It’s good to see that there are active improvements in the race coverage. Thank you for listening to our pain points and responding.
I have a couple of things that particularly struck me last night when watching the women’s race. They’re both UI things.
Riders nearby list
It’s really hard to use the Riders nearby list the way I want to in a race context. For example, if I want to watch a rider and their W/kg. Or I want to see if a rider is still in the same group.
The problem is that it updates far too frequently. I know, once per second doesn’t sound too bad, but it makes it very hard to scan the list or track a name. In the first instance, if I start at the top and start scanning down the list, but the time I’ve got a few names down it’s updated and rearranged all the names. So I have to start again or just randomly dart about the list.
In the case of a rider I’m watching, again their position jumps around and I can’t follow them.
It also, I feel, gives a false impression of meaningful changes within the pack.
For me, this list would be more usable if it updated rider positions once every 5 seconds or so. Maybe even longer than that. Because of the nature of a blob of riders, the churn, we don’t really need a second-by-second update.
Note I only say rider positions - I think the W/kg display should continue to update once per second, as it’s key to watching the action.
On a similar note, the xx/yy (eg. 5th/40) position display is largely meaningless in most contexts.
Follow any rider in a group, and their “position” will jump around. Again, due to the churn mentioned above. Here’s a sequence from last night:
Maybe accurate as far as the game’s concerned, but not useful to me. All I need to know is that she’s in the lead group. Position within that group doesn’t really amount to much. (I guess there are arguments that it helps work out if someone’s likely to be taking the wind, or sitting in.)
Also making it hard to use the list is the horizontal scrolling of names. It’s hard to see the rider name if it’s scrolled off to the left and all that’s showing is a team name.
Here’s an example from last night:
Three Sho-Air TWENTY20 riders at the top of the list. But who are they? OK, if you know the riders perhaps the country flag is an indication, but come on. It’s very far from spectator-friendly.
Putting team names in as part of the rider name is a horrible kludgey workaround for no native support of teams in-game. Not least because it’s also inconsistent. [ALLSTARS] or (All stars) or [ALL STARS]. All three (maybe others) were present last night.
If Zwift are serious about racing, I feel they must build proper team support & display into the game.
Maybe the team name could just be listed as a shortcode (e.g. COF, SHO, A*) in a separate column that doesn’t move around. We dont need the “A” icon in these races for example - they’re all A riders. Alternatively teams could upload/have created an icon to represent them. Maybe a cropped screenshot of the back of their jersey, since that’s mostly what we get to see that differentiates riders. (Probalby too small an area for that to be recognisable, just spitballing.)
Here’s another image from last night.
Oooh, that looks a nasty climb! I bet things will kick off there!
Except, of course, they never went up that climb. Then a bit later on it disappears from the profile:
Huh? What happened there? They’re still on the same piece of road.
Obviously, we as experienced Zwifts understand what’s going on. But newcomers or general spectators won’t. They’ll see a huge climb that never comes.
And even though we do understand from experience, it’s still sub-optimal. We kept hearing about the “legsnapper”. Well, where is it on the profile?
Right at the end there, but of course it looks completely insignificant compared to what we see with the big climb.
I think things would be much improved if two changes happened:
Have the course profile only reflect the actual route being ridden. I understand this is not possible when people have a choice of turns. But in a race like this, we know they’re not going up the mountain. So don’t show it. If you know the actual route, surely you can generate a profile dynamically. Or if necessary, generate the necessary resources for each pre-determined official route.
Then scale the profile relative to the actual highpoint of the race.
As always, just my opinions! =)