We are really pleased to finally say that Speedo Fit has now crossed the Atlantic and is available in North America. The release includes a new visual design, overhaul of the UX, some additions and improvements to existing features. This has been a long journey on lots of levels, but it represents a huge milestone for us and a significant step towards global roll out and cementing our position as the the world's largest and most active 'mobile' swim community.
Now the app is 'in the wild' the real learning and lessons start, but the entire design and build process threw up a few challenges which we thought we'd share. We've also provided some context and explanation for some of the changes and additions you'll see in the new Speedo Fit v3.0.
- Yards, Metres, Short Course and Long Course.
Running and cycling apps can rely on the device's GPS tracker to accurately measure distance. Unfortunately, swim tracking on a mobile device has to work that bit harder! You can't swim with your phone on your arm (well you can, but it's tricky! trust us, we've tried it) so to keep track of your swims you need to 'check-in' the number of lengths you've swam - in a FourSquare kind-of-check-in-way.
To make this 'manual experience' as easy and 'frictionless' as possible we've worked incredibly hard to provide the most comprehensive database of pools (see later) so the swimmer need only to know their lengths. However, North American pools can be configured as long (50m) or short course (25 yard) pools. We needed to display pools in different metrics and allow for custom pool lengths. From a UX perspective we also needed to account for someone mainly swimming short course - and therefore preferring to show their personal stats in yards, with someone mainly swimming long course and obviously the pretty common case of people switching between the two! Judging by the number of websites that help swimmers convert times and distances between the two systems hopefully many North American swimmers will appreciate our efforts to get this right (if not, let us know how we can improve it!).
In the not too distant future mass market wearable devices will be available to make auto-tracking your swim work-outs as easy as tracking your run or ride. We're working hard to help make this a reality but for now manual tracking is the best-mass-market option
(Although unconfirmed, it's seems very like the first version of the Apple Watch Sport appears to be only water-resistant - let's hope that future version are water-proof and usable in the pool).
- You say "Laps" I say "Lengths" and vice versa.
Up until this release, we've always referred to a swim from one-side of the pool to the other as a 'length'. The app usually knows the dimensions of a pool so to track a swim distance, the swimmer would need only to add the number of 'lengths' they've swam. The app would then calculate:
# of Lengths x Pool Length = Total Distance swam.
However, 'Laps' started creeping into our vocabulary. From an interface perspective 'laps' is much better - it's easier to say, it's 4 characters long rather than 7, so fits into small spaces. But it was confusing. Some thought a lap represented a swim from one end to the other and returning to the start point, others thought it was just one one side to another. So we canvassed opinion amongst our US colleagues and stuck with Stanford Uni's Pool Etiquette definition.
Length= one side of the pool to the other - irrespective if it's the length or the width of the pool :) - and banned 'lap' from our vocabulary and interface.
- Pools in North America. We've always put a lot of energy into providing the utility of finding your local swimming pool within the app - and this has always gone down well with UK, French and Chinese swimmers - so we wanted to offer the same utility for Northern Americans. Getting accurate pool data in the US with good coverage wasn't easy. We trawled and evaluated lots of sources and scoped undertaking the primary research ourselves. Fortunately we started talking to Bill Haverland from 'The Swimmer's Guide'. Bill's been researching, updating and compiling a database of global swimming pools since 1996. It's been a real labour of love on Bill's part and he's done a magnificent job. Now, with the help of 'user-generated' feedback from the site he maintains one of the most comprehensive global sources of pool data. With Bill's data, and our team complimenting with more US pools, the Speedo Fit app now has one of the most comprehensive data sources available on mobile. We look forward to continuing the relationship with Bill in the coming months. Shown below is a view of the US pools shown on Google Earth.
- Distance Goals and the 'Swimming Mile'
Speedo Fit 3.0 includes a new feature we're really excited about called 'Distance Goals'. This takes inspiration from the hugely popular running apps like Couch-5K, which we all love, as they provide more than just 'tracking' - they help us start and maintain new fitness habits. These structured plans breakdown goals into more manageable steps - interim milestones provide rewards on the way and the running apps usually have an audio coach to keep you motivated during the run. Unfortunately, we're not able to provide audio coaching during your swim (but we're working on that!) so the challenge for us was how could we help swimmers set distance goals without a device in pool?
We conducted a huge amount of research and analysis, spoke to swimmers of different abilities, professional swim coaches, club trainers, triathletes and collected our own team's personal experiences of following swim and structured fitness programs. We realised we needed to drastically simplify the instructions for swimmers to remember poolside yet still provide a motivating plan and support dry side- when they have their phones in-hand. Today, you'll find three distance goals to suit different levels. Bathtub-to-500, Miracle Mile, and 3k in 6 weeks . Each swim has a target distance and recommended maximum number of rests with the aim that you steadily increase distance and reduce rest time leading to a final swim distance. All goals start on a Monday so you set a clear intention to start, you can add swims to your calendar to help you stick with it and the plans include helpful tips and hints to keep you motivated. The goals are also forgiving in that they allow you to miss a week, but still track your progress, making it that little bit easier to keep going. We can't wait to analyse the data and hear what people think of these. Watch this space for even more developments in this area!
