8 weeks of zwift, my impressions thus far

after using zwift for about 8 weeks i have come to like it but in some UI related areas i think it stinks. here is a list of areas that i think really need improvement:

(i should add that i run zwift on a 17" laptop about 20" away from me that is connected to a 40" monitor about 60" away, max resolution, i can see both.)

(should also add that i have read a lot of the requests and it is a shame that they do not get addressed. once on a saturday morning when i logged in there were over 12,000 other zwifters riding their legs off. assuming they are all paying customers and pay what i do that comes to $180K/mo. not sure what the real customer base is but for a small co that is not too bad really when you don’t actually manufacturing anything but an experience to a relatively small crowd.)

  1. not UI related but a good segue into my numbr 2 item…zwift is slow to start. i mean really slow. while it is true that my laptop has pretty much the bare minimum requirements the slowness of zwift’s start up is quite astonishing and almost unnaceptable. the developers clearly are not zwifters. if they were they would be as irritatated is me.
  2. after a ride is complete you are finally greeted with a “save and exit” button. great, i save and the program exits, yeah, my only choice. this is really annoying when there is another ride i want to do. please add a “save and go back” button so i can select another ride. did i mention that it is painful starting zwift, see item 1 above for a refresher.
  3. elevaton profile. there are two really in the top right corner, both on the map. the one with the % grade is not too bad, the one at the very bottom of the map is simply crap. to start with it is far too small of be of much use (vertically, that is). i learned somewhere that there is a white circle with a little arrow pointing in the direction of where i am going. this really is not useful because it is nt really readable. note my viewing options above. this elevation profile shows far too much detail regarding distance, i really can care less what the elevation looks like 10 miles away (or what ever it is). what i am more interested in is what the elevation is about 1/2 - 1 mile away. were i the developer i would change this up so that the white circle was stationary, always pointing toward the right with a 1/4 mile behind (if even that becasue thtat is not really useful either) and a 1/2 - 1 mile ahead (preferably a half), instead of the white circle moving just scroll the elevation. also don’t care about the other riders in the elevation, allow me to turn that off. might even add some color coding indicating the % grade. these sorts of changes could possibly replace both the lousy profile below and the other one that is marginally better. possibly move the elevation as a long strip at the tobbom of the screen.
  4. the map, allow the map to have a north up feature. maybe i am old but i tend to lose my sense of direction when the map always has me going in the “same direction.” i guess this is a thing with smart phones which i think has made us a bit dumb. (do you know your children’s phone numbers? not knocking anyone, i don’t either.)
  5. during training there is a power profile at the bottom, this is very cool. why not have that all the time or with the option to show/hide. it is kind of neat to see how much butt kicking i just did a few minutes ago.
  6. speaking of show/hide…let me show/hide the leader board and the other zwifters. i know about the xml hack to hide that stuff but the problem is that it hides all the stuff, knowing how fast, far, power, &c is sort of essential. sometimes i just want to see more zwift scenary. likewise with the power ups.
  7. the progress of routes in general is completely lacking here. when i ride in the real world i know where i started and where i am going to end (i may detour but i get home eventually), not so in zwift. although the routes are fixed (unless i deviate intentionally) i never really know when a route is going to end (unless i know it like the back of my hand). and sometimes i am not quite sure when the route will begin. there is a large banner at top center and should/could have a route progress bar. i think i may have seen something like this once or twice but not sure what is was for, think it was on the alp zwift ride but can’t recall.
  8. speaking of the alp zwift…the elevation profile there was much better.

take this for what it is worth.

-scott

@Scott_Pelger hopefully a few things you mention will be addressed in the new UI update that is supposed to be coming out soon. I know a lot of the items you list are ones we have been suggesting for a while.

As far as the power/HR graph at the bottom this is already available in free ride/races/group rides. To bring it up I believe it is “G” on the keyboard. Once you activate it once it should be a remembered setting so next time it will show as well.

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Just wanted to share a different perspective on some of your points.

  1. On Apple TV Zwift starts almost instantly.
  2. On Apple TV I think you just save then it takes you to the first menu.
  3. I agree that the elevation profile isn’t great, however I want to see the profile for my whole route, not just the next mile. I don’t want to blow my load on for example the first climb at the end of Richmond not knowing that I’ve got two more straight afterwards.
  4. On the companion app I think you can have the map always showing North upwards.
  5. The power profile is definitely available on all rides, check your options/settings
  6. I don’t really care either way, an option would the be good. But I do wish the conversations were more local. On Tuesday evening there was some idiot obviously conducting some training and kept putting messages up all in caps.
  7. Agree, though I thought that was being addressed. To be honest I remember this being more of an issue when I was new to Zwift. Once you know the routes…

Cheers,
Paul.

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It is. It really is. I don’t know why it takes so long, but yeah, noticeably so. I guess something like map, model and texture loading isn’t optimised. Could be the format they’re held in isn’t great, but I’m used to much “bigger” FPS and MMORPG games taking a lot less time to load.

