Feedback after several rides

I use a CompuTrainer and have been doing various forms of virtual terrain riding for the past five years and this week I completed my fifth ride on Zwift so I thought I would share some feedback.

Good stuff

  1. The graphics. In some ways I think you may be going a little over the top with lightning bugs and such, but everyone agrees you have this one nailed really well.
  2. The model. My reported speed is pretty dang close for a given power output over terrain like this, which is nice to see. Most apps I’ve tried report me riding a bit faster, which is flattering but not helpful.
  3. People. You have a good recruitment of beta testers (especially me – just kidding). I’m seeing some familiar names and I think you have the right plan to show the names. It fosters more community than seeing a screen name.

UX thoughts and suggestions:

  1. Each time I launch, I’m told that I have no Ant+ dongle. That’s okay, because I use a CT. This alert really belongs on the screen after you log in where the device pairing is shown. Because you support non-Ant devices I would also not make this alert modal and seem so urgent. For CT users it is a non-issue.
  2. Minor point, but on the “no Ant+ dongle” alert message, if you hit the enter key to dismiss it the username/password form submits and you get a failed login alert, so I have to click the OK button to get rid of this dialog.
  3. The app really needs a better “zero state” when you do your first ride. By this I mean that you have no idea what can be done. I was ~30 minutes into my first ride and realized that I didn’t even know how to exit and save the workout. I would suggest having a first time launch dialog showing the controls along with a “help/?” icon in the lower left to re-display it.
  4. Achievement notices were common and frequent in the first hour of riding, but I haven’t seen one since aside from time/distance based ones with the top progress bar. Maybe the goal is to keep them opaque, but it might be nice if the UI created some sort of indication of achievements received and ones on the horizon.
  5. When you get a new achievement (unlocked jersey) it isn’t clear how to “redeem” this feature because the rider setup only shows up the first time you launch. On the page where you do device pairing there should be a path to the rider settings. Better yet, if a new achievement is unlocked the next time you ride the app should encourage you to use in the settings.
  6. Exiting feels a little anxiety inducing and abrupt. When I click the escape button I get the dialog to discard or save. When I do the save operation the title bar says “not responding” while it completes and it exits with no message. I’m running Windows 7 64 bit. It always does this. My user experience expectation is to get a confirmation that the file saved (or posted to Strava) along with clarification where the data file resides. A common question in forums (and lately my Strava feed) is “what now? where is the data?”
  7. Drafting works. I can feel it working, but it could really use a visualization such as a bar graph showing how much you are in the draft.
  8. In general it seems hard to create cohesion on the road with riders, AI or otherwise. In the great outdoors people would cluster into groups with drafting benefit. Don’t take this the wrong way, but I’ve seen more drafting and pack riding in a Triathlon. If you guys can nail the secret sauce here you will be golden.

That’s all I can think of for now. It is a lot of fun to use and a great platform. I love how you can drop in right next to a friend. This eliminates a lot of scheduling hassle. This is the only platform I know of that works like this and I like it a lot.

Duane - good to see you here!

If you hit ESC you can get rid of the NO ANT+ box.

“T” takes you back to the Customizations page where you can put on that new kit or those new wheels…or even swap bikes if you get that far.

I’m not sure if it’s been changed yet, but it has been the case during beta that even if you DISCARD a ride it is still saved in your ZWIFT folder. In fact, I believe the ride gets saved whether you actually hit save or not…but you might want to test this on something really short you don’t care about.

I think part of the “cohesion” issue is that most people just get on and do their own thing for the most part. For me, since training has now started, I usually have a specific workout I’m doing or some target power I’m trying to maintain. There have been a few times where I am just doing a Z2 ride or something that I’ll jump on with someone I know. I’ve done a couple of rides with Scottie and we seem to have no problem staying together and drafting.

I think a bunch of guys are organizing a century ride for tomorrow morning. You should jump in and try that with them! I may see you there!