In the process of this we also learned that a 'Swimming Mile' is not really a mile.
1 mile = 1,609.34m or 1,760yds but what is commonly referred to as a 'Swimming Mile is actually 1,650yds or 1,500m. There are a few theories for why this is the case, the most plausible to us seems to be related to short and long course pools and 1,500m distance. If you're interested to know more the excellent SwimSwam blog tried to get to the bottom of this mystery but we liked the anomaly of the 'swimming mile' so chose this in our mid-level plan.
On the topic of definitions, we wanted to make it easy to add swim drill and work out information. We'd already seen UK and French swimmers adding time and stroke information in the notes section of the app. Adding duration and strokes was relatively simple but when we came to add drills we soon realised this was a different matter altogether! We checked with Pro and Club coaches in Europe and the US and each came up with their own list of drill names. We ended up with over 40 different names, many seemingly the same or with slight variations. We've got ideas how to add this in the future, but for this release you can record 'drill' and include your personal specifics in the free-text notes section. Let's see how this works out!
There are many more tweaks and improvements in v.3.0.
We've turned up the social-side of the app with more ways to connect, compare and share with swimming friends. Virtual 'Swim Challenges' [now called 'Map Goals'] have been reorganised and we've added many more. There's also a handy link to a fantastic collection of videos to help you improve your technique and a link to the Speedo shop - to get some new kit - to help you get fit!
If you're in France, Ireland, Canada, Mexico, United States or the UK you can download the app from the App Store here and try it for yourself. We'd love to hear what you think.
[Speedo Fit is a collaboration between Speedo International and us, AiT. Read about our unique partnership here. The North American release of Speedo Fit was an extended collaboration involving SpeedoUSA and Hello Design too ]
The new Speedo Fit App promo video by SpeedoUSA
Beautiful early 20th Century 'How To' visualisations to improve your swimming.
(via @brainpicker - more here http://goo.gl/y0USn )
We've recently released our second swim app for Pebble with an app designed to motivate you to keep to your pace whilst you swim. SwimIO's Pacer app aka "Kevin Pacey" [Geddit :)]
The beta app is the first of many mini-apps as we aim to be your personal, and virtual swim coach. The Pacer app means you stay on pace in the pool as smart vibrations to help you adjust your speed. The beta app also includes:
- Vibration alerts as you near your target time
- Summary statistics so you can improve swim after swim
- Rest time so you can repeat over multiple sets
SwimIO also got a shout out from Team Pebble (Thnks @GetPebble) in their recent blog post about San Francisco Marathon and training with a Pebble. The article also gives a $20 discount on a Pebble so if you haven't got one, grab the discount code and order one today.
Eric Migicovsky, CEO of Pebble, gave a shout out to our beta SwimIO Motion App for Pebble in the article by @sophiecharaar in Stuff Magazine. It's great article about Pebble's beginnings and future plans so check it out here. You can find out more about SwimIO on our beta programme mini-site http://www.swimiomotion.com/ If you have a Pebble and love swimming then get involved!
This weekend saw the opening of the London Aquatic Centre - the former London 2012 Olympic Pool to the public.
We were lucky to get a tour of the pool a few weeks back and it really is an 'awe inspiring' place.
The building is majestic, the pool facilities probably the best and most modern anywhere in the world and you just can't help yourself from wanting to dive in!
AiT is also proud to be associated with the opening as the London Aquatic Centre uses AiT's Timetable services. The centre's website displays the extensive swim and dive programme in AiT's interactive format with the ability to select activity, day or session.
We really think the facilities will inspire a new generation of swimmers - everyone at AiT can't wait to swim there. In fact, we've even been talking about moving our office closer to the pool.
[The Guardian has a great piece about the pool opening, check it out here]
We attended CES2014 and wrote up some notes to share with our team when we got home. We thought others might find these useful too - so here's a summary. We’re mainly interested in waterproof devices and sports and fitness so it’s written from this perspective.
This deck covers the main device types, a possible market segmentation and a brief summary of each device. We’ve also included other wearable references and inspiration we spotted at CES2014. Feel free to get in touch with any questions. [We’d also recommend the newly launched wearables database http://vandrico.com/database]
Any questions, feel free to get in touch via the contact form or @chrismoisan
Quick note to say AiT will be at CES this year with our friends from Speedo. If you want to meet up please get in touch. We'll also post a run down of the show afterwards.
