October 29, 2011

iFit Live - The Review

I have now owned the iFit Live for 5 workouts already so I figured a small review is in  order. For those just tuning in: I use it together with my NordTrack T20.0 treadmill.

The Good

I try to always start with the goog things first and for the iFit there are many.

  • The ability to do workouts that have been created by professional trainers: Awesome. As I already mentioned in one of my other posts I am really bad when it comes to setting goals. I tend to be too lazy and make it too easy for myself. A professional workout being delivered to my treadmill forces me to bite through my self-pity and just do it!
  • The maps functionality: Wow :) I mean come on, being able to design routes of events you want to participate in and so on. Really nice. 
  • Total solution: It is clear that iFit wants to profile itself as an all around solution to help you get in control of your own life. It gives you the tools to track your food and weight and all related things.
  • Facebook integration: Nothing gives me more energy than a friend who encourages your workout by being able to respond on your facebook and that reaction appearing on your treadmills display as if it were the most normal thing in the world.

The Bad

  • The issues with the treadmill turning of at random points. This is now solved by locking my wireless network into a single channel. I'm not really happy about it, as I think that the ability of the airport devices (and all other apple devices) to be able to relocate to a new wifi channel when the old one is not optimal is awesome. But I guess I'll live. Don't ask me how I figured out that this feature was the culprit, I'm not even sure myself :P (more details)
  • Getting the entire thing to work. Don't know how or what I did wrong and perhaps the above issue is related, but it took me a shitload of effort to get the entire thing working. After more than an hour in the treadmill I still had no users (I have an account with 2 users but the treadmill always showed me the main login). When it finally worked I could not find out how to add a specific workout to my program. I managed to find a page once where the workouts had the "+ Add workout" button, but after that, nothing more to e seen in my account.
    It took me a while to figure out that all it needed was a logout/login to get the workout to be displayed on my dashboard and the rest to show up. Or perhaps I did that re-login just at the right time and the site was very slow? Nevertheless this process took 3+ hours.
  • The classical music. Who's brilliant idea was this? Seriously! The first time your treadmill starts playing classical music on its own it has a bit of a "wow" feeling but after 15 times it gets REALLY annoying. Is this really the only way to convey "I'm currently loading data" to the customer?
    My GF and I usually do our workouts back to back. It turns out that the treadmill is being turned of after 5 minutes of inactivity. I don't know if this is done by the iFit module or the treadmill itself. Anyway, if it turns off like this, the only way to get it back on after that is to power-cycle. So everytime  we leave on the treadmill for each other and the other one is a bit too late, I get to hear the fancy tune again.
  • Also, the first workout I did turned out to be the wrong one. It made me do the "Get Fit #1" first while I wanted "Weight Loss #1". Seems that this can be solved by going back to the "Home" section and pressing the "My Trainer" button again on the treadmill. It then appears to re-download some data and decides that it should now use the other workout.

The Possible Improvements

  • Treat all your customers equally. What I mean by that is this: if you offer the possibility to switch between imperial and metric, be consistent and do it everywhere. Don't convert back to imperial internally because for someone who uses metric it is really annoying to see that if you enter your length as 184cm it is displayed as 182.7cm the next time. I understand that in the States it is rounded to an inch, but we use cm's and I don't like to be smaller all of a sudden. The site displays numbers in metric fine. The workout summary mail gives the impression it was added hastily afterwards (by displaying the numbers in imperial but giving you a conversion between brackets) and both the "measurements applet" and your facebook app don't even support metric. My GF would really like to use the measurement applet but we can't convert everything to inches.
    A lot of people who follow me on facebook don't have a clue on how to convert miles to km's.
    Small piece of advice from the web-developer in me: Store the numbers as they are in your database. Keep them in metric for metric users and in imperial for imperials. Just determine what unit name to add behind it when you output instead of re-caculating things. 
  • If this is my treadmill's fault then I apologize, but it seems that a lot of the encouraging voice samples ("Come on, you can do it! You are changing your body right now!") have a couple of silent seconds at the end. On my treadmill this manifests as: your music stops, the sample plays and then you get to enjoy silence from 0 to sometimes 5 seconds. Getting my energy to workout from my music this is somewhat annoying.
  • The navigation on the site is really unclear to me. My GF and I only discovered by accident that you could edit the current weight by going to the Goals page and then use the breadcrumbs to navigate "up" to the other pages. Up is quoted because it is displayed as being a navigational path, but actually it isn't.
  • Sharing maps. As was pointed out to me on the iFit facebook page it is not possible to share running routes. Since it takes a lot of time and effort to draw your own it would be nice if this was possible.
I will definitely keep using the iFit as despite the aforementioned things, but fixing these will increase my happiness level for sure.

Just my $0.02 :)

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