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Your App Sucks: The Birth of B-cycle Now

by Kevin Bell | Aug 25, 2015

We recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of the launch of our app, B-cycle Now. To celebrate this awesome tool, let's take a look back on how it came to be:

Since launching in 2011, we consistently heard one piece of feedback from our riders more often than any other: "I like Boulder B-cycle, but your app sucks." We could not have agreed more, though the unfortunate reality is that it wasn't "our" app. The official B-cycle app was part of the software suite that we purchase from our vendor, B-cycle LLC, which also includes our website, station software, and back-end database. (To learn more about how our relationship with our vendor works, and the effect that has on you as a rider, you can read this recent post.)

Despite repeatedly making our riders' frustrations with the official app known to B-cycle LLC, and despite nearly a year of promises to make improvements, no visible progress was being made. At the time, we felt stuck. We knew what was wrong with the app and what we would change to provide a better user experience, but we lacked both the ability to directly change the existing app and the resources to spearhead a redesign ourselves.

App Screen

You're killing me, Smalls.


Enter TalentRiot. In late 2013, we were approached by the staff of this local software developer with a familiar refrain: "We like Boulder B-cycle, but your app sucks." This time, however, the refrain came with a postscript: "We'll build you a better app for free."

In a fortunate turn of events, TalentRiot was in the habit of giving skill-building opportunities to its developers outside of project hours in order to keep them sharp. After all, what better way to build up developers’ skills than real-world projects? It was a match made in heaven.

Talentriot logo

Cue angelic choir.


And so, based on feedback from our users, we rolled up our sleeves and sat down with the TalentRiot team to hammer out an app. Our goal was to design an app that would not only be free of the bugs and quirks of the official B-cycle app, but it would also be faster and far more user-friendly in its interface.

We couldn't be happier with the result. The difference between the two apps is night and day. This side-by-side comparison says it best:

In case you can't view that video, here's a quick summary of the improvements B-cycle Now makes:

  The Official B-cycle App
 B-cycle Now
 Selecting your city
 Manual selection from a list
 Geo-location automatically selects the nearest program
 Finding stations
Round red markers
 Pinpoint accuracy
 Finding available bikes and docks
 Click-through on each station icon
 On-screen display of color-coded bike counts
 Visualizing disconnected stations
Disconnected stations disappear entirely
 Disconnected stations indicated with '?'
 Getting directions
 Redirects to your phone's browser
 On-screen bike routes
 Visiting your city's website
 Manual selection through a cumbersome map interface
Automatic location-based selection

B-cycle Now Launched on June 24, 2014 for the 25+ B-cycle cities around the world, and we believe that it's the best app available for the needs of our riders. If you haven't downloaded it yet, what are you waiting for? It's free!

Get it now for iOS or Android.

Thanks again to TalentRiot for generously donating their time to completing this app. You guys don't suck!

BroadwayBaseline
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