We're all really excited to see the Michael Phelps Swim Challenge finally appear on the Speedo Fit app. Things have certainly come along way since Splashpath days! Accompanying the virtual challenge is a great promo video Sally at Speedo put together including an interview with Michael. Well worth checking out.
As part of our wearable devices project we've been collecting gigabytes of swimming data. This month the team were in Spain and took the opportunity to collect some more sets in the hotel's 25m (unheated) infinity pool. It was early in the morning and at the end of October - so best described as "refreshing". Here's Jude on her first of many freestyle sets - if you look carefully you can spot Dan bravely jumping in about to start his.
Dan and Ben spent two weeks in China preparing for the launch of Speedo Fit China testing our system architecture and tweaking server config to reduce latency - but naturally, taking the opportunity to get some swims in. The app, and Ben's hand at the Beijing National Aquatics Center aka The Water Cube.
It's Official. See Press Release below. We're chuffed.
LONDON, ENGLAND, ,9 May 2013
Tech-City Mobile Start-up Makes Big Splash With Speedo International Ltd Partnership
Active in Time Limited (AiT) makers of the Splashpath Swimming App for iOS have partnered with Speedo International Ltd, the global swimwear brand to launch a new mobile app for swimming fans.
Splashpath began over two years ago when Dan Morgan, a passionate swimmer became frustrated that the App Store was awash with apps for runners but ‘there wasn’t an app’ for swimmers. Dan joined forces with The Leisure Database Company, a leading authority on leisure and sports data. Together they developed Splashpath mobile app which helps people find their local pool and track their swims along with a sports operator timetable solution which enables pool operators to update and publicise their swimming timetables across the web and in the Splashpath App.
Since the launch of Splashpath the community of swimmers and operators has grown to become the UK’s leading swimming app and in 2011 was the Number 1 Health & Fitness App in the UK App store. Today, Splashpath users are swimming the equivalent of Dover-to-Calais and back again, 7 times each day.
The partnership between AiT and Speedo International Ltd will see the UK Splashpath App receiving a significant update including new name, design and features. Speedo will also launch the app internationally starting in China followed by Europe as an integral part of their new Get Speedo Fit initiative.
Dan Morgan, Co-Founder of AiT and a passionate swimmer says “It’s brilliant news for Splashpath users, swimming pool operators and swimmers around the world. I started Splashpath from my bedroom but working with Speedo International we now have the resources and support to do so much more. Speedo’s got an incredible reputation for innovation and we’re excited to be collaborating and helping swimmers benefit from the latest gadgets and technology”
Sean Hastings, Vice President of Product and Marketing at Speedo International, said:
“The Splashpath team have done an amazing job building a swimming community around the mobile application and we are looking forward to collaborating with the team”
About Active in Time
Active in Time is a classic story of the internet age - from bedroom to boardroom. Started by Dan Morgan asking why there isn’t an app for swimming fans. Dan met The Leisure Database Company a leading authority on Sport and Leisure data and together they worked on Splashpath swimming app which was released in 2010.
Today Splashpath is the UK’s leading swimmer’s engagement and operator timetabling platform. The Splashpath iOS application is a unique way to find your local pool but also helps motivate swimmers by enabling them to sign up to a virtual challenge then track and share their progress on social media. The timetabling platform is used by pool operators to update and publicise their swimming timetables. In December 2012, AiT released GymJam, a mobile health & fitness application helping people find their local gym classes and recently introduced AiT Voice - an automated telephone service for leisure operators. AiT is a Tech City startup based in TechHub @ Google Campus.
Splashpath app for iPhone – App store link http://goo.gl/fHz2P
GymJam iOS app for iPhone - App store link http://goo.gl/zXlsV
Media Enquiries, Christopher Moisan, email@example.com
The world’s leading swimwear brand, Speedo is passionate about life in and around the water, creating revolutionary new technologies, designs and innovations and supporting swimming from grass-roots through to elite level, including the phenomenal Michael Phelps. In the 1920s Speedo made history with the Racerback: the world’s first non-wool suit. In 2008 Speedo redefined swimwear again with Fastskin LZR RACER - the fastest and most technologically advanced swimsuit ever created. 2011 saw Speedo unveil another world first with the Fastskin Racing System - a cap, goggle and suit designed to work together as one. Speedo is owned by Speedo Holdings B.V and distributed in over 170 countries around the world; to find out more visit: www.speedo.com. SPEEDO, the ARROW device, FASTSKIN, AQUALAB, RACING SYSTEM, SPEEDO BIOFUSE, SPEEDO ENDURANCE, SPEEDO SCULPTURE and LZR RACER are registered trademarks of Speedo Holdings B.V. The LZR RACER suit has worldwide design rights and patents. The FASTSKIN3 cap, goggle and suit has worldwide design rights and patents pending.