Takes a long time to swap between worlds too, even after the game itself is running. I think that supports the idea that it’s map/texture loading that’s a problem.

Should be addressed in the forthcoming UI refresh. In a month or two, as far as I can tell.

Yeah, I can’t tell which way it’s pointing either. The older UI was clearer in that respect. Someone elsewhere suggested it should always be presented as if you’re riding left to right. That would make things much clearer.

Would be a good option for people who prefer that.

Already noted, but you can toggle this already. Either press G if you have a keyboard, or tap the little graph icon on the action bar.

These can be slid off screen on Android and iOS; I’d expect this sort of feature to be part of the new UI.

To some extent I think this is just a case of knowing the maps and roads. When you first move to a new area, you’ve no idea where things are, where roads go or how to get to the next town. It’s knowledge that’s built up over time, and the same applies in Zwift worlds. =)

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Excellent points Scott! Covered mostly in the replies, but I also found number 7 really frustrating when I started out. Yes, it all becomes clear after a while, but that first ride feeling, not knowing where the beginning and ends were, was quite overwhelming.

A good list that covers some of the big bug bears. I think ticking off routes is a nice thing to aim for as well as a great way to explore all the worlds. In the route list, it should show if you already have the badge or not, and then when selected should show distance remaining and mark the route on the map slightly. Ideally ETA should be shown as you would have on your bike computer. If you deviate off route these can disappear.The elevation profile is a mess, definitely needs to be left to right.

A big one for me is accessing settings, your garage, drop shop etc without having to start a ride first. In fact it should be possible to do this from the web or companion app.

Everything in the HUD should be optional or movable. Sometimes removing all of your power info is a better experience and valuable training. You can still get the stats afterwards.

I think that’s roughly it for the UI. Let’s hope they are solved in the refresh, which I think is pretty much ready as it was nearly good to go before Christmas.

Don’t get me started on race categorisation…

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This is usually @Gerrie_Delport’s cue to tell us how long it takes for him to put his shoes on. :smile:

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Just click “G” for graph.

Great list James. That neatly covers the things I’ve noticed too as a new Zwifter.
The Zwift Insider website is incredibly valuable. I’m really into completing all the routes so I’ve resorted to downloading the handy list from that website and checking them off manually.

You can also make a copy of this Google Sheet for tracking your progress. It will even estimate the time it will take you to complete a route. Estimates improve as you add more data.

If someone can create that in Excel how hard can it be to code it in game…

I can make great spreadsheets in excel but cant even begin to understand coding a game like zwift

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Thanks! That’s better than what i was using so I’ll switch to that.

Zwift is definitely a work in progress and people are coming up with their own workarounds for the UI shortcomings…(and I used to be a software developer… sure everything is “easy” but everything takes time, developers come and go, new people have to learn the code base, etc). I try to bear in mind that the only reason that we’re bothering is that the positives outweigh the negatives. If the riding experience itself was terrible then we wouldn’t bother struggling with this, we’d just give up and do something else.

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Like 1 min or so?
I’ll look on the clock later.
I guess it’s barely under 1 min.

And yes, it takes longer to put my shoes on and put my wiener in the right position :rofl:

edit: OK, just took my stop watch.
about 45-48 sec to the pairing screen
about 53-57 sec to the main menu

on a i5-3470 with 8GB RAM and an old 120GB SATA3 SSD and AMD HD7850 2GB with a 100/40 connection

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Hi Ben,
1 minute sounds quick to me.

For me Zwift start time is the least of my problems. I run 2 HR straps, 2 HRM’s, 2/3 bottles of water, 3 remote controls, 2 phones, 1 mouse, 4 different plugs to switch on, wake up cadence, not to mention 2 shoes :slightly_smiling_face:

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Fastest (and not very common) for me is about a minute to pairing, but it can take over three minutes. Time to change worlds varies too, from about 20 seconds, but also up to more than three minutes.

It doesn’t sound like much, but if you have a technical issue before an event start and need to log out and back in, it can seem like forever!

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You don’t happen to be running Zwift from a mechanical hard drive by any chance? I used an old computer with one for a while and it was indeed painfully slow, but replacing it with a SSD made it tolerable again. (Restarting will probably be substantially faster as files can be read from cache instead of the physical disk.)

As for the elevation profiles, I think the biggest problem is that the scale isn’t the same everywhere, which makes some roads (e.g. the Volcano climb) appear basically flat.

thanks all. tried the “G” button and love the power graph. this will be a very useful tool outside training. i tend to push myself too hard on free ride days.

will be printing that google sheet for sure.

and yes, an old mechanical HDD. SSD is not in my future yet. i would like to get an HRM first.

looking forward to the next update.

thanks again,
scott

Yeah, my ~2013 vintage PC gets to the pairing screen in 51 seconds the first time after a reboot, which goes down to 36 seconds the second time. Never timed it with the mechanical drive, but I’d say it took 3 to 4 minutes. I’d say 30 euro well spent…