18 February 2010
Dear Folks at Garmin,
Allow me to start by saying that the stuff you make is awesome. I love my Forerunner 305. I love my Edge 705. I love Garmin Connect. But, well, your Garmin Training Center could use some love.
In the hope that pointless moaning becomes more useful when accompanied by pictures, I’ve come up with some ideas.
First things first
This is kind of awkward, but, well, your icon is jaggy.
Now that that’s out the way, let’s take a look at the first screen someone sees when they open the training centre:
It’s a little daunting, but what’s odd about this choice is that the information here shouldn’t be something that people need to see all that often. Unless my heart rate zones are changing all the time or I can’t remember my own name (and the two may go hand in hand) I can pretty much set this and forget about it.
What this app is all about is me doing things. And that probably means I’ve either just done something, or I’m planning to do something.
I’ve just done something: home screen and activities
The default way of showing activities is a big list. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the kind of people who willingly hand over cash for a heavy, ugly watch just because it can tell them how fast they’re running are also the sorts of people who are likely to go out and use said watch. A lot. So the big list quickly becomes a very big list, and with no way of filtering by activity type, date, distance, duration or any other of the many, many useful metrics you have, the very big list is quickly filed into the ‘This is Terrifying, Ignore it’ box.
Which is a shame, because there’s a lot of good stuff lurking under that list. Wouldn’t it be great if I could auto-compare all the times I rode a route? Or if I could annotate workouts? Or rate courses?
I’m planning to do something: workouts
I’m not particularly into scheduling workouts on a calendar, but I’d love to have better management of the things I do. Whether they’re workouts, courses or activities1, some smart folders grouping them by sport, as well as the ability to create custom folders for training type would do it for me. I know we can already create folders, but I’m really not sure what they’re for. They don’t seem to do anything good.
Taking it with you: device management
Oh boy. It’s really weird that you’re a device manufacturer and the whole device management side of things feels like an afterthought. Here’s a for-instance: I do the odd ride. Sometimes I do running intervals, for which I create a workout with timing and distance. And that’s great. What’s not great is that every time I plug my 305 into my mac, I have to choose which things to upload to the device because there’s not enough free space. And every time, I have to de-select the same things. And all I really want on there are my running interval workouts. Imagine being able to pick a folder to automatically sync to the device. Or, better yet, imagine not being able to do the equivalent with your iPhone.
And, while we’re on the subject, let’s make it easier to get activities out of the Training Centre and onto Garmin Connect.
Really, though, thanks
Even though I moan a lot, I only do it because I care. I’d enjoy training a whole lot less without your gear.
On a related note, you should definitely tighten up the way you think about things like this. I don’t care – or understand, really – whether something is a course, a workout or an activity; I just know that I rode a route before and that I plan to ride it again. On Tuesday. And I want to look at a map of it now. Don’t make me have to find a secret menu to convert it into different formats. ↩