The Mid-American Conference may be relatively small compared to the SEC's and the B1g's of the world, but when it comes to social media and digital trends, the MAC is certainly a pioneer amongst the college athletics conferences. (#MACtion anyone?) Which is why it's so troubling that the MAC's app experience is far from enjoyable.
I bet you didn't even realize the MAC has an app, did you? Neither did I until Jeremy Guy tweeted out this photo teasing an updated app coming to us on July 1, along with an updated MAC Sports website. Finally, the MAC has a chance to make a truly great app.
But what makes a good app great? Well, according to The Next Web there are a few key things an app must nail in order to be considered a great app. It's a fun read if you're into this stuff, but I'll give you the five second synopsis:
- It must have a great user interface or UI. People don't just want pretty, they want intuitive and functional.
- It must understand its market, as in understanding the features the app's users need, and enticing an initial user base to give the app a try
- It must play to mobiles strengths. Simply porting a website into app form isn't enough. There are things that work on phones and tablets, that wouldn't on desktops and vice versa.
With all of that in mind, we took it upon the collective hive mind of Hustle Belt (and MACtion fans via Twitter) to come up with a list of features we think the new MACtion app needs to become a truly great app for MAC fans. With those principles in mind, let's delve into our list of
demanded requested features:
The current app looks cool, until you start digging around in it and realize certain things are rendered utterly useless due to the clunky interface, with that in mind here are some UI suggestions, and features we think need to be developed with the mobile aspect in mind:
—Video streams that actually work, are reliable, and contain scores and a game clock (SCORES? FOR A GAME? BLASPHEMY!) via @hickeyburns33
—Scores of all the MAC games, (live) stats for all the MAC games, a schedule of MAC games via @BSUKeith
—The ability to set the app's color scheme to reflect the colors of your favorite team. For example maize and blue, or scarlet and gray via @cmadler
—(Other presumed must haves include photo galleries, HD videos, etc.).
The current MAC app has all the basics: news, scores, standings, but we can get all of those features from any number of other apps, and they'll work more reliably. For the new MACtion app to be a hit, it needs to provide a level of functionality unrivaled by current offerings. It should feel impossible to survive as a MAC fan without the MACtion app because of how damn handy it is. With these features, it'd surely check off that mark:
—A clock counting down by the day, hour, minute and second until the "UMass experiment ends" via @TheRealJAllen
—A feature where you can schedule Byron Leftwich's offensive line to come over and carry you to your destination of choice via @suss2hyphens
—A map of mid-America, because even the MAC doesn't appear to be in the know of this sometimes via @BryanMVance
—A feature that detects when your at a non-MAC stadium then gives you push notifications such as "If you were watching #MACtion you would have already seen XX points scored today" via @cmadler
—MAC scores are a must have, but another must have option is the score of the Ohio State game via @laplanck
—A MAC Gems feature showcasing the top MAC crap on eBay via @BSUKeith
—A second favorite team feature, for those who are MAC fans only when it's convenient via @BSUKeith
—A working dictionary of P.J. Fleckisms vis @BryanMVance
—A complaint button for every mistake a ref makes. Just like sending a text, only it goes straight to the MAC office via @broncofitz
A built in taser to shock "MAC Conference" offenders (IDC ABOUT THE LOGISTICS DAMNIT, JUST MAKE IT HAPPEN!) #MACtionAppFeatures— Bryan M. Vance (@BryanMVance) June 18, 2014
@JasonAmessenger So a coin flip feature? Got it.— Jeremy Guy (@JGuyMAC) June 18, 2014
Ryan Anderson (@Rdhawk03) June 18, 2014
@HustleBelt A button that shows how much each MAC school got paid to be beaten during non-conference games— Jesse Allen (@TheRealJAllen) June 18, 2014
@HustleBelt it needs live stats, especially for basketball.— Mike Scholze (@MikeScholze) June 18, 2014
As we've said before, you need to entice users to use your app of others. Most MAC football games can be streamed in HD via the WatchESPN app. Any number of sports apps do great live scoring. Many more apps present news, for any sports team, in a beautiful way. The MAC needs to add some unique features to entice the average smartphone-toting MAC fan to download and use the MAC's app, over all others. What better way to do that then to add some of these features
—A Ron English soundboard and a game in which users can throw rotten tomatoes at Keith Dambrot via @Kaleb_M_Carter
—A Charlie Coles press conference soundboard via @laplanck