It's not often - for me anyway - to be quite so fundamentally affected by an app as I have been with Strava.
Whereas the majority of apps available today aim to increase your productivity, give you a hit of dopamine through gamification, or aid you in getting from point A to B, it's the species of fitness apps that are actually capable of changing one's behaviour.
Don't get me wrong, I'm aware that Angry Birds can change someone's normally sociable behaviour into an introverted need-to-kill-that-last-pig-at-all-costs behaviour, I'm talking about the ability to change someone's physical and mental wellbeing through the gamification (and subsequent addiction) of physical exercise.
For those who aren't familiar with Strava, it's an iOS app aimed at runners and cyclists. Using GPS to track your exercise routes, Strava then matches 'segments' from your route and measures them in terms of speed, time and other pertinent factors. The secret sauce however is its sharing of those segments across the entire Strava user base. Athletes are ranked on their segments based on their efforts with friends and strangers alike, which gives the app a massively competitive angle.
- been using since XXX
Times to work prove that my fitness level has improved over time
Segments make me want to better myself
Knowledge that I'm improving spurs me to more exercise
Addiction sets in
Negative side: No ride is a relaxing ride
Colleagues who bike to/from work and feel no need to track it
I track it to use as a distance and fitness diary
Have yet to go premium
Make it better (as per Mark Perkins) and factor in weather information for that day. Headwind makes a marked difference (power laws) and without tagging it you'd want that data point in a year's time to tell you why one ride was so much slower than the next
Make it better by allowing comparison tables with who you're following for segments/routes
Design already is top notch - all done in house
November 14th, 2014