New Version of City App

So, we are finally launching a new version of City App, our primary mobile app!

We have created a new design, taking in your feedback, but also looking at how people have been using the existing app plus our mobile optimised website and more besides.

What we have come up with is a far slicker experience, a certain simplification and probably more importantly to lots of you, it’s now available on Android as well as iOS!

android_badge

Available_on_the_App_Store_0

Some of the highlights:

On opening the City App you will see that we have removed an initial menu and you are directly into the News area and have an easy switch in the menu to CityTV where you will find all our official Club video including highlights. You can refresh these areas by swiping down (as you would probably expect).

IMG_0133    IMG_0134

Navigation around the app is now standardised with a menu icon on the top right. Here you are able to access deeper News and CityTV video, but also Fixtures, the League Table and a Calendar which can be synched with your own device calendar. This Fixtures area is your main area to navigate reports, highlights and ticket information match by match.

IMG_0135    IMG_0137

Further down the menu you will find a link to a much more pleasing presentation of the official @mcfc Twitter feed from which you can follow, retweet and reply to your hearts’ content!

IMG_0139

At the bottom of the menu you will find an area displaying dynamic information on the last game, next game or current game, including the current score. This is effectively your shortcut to match reports, highlights for most recent games and to the in-App Matchday Centre around a match.

Most of you will be familiar with the official Match Day Centre on www.mcfc.co.uk or m.mcfc.co.uk, we have scaled this down for the City App to give you a convenient in-app experience around the match.

IMG_0141   IMG_0142

What’s Next?

“Where are is the fans section, the player profiles and wallpapers?” you may cry, “Where is the tablet version?” you may shout!  It’s important to say that we have a roadmap for this app and instead of trying to put everything in for launch, we are releasing updates in stages. This was an iOS re-design update and an Android release which sets the foundation. So it won’t be long before the iPad and Android tablet versions will be released and more stuff that we know you will like. Expect the latest product news to be here on the blog and our social channels.

We love to hear your comments and feedback and we will, as always, take them on board when planning in later phases. Either leave a comment here or tweet us @mcfcgeeks.

**Please note that we’ve had feedback from people who downloaded the app that it crashes when viewing the fixtures or they are getting a very old fixture for ‘NEXT GAME’. Please uninstall and reinstall and this resolves the problem. We know what the root cause is but are waiting for an update**

A new season, a new match day centre!

Hello! My name is Lee Cook (@leethomascook) and I am the Head of Development at Aqueduct, the lead digital agency for Manchester City FC. Russell has kindly allowed me to post some more techie things on this blog. First up, I would like to talk about the new match day centre.

I have been working on City’s digital estate for over 4 years, so had the pleasure of being involved in the original match day centre. While the original was great and quite ahead of it’s time, 4 years is a long time in the digital world. It was time for a new version, built with  modern tools and one which worked cross platform.

 Form a technical point of view, our aims for the new version were simple:

  • It must be responsive and work cross platform (desktop, mobile and tablet)
  • It should be the fastest match centre out there (faster than Sky and BBC)
  • Look forward and support best of breed technologies

So, without further ado, here are the new designs:

3 5 2 1

Technical Architecture:

Behind the scenes the application is written in ASP.NET MVC 4. @OptaJoe continues to provide the real time statistics.  We process their data and store it in RavenDB, a NoSQL implementation for .net.

In essence though, the new MDC is a HTLM5 JS application, which utilizes various REST based endpoints for getting data when it first loads. We needed to have the app to be as fast and responsive as possible. So we decided to follow an AMD javascript pattern and load separate modules as and when they are requested by the app. This allows for quicker start up time as no unnecessary javascript is parsed on page load. To achieve this and as an excuse to play with some new tech, we decided to wrap the javascript delivery up in a node.js modular pattern with the Browserify framework. This allowed us to write all the modules for the different areas of the app and have them bundled and minified into one file. All css was created using stylus and is bundled and minified into one request too.

