Why is it so hard for Zwift to add obvious missing features?

I’m pretty new to Zwift, only bought my first smart trainer a few months ago. While I have been generally enjoying my experience so far, I’ve been accumulating an increasingly lengthy mental list of things that I am amazed have not yet been added to the app especially considering how long Zwift has been around.

From a quick browse through the Feature Request forum, I can see there are hundreds of other users who would also like to see things like:

  • A course profile display that isn’t crammed into the bottom 10% of the much less useful top down map area, that doesn’t randomly switch directions, and that doesn’t get confused by junctions even though the app knows which route you’re riding
  • The ability to see how far around the selected route you are (maybe using some of the space currently wasted on the points bar???)
  • The ability to get detailed information about KOM segments (and leaderboards) on-demand and before/during climbs, not just near the end. This is extra weird because the way the Alpe is handled is comparatively good, why not do something similar on every climb???

I don’t want to get carried away listing things here, but my point is that there’s this collection of very obvious features that lots of paying customers have said they would like to see… and nothing seems to be being done about them. I have a comp sci background and to say I’m not impressed with the Zwift app/UI would be an understatement.

So why is this? Did Zwift quietly fire most of their developer team at some point? Is their codebase such a mess they’re scared to make any changes? Do they simply not care as long as people keep paying them?

Genuinely interested if anyone is able to shed any light on this.

Think a lot of people are of the impression the code is a mess, mainly because almost every update they do breaks another feature or introduces new bugs.

The 2nd one as well cause currently there really isn’t a viable competitor to Zwift so no competitive pressure the produce the best product. If/when another platform (Rouvy, RGT, etc) get better and start putting pressure on Zwift then it might be a different story.

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Does Zwift even have a Head of Product, and if yes, why do we never hear from them? (And if not, that explains a lot.) Any even semi-competent product person would consider these kinds of easily fixable things too much of an embarrassment to let them stay unaddressed for a whole year, let alone five.

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My guess is the Zwift UI team quit years ago, so no new features can be added.

Seriously though, the product managers I’ve worked with don’t care about fixing bugs and only care about releasing some flashy new feature that no one wants.

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I did say “semi-competent”, though.

Then again, on a three-letter competitor’s website, the first thing you (even as a first-time visitor) have to interact with is a net promoter score popup so clearly product in da house but not sure if their incentives are kosher…

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The general consensus is that they’re just treading water code-wise because it’s too expensive to fix until they get bought out by Garmin/Peloton/Apple, etc.

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It’s hopeless. Zwift user base is orders of magnitude larger than all the other platforms. Combined. And customers are individual consumers not large corporations, so no incentive to change. See what is happening with zwift power for an example. They can’t keep up with a few thousand users online. Results not posted for a full week. When questioned, their answer is that developers are enjoying a deserved festive break and will look into it when they return.

The code is buggy, the interface cartoonish, and it’s going to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

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I was just on a group workout having multiple dropouts, evidently along with lots of other people who were stopping, the mobile app then disconnected and said something along the lines of network server error. I’d partly planned my afternoon around this ride. And then gone, over. This is the first time this has happened in a long time, but a Zwift mechanical is so much more annoying than any real world mechanical.
It’s an example of how fragile the software is. Faults like this are demotivating, and faffing about trying to resolve the issue is not something you should have to do for 15 euros a month.
I really hope 2021 sees a competitor challenge Zwift, or that Zwift take some of their marketing budget and put it into long needed product improvement. The bottom 10% profile is something I noticed a while back, why not add altitude and distance markers along that window, how hard can it be? And where are the new roads? The novelty of UCI courses wears off pretty quick
At the moment Zwift feels like a cheap toy designed for a short shelf life, but it’s marketed as the opposite. Roll on spring.

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After dabbling with zwift a couple of years ago I’ve become a convert this year having entered races and riding more inside due to lockdown. But I am getting increasingly frustrated like others with the a lack of investment in basic features. Zwift must be raking it in this year yet still nothing added to the platform. Ok we got a new world in France but that was to get more publicity with virtual TDF and thus further expansion of the user base. We get stupid Halloween costumes and apples falling from trees rather than fix the basics like ability to select another route without quiting platform. The only way they will listen is if users vote with their feet. Try out other platforms who then with larger user base will also get funding support to develop further and who knows we might get a true competitor to zwift. I’d rather zwift take it on themselves to develop but haven’t seen anything over last year to believe it will happen. The pace of technology change is so fast zwift will be dead if they don’t react. I hope they do but won’t mourn if they don’t given lack of attention on their customers - us.

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I use Zwift to ride with friends but currently I’m using much often Bkool which has a very good interface during the race exactly like Andrew suggests with a detailed course display, excelent information with the grade of the road and updated information about the riders distance along the race. Also nice Tours competitions!! Please improve Zwift to match Bkool so I don’t have to change.

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You are absolutely right, and my list is very similar to yours. What bugs me the most is that, like you, these features are very basic, and after being on the market for so many years now, I really don’t understand why these features are still missing. In comparison, the pizza slices… I could not care less…

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well before Dec 2018 monthly prices where normal and after 2019 changed so i guess the management changed also… quite a lot of updates and bugfixes occured before Dec 2018 of course together with some new design and routes. :stuck_out_tongue:

the last years i felt that serious features (especially requests) are on hold. bugfixes triggered even more buggs… for whatever reason.

the #1 feature request Ghosts or Pace Bots has been realised but still suffers variety. like changing pace to an individual value or creating individual pace pots aligned to a training plan or PR and also to chang the route the pace bots are riding.

feature request feel more likely some kind of “well many people want it so we do it because we feel like it but in the end really dont care because we dont play the platform”. like the coders arent working for the platform they are just hired in order to produce something.

a lot of modders from other gaming platforms creating more in a certain time span for 0$ just because they love what they are doing.

this really needs a fix just because zwift is really beautiful tool for cycling.

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Completely agree with you @Andrew_R1. As a person with software development background, I too am amazed by how many very basic features have not yet made it to the app. I can appreciate that a UI and UX overhaul would be a major undertaking but surely these features would be trivial to implement (quick wins):

  • Ability to disable other rider’s Ride on sound effects
  • UI scaling
  • Manual graphics settings adjustment
  • Starting a meetup straight from the menu
  • Moving garage and other adjustments to the main menu

After just a few months of using the app, I have to say that the riding experience itself is great but apart from that, it’s a real pain. At this point I am ready to give Zwift’s competitors a try.

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Spot on.
Do something, Zwift! I’m ready to try the others as well, and hopefully find someone with adequate customer support/product improvement instead of this Zwift trash.