GoPlayPool: What IS it?
So I had been hearing about this new pool app, GoPlayPool, for a while now. They seem to be into everything, and I see their name popping up more and more. They have definitely done a good job at marketing - But what exactly is it? And is it worth downloading, even though it's free?
At the core of the app is a listing of all the pool halls across the nation, and it's marketing has been mainly directed towards that focus - Find a pool hall wherever you are. It's actually a great idea for players who are on the road a lot for business. I even recommended the app to a friend who was asking for pool hall advice. I feel like I should preface the remainder of this article with - I think it's a great start, and no app out of the gate is going to have it all. However....
While the overall idea is unique and appealing to me as a pool player, the app itself is very young in its development, and the current organization is a bit haphazard. The opening page is geared towards the advertisers, and decreases the overall usability of the app. Additionally, the "Back" button on any given screen will sometimes take the user to the previous screen, and sometimes take them all the way back to the home screen. While the main focus of the app seems to be on pool rooms and tournaments, other random lists and sections add to the "haphazard" feel of the application.
With additional sections for:
- League Information
- Streaming Information
- Tour Directories
- News Outlets
- Photo Gallery/Music
The calendar is a list of tournaments. It details out the name of the tour, the date, and the pool hall. It' definitely a nice tool to see all the stops for a given weekend, but it does not list the city or state, so unless you happen to know which state a pool hall is in, you would have to go somewhere else to look up the event.
The flyers are great because they list all the details of any given tournament, but, like the calendar, are only listed in chronological order, and difficult to search. Additionally, the timing appears to be off - it has flyers available for tournaments that have already passed. It seems that the calendar and flyers should be linked together, so when you find an event with a flyer, you can go from the event listed on the calendar directly to its associated flyer.
Pool Room Information
Pool rooms are listed in two ways - by phone number or by map. The map is definitely the most user-friendly section of the app, with an easy search tool at the top. The list of pool rooms is broken down by city, then room name, but is not searchable or easy to navigate.
Since this is a free app, the developers are expecting to make their money through advertising, which is apparent through banner ads, special sections on the home page, and detailed information on designated pool halls, which has definitely taken away from the appeal of the app.
The additional areas are in their infantile stages, and are almost confusing to have listed on the app at this time. For example, there's a music section where you can buy some music, but it just seems to be randomly placed (and difficult to find). Other things, such as the photographs, seem like a great idea, but with little organization and no search function, the photos would eventually just be lost in a sea of images. The information they have on leagues is very minimal compared to the number of leagues in existence, and given that the information is already available elsewhere (ie, on the APA site), it doesn't make sense for them to list it in its incomplete form.
The information for the streamers, again, is simply a list of information that seems somewhat incomplete. It would be nice to know when the streams are going on, perhaps another schedule of events, but the list is simply the streamers contact information and social networking links. I would expect that if the app's sole intention is to just collect data for all the areas of the sport (leagues, tournaments, pool rooms, etc.), they would make a genuine effort to make the data easily searchable/easy to find.
I can definitely see an exciting future for the app. Hopefully there are more plans in the next phase of development, and, given the focus on data, the current developers can enlist the help of a database expert to really help tie together the different portions of the app and bring the data to life.