Club app officially disappoints

For the first time the AFL have released an official application for each club on iTunes and the Android market. Despite many flaws, it’s a good starting point for a better app next year. I’ll be using an iPhone 3GS for this review.

The initial loading screen takes you to a picture of your club’s membership campaign (or at least it is for the Collingwood app, the one I’m reviewing specifically).

flickr.com/ivyfield

It does take a while to load, even if you are using Wi-Fi. This seems to be the case with anything involving Telstra: the AFL website, club websites, your internet, even when your on the phone to their call centre in India it takes ages for them to answer.

When the app finally opens up, you have your club’s upcoming fixture on a scroll bar at the top, beneath your club’s name in case you have forgotten it, and below that you have the latest team news.

There is also an annoying advertisement that pops up. When you’re scrolling down it pops up unexpectedly and you end up clicking on it. Well done Telstra.

The AFL recently announced their intentions to actually provide news on their and the clubs’ websites instead of puff pieces on how good a certain rookie is and then the same player getting delisted at the end of the season.

The tab next to that is called ‘Media’ and is exactly the same as the latest ‘news’ except split into two categories: News and video, both of which were combined in the home tab.

When you click on an article it opens up a new ‘window’. This ‘window’ is the article straight from the club’s mobile website, just with the ads and AFL banner from up the top taken out. The video is relatively fast to load, however that would obviously depend on your connection.

This takes us on to the matches tab. A good feature with AFL apps this year, the official league one included, is that you can actually view live scores.

In previous years on the official app it has taken over 5 minutes just to get the latest score. Latest is the default landing sub-tab when you click on Matches.

The sub-tabs next to it are Results, the Fixture which once again is exactly the same as on the front page and I cannot understand why anyone would go here to view the fixture and the ladder.

Switching between these does once again take a long time, and if it goes for long enough it will just time-out, even if you have a suitable connection.

Next over we have the twitter tab. I thought it would have tweets from the players, coaching staff and maybe even supporter groups. But with Joel Selwood being fined for making comments about Israel Folau’s suspension on his twitter, the AFL Media department have decided to leave out the players.

And for that matter also those of the coaching staff and supporter groups. All that’s there is the club’s Twitter feed, which half the time just has links to the articles on the club’s website! There are now three possible ways of getting onto an article on this app. Did a whole tab really need to be made for this? I think not.

And so we get to the final tab, the tab where twitter should have been put. The ‘More’ tab. It pretty much explains itself. It’s the things that weren’t good enough to be given their own tab.

There is Membership Info, tickets, a share this app button and a feedback button. The first two could well be given their own tab. I really have never understood the share this app button, especially when it says you can only share it by e-mail, same as the feedback button. Who e-mails these days? It’s all about social media.

Overall it is slightly better than nothing, but it really doesn’t have much fan interaction, something that Sportsmate’s ‘AFL Pulse’ applications do.

Rating: 4.5/10.

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