 In order to achieve speed and scalability, we are using PubNub for delivering real time updates to your browser, which takes considerable load off of our servers.  Whenever we have an update, we send it to PubNub and they distribute it to all connected clients for us.  In effect, PubNub functions as a messaging CDN for the MCFC Match Day Centre.

pubnub-galaxy

A note about live audio commentary:

Obviously the live audio commentary was a key part of our offering before, but it was very limited as it was created using Flash, so did not work on mobile and tablet. We wanted to bring this cross platform and we have achieved this. It should now work on iOS, Android (4.1+) and desktop.

We would love to support all android versions, but unfortunately it is just not technically feasible. The sheer numbers of different android devices and versions are staggering. The open signal report on android fragmentation is very interesting reading and it suggests there are currently nearly 12,000 different android devices.

devicefragementation

 We looked at stats of visitors to the mcfc.co.uk site and it suggested that nearly 60% of android users were using version 4.1+. Based on this data we made the decision that we would only support version 4.1+, as people generally upgrade within 12 months and we wanted to keep things simple.

However, it is currently incredibly tricky to support the multitude of devices out there.  In order to do so, we have had to create two different audio streams. One RTMP stream for the desktop flash version and one for http live streaming (HLS) on mobile. It is worth noting that HLS only really works on Android 4.1+.

We have various android devices in the office and it seems to work on a lot of them, but we have obviously not tested every single android device. If it does not work on your version, please leave a note in the comments and we will investigate.

One unfortunate problem we have noticed in testing is that there is currently a bug in the HLS implementation in Chrome on the latest Android 4.3  You can see the bug report here. I believe it has been fixed by the chromium devs and should be in the next chrome update.

It’s Live!

The new MDC will be live tonight for the Newcastle game. I hope you find it an improvement. This will be a continuously evolving product and there are more features coming over the next few weeks. You can get a sneak peak at some of the latest design features that are being implemented this week below :

6 4

Thanks,

Lee

Match Day Centre – quick survey

We are running a small survey to enhance our digital offering on the Match Day Centre feature on mcfc.co.uk.  We would greatly appreciate if you can spare a minute to send us your feedback on:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/32HXH9R.

Image

Volunteers needed

We’re looking for 10 volunteers to help the club test out a new exciting fan platform. Testing can be completed remotely. Please leave a comment if you’re interested.

CityApp – your ideas please

As much as we love our City Mobile App, we’re sure you agree that it’s long overdue an update.  So we’re asking our @mcfcgeeks, what would you like to see from City’s official mobile app?

Cityapp

We’re aware of the main gripes such as no Android & Windows versions – these are the top of our list – so we’re more interested in the sorts of things you might find engaging and useful for you as a City fan on a mobile device. Are there any features that you think would be particularly interesting during the week when you need your fix of club and team news? Or if you have any insights into how/where you use the current City app then that would also be very informative – we want the City app to fit around your daily life!

Note we can’t promise to develop all the suggestions made but all your feedback is very much appreciated. Please leave your comments on this blog.

Thanks for your support.

Jamie

New Fixtures, ideas for mobile apps…and more.

Well we’re slightly embarrassed that it’s over a year since our last post on here! However, with tons of exciting developments in the pipeline we thought it would be a great time to dust off the blog and let you know what’s coming up over the summer and beyond.

It’s certainly going to be a busy period for our mobile apps and services…more of that later…but first up the new Premier League fixtures are being released next week (19th June). We’ve taken the opportunity to freshen up this section of the site, aiming to enhance both the pre-match build up and the post match analysis with our new ‘Pitch Side’ concept.

Firstly, we’ve improved the Fixtures landing page. We listened to your feedback and have now included clear indication of time zone of the fixture – it’s a small change but was a bugbear of many and we hope this will help those travelling to games in Europe and beyond. The main update on this page though is the addition of a fixture ‘quick view’ option that lets you expand on an upcoming match to get the key details such as ticket availability and broadcasters without leaving the landing page.

Fixtures & Results Landing Page

Image

Next we’ve created a new template that lets fans view either an upcoming fixture or a past result in more detail. This is accessible from the Fixtures landing page and the template enables us to tailor different content and features based around the opposition pre-match and the match story after the game has finished.

