Image courtesy of BUCS | Facebook
Ever since I began Fencing in BUCS, my Dad has been UKC Fencing’s biggest fan. He follows the results, the league tables, and is often aware of who our next fixture is against before I am. For the students in his science class, I am sorry for all the mock exams on a Wednesday afternoon. It is so he can watch our match live-streamed on Facebook during this time. This year, however, our matches have been much less accessible. Right back at the start of the season, I got a text from him saying: “I can’t seem to find your men’s team on the new BUCS app?” Guess what Dad? Me neither. A few screenshots on my part and he seemed semi-content with how it worked. Or so I thought. Before our match last week, I got the following text: “No BUCS for you tomorrow? Their app really is s**t!” In any other circumstance, it would probably be fair to assume that my Dad, 56, probably was not the most technologically literate. Unfortunately, his frustrations appeared to be echoing with students all over campus.
The app has had a few teething problems, or, as Netball’s Natasha Reeves brilliantly put it, “honestly, this app has aged me”. She is right, anyone who has had the pleasure of using the app will tell you that the single most frustrating thing about it is the loading times. You could almost, but only almost, forgive the poor layout. There is a lack of shortcuts and the messaging feature is poor because you have to wait half a lifetime to get onto a page that you accidentally mis-clicked. Then you wait for years to get back to where you were when trying to select a team. Provided, that is, that the app does not crash mid-way through loading the team sheet you had to spend the whole car ride to Colchester trying to bring up.
Fortunately, most of the teams at UKC won’t be needing to upload their teams onto the app for the time being - not that they were able to anyway - following an email from BUCS CEO Vince Mayne. He explains that only Premiership and Tier 1 teams need to use the app in full mode. For the captains who have to use it week in week out, I can only offer my deepest sympathies.
Despite my previous exasperations, I am inclined to believe that this app is a step in the right direction. Once the bugs have been squashed – the loading times reduced, shortcuts added so captains can get straight to viewing their teams, the ability to view other leagues and results without joining the community sorted. Basically, once the entire app has been re-designed and properly tested by the people who actually know how to work a successful app, the response from sports clubs, administrators and facilitators will be far more positive. But when the execution is this poor, it is far easier just to put pen to paper. Unless the app is looked in to, it is going to be a long season for sports teams at Kent.
This article is part of our one-off edition of IQ Magazine, out from November the 29th 2019. Pick up the magazine on campus in our InQuire distribution bins in Keynes, Co-op, the Templeman library and other locations on campus.