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SBD/January 28, 2014/Media
App Review: X Games For iPhone Goes Big With Features, But Usability Needs Improving
Published January 28, 2014
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TRIPLE CORKS: One of the coolest features of the X Games app is Real Snow, a bracket-style fan voting competition featuring eight top snowboarders demonstrating their skills in urban settings. Each snowboarder has a professionally edited video and fans vote for their favorites round by round. Unfortunately, this feature was pulled from the app due to vote tampering, and according to an ESPN article, the $10,000 that was to be awarded for most votes will be split evenly across the eight participants. Bummer. Meanwhile, top scoring runs for each ranked athlete are available to watch in the Results section. This is a cool add-on and a quick way to catch individual highlights. In-app video is sharable via Facebook and Twitter. Facebook requires an additional login, but it is simple to post and the app passes good images into the social networking site. Twitter integration happens automatically but does not offer a great pre-populated post. No hashtags, just a video title and a thumbnail image.
BAILS: While the homescreen did contain good content, there were only three featured videos at a time. I felt there could have been more available here, and at times, these featured videos had invalid URL error messages when tapped. This was not a great first impression for video seekers, but video elsewhere in the app worked fine. The Pulse section -- also within the homescreen -- contained news articles with text that rendered fine on the iPhone. But accompanying images were too large to view, making the experience sloppy. Available content was sparse here as well, with only five news items in feed. To play or share video, users have to tap on very small icons. It took more than a few taps to get these to work. But once the video populated, things worked just fine. Finally, during live events, in-app scores were slow to update, taking about 20 minutes on average to register after each run.
BOTTOM LINE: Great extreme action footage and good social tools make this app a nice companion for X Games fans. Video feeds, timeliness of score updates and sharing features could use some attention, as I fumbled with each during the review period. Missing from the app entirely are transactional touch points. If X Games gear and equipment were available within the app, I would have taken a look. This is an app with promise, but more video and a few usability upgrades are on my wishlist for this app for the Summer X Games in Austin.
Amie Sheridan (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a freelance writer in Philadelphia.
See Sheridan's previous App Review submissions for THE DAILY:
- Bleacher Report Team Stream Engages The User With News, Social
- Golf Channel For iPhone Offers Basic, Text-Heavy Content
- The Year's Best From The Four Major Pro Leagues
- Yahoo Sports For iPhone Goes All-In On Scores And Stats, With No Video
- Big Ten Network's BTN2Go Brings Lots Of Video, But Also Lots Of Ads