So for the upcoming fixture, focus is on key match details such as opposition, competition, form, head-to-head, plus broadcasting and betting information. There is a tabbed section for latest ticketing information giving fans the most up-to-date news around availability. As with anything we do on the site, onward journeys are crucial so we also provide related articles, playlists and tweets to further enhance your experience.

Upcoming Fixture Page

Image

As well as the match report and highlights which you currently get on the site straight after the game, we’ve added an extra step which gives you some post-match analysis to always look back on. This includes the story of the game, key match data (which comes to life as you load the page) and the latest league table which updates automatically straight after the game. There’s more related articles, playlists and tweets too to keep your interest.

Post-Match Result Page

mcfc_pitch_side_postgame_01

We hope you like the new approach to fixtures and results – as always, we welcome your thoughts on here or Twitter. Please note that the images above are sneak previews of the page designs so please don’t take the content too literally – we’ve used dummy content in all places (i.e. there may be the odd Mancini photo and we’d of course beat Arsenal!)

The pages will go live with the announcement of the Premier League matches next week, also featuring details of our pre-season friendlies.

The Players section is next for a revamp – including new player profile pages. Watch this space!

Our next blog post will be about our mobile apps and services. We’re aware that our apps need updating (iPad version, Android and iPhone5 support etc) and we’re really keen to get your views on what are the key changes, features you’d like to see. I’ll be asking for your feedback very soon on this.

Thanks for your support,

Jamie

Auctions Beta Site – let the bidding begin

We’re launching the Members Auction site in Beta to get your feedback.  We want to know what you think, the good the bad and the bugs.

Take a look around the site and try bidding for the items, they’re real auctions after all. If you spot something that you think could be better or you have found a bug, drop us a note at mcfcgeeks@mcfc.o.uk or reply to this post. Include your browser so we can recreate what you see.

So what is Auctions all about??

The Auctions websites is where you can bid on amazing money can’t buy experiences, tickets or uniquely Blue items, but here’s the best bit… it’s free – there is no cash involved in bidding.

Who can take part in Auctions?

As a member, you will have acquired a certain number of auction credits, based on your spending with Manchester City since the start of the season.  These credits are what you bid with.

Open to all members– Whether you are Superbia, Platinum, Gold or a Blue member – you can take part now in the auctions beta web site.

If you’re not a member and you would like to take part – it’s just £10 to become a Blue member.

There are a few things worth noting about the City auctions web site.

Auction credits should not be confused with loyalty points – they are entirely separate.

Your credits can be spent on the auction site, whereas your loyalty points will continue to grow over the seasons as they always have done – untouched.

When you sign in, using your normal log in details, Supporter Number and password, the number of auction credits you have earned will be displayed. There’s a list of them in the My Account section too.

If you need to change your email or password you can do so via mcfc.co.uk or mcfc.co.uk/tickets

Have a look around the site – see which lots currently available you are interested in – or see what’s coming up soon if there’s something you want to save your auction credits for.

There are two types of auctions. The highest bid and the lowest unique bid.

For a highest bid auction – the supporter who bids the most auction credits by the time the auction closes, will win the prize. For the winner, the number of auction credits they have bid will then be deducted from your total. Similar to ebay.

We will then contact you with any further details necessary to collect your prize.

For the lowest unique bid – simply guess the number you think will the lowest unique number out of everyone who takes part.   It will cost you a set number of auction credits to make guess, regardless of whether you win or not.

When the auction closes, the supporter who guesses the lowest number, which no one else has also guessed, will win the prize!

The auctions site unfortunately is not open to our supporters under 18 – however, prizes are transferable so look out for prizes specifically for the juniors in your family.

Most of all – the auctions web site is just for fun.

If you would like to know more about the techy side of the development, we will follow up with a more detailed post once all the feedback is in.

We hope you like it!


About this blog

This is the official blog of the digital and media team at MCFC.

MCFC Geeks Official Twitter

  • If you are, please take a screen shot and let us know what device and o/s you are using - thank you! 1 week ago

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,689 other followers