F1 to make improving app live timing a priority after complaints

Formula 1 says improving the live timing on its newly-upgraded app is a priority after it received a barrage of complaints during the Singapore Grand Prix weekend

F1 to make improving app live timing a priority after complaints

F1 rolled out a new version of its phone/tablet app, which featured heavily revised live timing that reduced the amount of data visible on a single screen, ahead of the event.

Reviews of the app online criticise the limitations on live timing.

Complaints include the number of drivers visible on screen without scrolling being reduced to as few as seven, and the new arrangement requiring users to switch between multiple screens to gather information previously available on one.

"We have updated the app platform with a view to introduce an additional range of new features both in the short and long term," an F1 spokesperson told Autosport.

"As part of the usual development program of an app, there are a number of new releases already in the pipeline.

"We are aware of the issues related to the live timing feature and this is one of the priorities of the next releases."

Autosport understands that there are no plans to roll back the app to the previous version (below), as requested by some users.

Feedback on the previous edition appears to have suggested the live timing was considered by some to be too difficult to read, leading to an increase in font size and the ill-fated attempt to make it easier to use.

While the timescale for changes to the live timing function is not clear, it is believed that there will be upgrades made to the app over the remaining races of the 2018 season.

Upgrades will also tackle the numerous glitches users have complained about, which include problems logging on to live timing and intermittent audio.

Autosport says...

The live timing component of F1's app is undoubtedly the key function that persuades users to pay for the required subscription.

To redesign live timing smacks of a failure to understand it is by its nature a data-dense and unattractive function, ill-suited to the bells and whistles beloved of those designers who focus on form over function rather than combining the two.

The longstanding previous version of live timing worked well, conveying large amounts of information on its selection of screens and also made it easy to see improvements of lap times, sector times and position changes.

The new live timing spreads out the information and makes it impossible to follow the race as comprehensively, which is at the heart of the myriad complaints. Just look through the plethora of one-star reviews on the iTunes App Store or replies to @F1Help on Twitter for proof the dislike of the changes stretches beyond F1 journalists!

Other aspects of the app are an improvement, despite the glitches that will be worked through, but the changes to live timing suggest a lack of both understanding of the product and oversight of those undertaking the work that this was rolled out to near-universal derision.

F1 has promoted the live telemetry, which allows you to see speed, throttle and braking information for each driver, as an improvement and it is. But harnessed to a live timing system not fit for purpose, it's no surprise the changes have proved to be so unpopular.

Now, F1 must show it's willing to take fan feedback onboard and make the changes quickly and effectively. Credit to the championship for accepting there are problems and making it a priority, but shame on F1 for letting it happen in the first place.

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