
App Clinic." Until then, I'm Reto Meier, and this has been
"The App Clinic." Thank you for watching.