RunningCadence team proposal - HeatherLinich/RunningCadence Wiki
Heather Linich & Rohini Singh
Heather and Rohini (“The team”) have decided to work on RunningCadence, an android based app that tracks the user’s cadence which is the rate at which his or her foot strikes the ground. Both team members share a love of running as a hobby and wanted to contribute to a program that they each felt passionate about.
With RunningCadence, the runner enters their target cadence and the app displays the current number of steps and periodically provides voice guidance to the runner in order to help him or her keep a steady pace by alerting the runner to increase or decrease speed as necessary. By working to improve and increase cadence, a runner can become more efficient in their energy expenditure and improve the quality and speed of a run. The app could also help a runner who may be training for a race to improve their speed and distance over time.
The program was originally created by Leo Liang in 2011 and the program’s code and documentation files are currently found on GitHub. Three updates were later released with the last being at the end of 2012; it was made available on Google Play on October 6, 2012 and is distributed under the company name Aleung. Right now, the app is only offered on the android platform and is available in both English and Chinese translations.
Mr. Liang stated in his documentation that he was looking for assistance on enhancing the user interface of the app by implementing a more interesting design. The team contacted Mr. Liang to request to be a part of the project and he was amenable to an offer of assistance. The team feels that the user interface can be improved in a number of ways.
Upon reading some of the app’s reviews, one of the most common complaints from users is the lack of ability to store and save information. The team will aim to create a log of the most current entries. The number of completed entries to be stored in the log has yet to be determined but may be 50 or more. The data can then be graphically represented to show the runner’s progress over time. The graphical data can be broken down by time period to show the runner’s improvement over several weeks. The team will also explore the possibility of linking the app to Facebook in order to have an additional avenue to store and share information.
Additions will also be made to the home screen to include basic information about the user such as name, age and weight. This information can then also be included in a graphical representation of the data over time in order to get a better picture of overall running fitness as it relates to age and weight. A basic timer will also be added to the program to assist the user with their run. The timer also provides an opportunity to graphically represent each run individually and chart what the runner’s cadence is on a minute by minute basis.
A map feature will also be attempted in order to show the path and total distance the user has run. This will keep the user from having to use more than one app at a time and make RunningCadence more of a one stop shop for running.
The team will also significantly expand the software’s documentation. Currently a very brief ReadMe document exists but it does not provide much more than a very general overview of what the app does. The new documentation will include explanations of the above mentioned enhancements that are implemented as well as a step by step user guide on how to install and operate the app.
A section explaining the general workings of the underlying code will be included for any future interested developers. A short code example may be provided to provide further clarification on the structure of the programming. General standards for the coding will also be laid out for programmers so any future enhancements will be done uniformly and according to Mr. Liang’s specifications.
The team will also further look into reviews of users who have downloaded the app or the code and include a Frequently Asked Questions section to the document in order to make the experience more seamless.
The team believes that by creating a more interactive and attractive user interface, more runners will be inclined to download and use the app. The team may also provide a more distinctive logo to increase visual appeal. Also, an increase in the amount and clarity of documentation can attract more developers to the program. There have been over 10,000 downloads of RunningCadence in the app store so the app does already see some minor popularity. It is currently rated at 3.5 stars and rankings by users are across the board. This would point to users feeling that it is an adequate app but there is room for significant improvement in order to get users really excited about the program. If enough runners are attracted to the app with the improvements, there could be an opportunity for Mr. Liang to take on advertisers and have a small revenue stream from the application.
The team has contacted Mr. Liang to discuss the proposed changes. He was excited by the suggestions and also mentioned the need for being able to store data; he feel that this enhancement should be a priority. Mr. Liang noted that when the team’s enhancements are complete, a merge request can be submitted through GitHub and he will incorporate the updates in a new version of the app at a future time.
The team will collaborate on all aspects of the project but each portion will be spearheaded by a team member. Rohini will oversee the general design of the user interface and Heather will oversee the creation of additional documentation. The team has created a GitHub repository for this project that forks off of the original RunningCadence program in order to work on enhancements.