When the Users' Priorities are Eclipsed by the Brand's – Why I'm Leaving RunKeeper [Updated x2]

Update 2 (9/27): RunKeeper's updates this week reversed course on this, sharing is no longer an extra tap if you always bypass it! It sounds so dumb, but it is genuinely appreciated


458 activities. 851 miles. So much beautiful data... it is all as good as gone. Let me back up a few steps. I really enjoy data. I have tracked every mile, minute spent in my car, and thousandth of a gallon of gas put into my car, all because I love data. I have used RunKeeper for years to do the same with my walking. In fact, I have been a member since 1969 according to their records, who am I to argue that? 


Alright, that might be a bug, just possibly, but why am I throwing this data away?

Simply put, my priorities as a RunKeeper user have been eclipsed by the priorities of the company. Now, admittedly, I'm not a very valuable user to them because they do offer so much at the free tier, but I still believe that the user should matter. None of my complaints would be remedied by becoming a paid member, so that option is out.

For many months I have been hoping to gain a feature where "recently used" contacts appearing at the top of the list when tagging people in an activity (not social media, just including them so their RunKeeper stats reflect the activity recorded by my phone).  I contacted them about it after several months of frustration and received a "we'll see what we can do." Sadly no progress as of yet.

Tagging my wife by searching for her name is an annoyance, but nothing more.

However, a recent update added a "feature" that prompts the user for social media sharing on every single event. This is even present despite the fact that I have no social networks connected to the app. I am not the only one who is unhappy about the update, there are several feature requests with many up-votes and comments on each here, here, and here.

If the user has connected social media accounts, this might make sense, but only if there is a "never show this again" option. With no accounts connected this isn't only annoying, it is highly illogical. It sends the message that RunKeeper will do anything to get you to post the spammy "I just completed a walk!" messages to your feed. 

I went poking around the settings menu hoping to find an option to disable this, there isn't one. What I did find, though, are 2 prompts to rate the app – one at the top of the settings menu and one at the bottom. Again, they are putting their own needs ahead of the user.

To be perfectly clear, every app should have a link to leave a review, and I prefer this over the popup prompt that inspired Gruber's rants, but their implementation is annoying.

It isn't the end of the world, and I understand that complaining about a free app and free service is rather petty on my part. These frustrations have inspired me to begin shopping around for alternatives. Nike+, MapMyWalk, and others are on my radar, but I certainly welcome feedback and recommendations. I am happy to spend money, though I'd prefer to buy an app than to pay a monthly fee.

I hope RunKeeper changes their mind. Their brand is nearly ubiquitous so the self-centered behavior of the app seems senseless. I have enjoyed the rich feature set and general interaction with the app to this point; though not perfect it more than met my needs.

Update: I don't like the step backward in the user experience, but it has become clear why they can get away with it - there isn't anything better right now. Nike is focused solely on running. Map My Walk has a clunky UI, multiple prompts to upgrade, needless push notifications, and ad banners. There are others, but none seem to be able to dethrone RunKeeper. So for now, the solution is to suck it up. 

Subjective-C: Studying Beautiful Design

Thanks to ProductHunt.co I've been made aware of a site that embodies the passion for incredible design. Subjective-C, a wonderful word play on the software language that iOS apps are written in -- Objective-C, is a site that finds little details of apps where the designers spent a tremendous amount of time to perfect a small detail.

These types of details enhance the user experience, though many people will never even explicitly notice them. The site is new, but hopefully will grow quickly. There are many apps that deserve the recognition and designers/developers that deserve the recognition for the time and passion they spent sweating the details.

I highly recommend taking a look at Subjective-C by Sam Page.

Shame on You, Microsoft; Outlook for iPad is a Mess

I'm a slave to Outlook and OWA for work, no way around it. I use the native iOS email app on my (work-issued) iPhone. On my personal iPad, which is rarely used for work, I use the official Microsoft OWA (Outlook Web Access) app. I launch the app 0-4 times per day, usually 1 or 2. Approximately 10-25% of app launches result in this update state where I cannot do anything, I must wait (look at the banner along the bottom):


So I wait. Usually about 60-90 seconds. When it finishes? You guessed it, the good ol' fashion Windows-style reboot.


It is a shame. The app is fairly well designed, though there are some glaring usability flaws. This isn't new, and this isn't temporary. I've used this app since October 2013, here we are 6 months later with no fix or update.

If you're at Microsoft, you've got to ask who is signing off on this quality of work.

WhatsApp: Pay-For-Content is Alive and Well

Apple has made a strong business on trusting that consumers are willing to pay good money for great products. This WhatsApp deal demonstrates the exact same thing. People are willing to spend what they consider to be a fair amount of money for a great product with a great user experience. Obviously some people don't call Apple's prices "fair," but that's a topic for another time.

This $19B WhatsApp deal makes me extremely happy (and I don't use WhatsApp or Facebook) if only for the reason of demonstrating that a customer experience focused product still has tremendous value. We don't need free products with ad support to make the world spin.

LogMeIn Reaches out to Ignition App Users

Cheers to the folks at LogMeIn for taking care of existing customers. Several people, myself included, purchased the Ignition app for $20 (before they had a free app and a $99 app, there was a single $20 iOS app), and these people will retain full control via their mobile app whether or not they ever upgrade to the Pro tier of service.

We hope as a LogMeIn Ignition customer you are enjoying your complimentary 6-month subscription of LogMeIn Pro. We’re reaching out to help clear up any confusion surrounding the recently announced change to LogMeIn Free and clarify what the changes mean for Ignition app users.

Specifically, we want you to know that mobile access to your computers has not been impacted by this change, and will remain available even after the expiration of your complimentary LogMeIn Pro subscription.

You can continue to remotely access your computers, as you have, from your mobile device with full access to the premium functionality in your LogMeIn Ignition app, whether or not you ultimately upgrade to LogMeIn Pro.

The news is good, and most welcome, but I'm undecided on whether it is enough to keep me as a customer. While mobile access via the app accounted for 90%+ of my usage, there are times it is nice to use the web browser interface. Truth be told, I already uninstalled LogMeIn from all of my computers, but I wasn't thrilled about that. The TeamViewer interface and apps just aren't as good.

Either way, I give my thanks and respect for the folks at LogMeIn making the customer-centric decision that they've made.