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SBD/September 5, 2013/Media
U.S. Open 2013 App For iPhone Hits Winners
Published September 5, 2013
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OTHER FEATURES: Among other notable features is Trendcast, a dynamic heat index displaying the top five trending topics on Twitter. With sponsors in mind, the USTA smartly includes pre-populated hashtags #AmexTennis and #USOpen in this feature. Nice touch. By noon yesterday, @RafaelNadal crept into fifth position as fans and news outlets anticipated his 7:00pm ET quarterfinals match. Coolness aside, TrendCast is a nice-to-have, not a must-see. It feels more like a social media experiment than a practical feature. For fans at the event, the final standout in this app is the interactive map of the venue. The Billie Jean King National Tennis Center can be a sprawling and crowded experience, and the USTA nails it with this feature. The map actually tells you which live matches are being played, on which courts and -- get this -- the live scorecard and serving player are included. It does not get much better than this.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: The '13 U.S. Open app’s home screen contains a timeline with tournament events, promotions and Twitter chatter. This feature feels like wasted real estate. It does not meet a practical need for fans and is more of a jumble of information. A dedicated live scores section, upcoming matches or live video are better suited for this prominent position in the app. Other features include:
* Fans can opt to receive push notifications by player. I signed up for alerts on Serena Williams and received pre-match tune-in reminders and final scores each time she played. A nice, usable bonus feature.
* USOpen.org Radio delivers a crisp listening experience within the app that remains on until paused. This is code for: listen while you work. A nice add-on for those who cannot watch.
* A bracket-style draw section outlines tournament play. This is fun for looking at the tournament in the big picture.
* Highlights, interviews and on-demand mini-series are available within the video section. Here you will find plenty of advertising.
* While not available in-app, event tickets are offered for purchase through a link to Ticketmaster. Good, but bringing these transactions into the app would be better.
BOTTOM LINE: U.S. Open '13 for iPhone is very well done. While some features provide greater value than others, each piece of the puzzle works. During my time with this app, I did not run into a single bug. No waiting for feeds to render and no trouble navigating through the sections. Where other apps stumble, this app soars. Nice work, IBM.
Amie Sheridan (email@example.com) is a writer in Philadelphia.