myLeaderbaord: sometimes it's the little things...

Sometimes technology makes your life better and sometimes it goes the other way. For me at the PGA Championship at Southern Hills on Sunday, it was a bit of both. One of my frustrations with attending golf tournaments is the no cell phone rule. Now, let me be very clear, I think it is a good rule as most people are not responsible with their phones - but it still bugs me. That being said I had an experience with a device that helped - but not relieved - my iPhone withdrawals.

I knew not being able to use the internet on the phone to keep track of what was going on everywhere else on the course - enter myLeaderboard. myLeaderboard is a device (and company) that debuted at the PGA Championship last year, and I had my first run-in with it this past weekend.

First the good:
  • The first 1000 American Express cardholders got them free this past weekend
  • The system is incredibly easy to use - intuitive, simple, and efficient in locating information
  • Good integration with the entire tournament experience - directions, locations of critical facilities, and other content made this very useful
  • Fantastic idea considering the cell phone rule

Now the bad, and some of it is very bad:
  • For a system named "myLeaderboard" one would expect timely updates on the, you know, leaderboard. I could not get updates late in the afternoon to save my life - for example when Tiger was on 15, his score on the device showed his score through 4 only. No error message, no updates, nothing except for a spinning refresh indicator. As someone who manages software development projects for a living I can tell you, this is a poor user experience that should be remedied ASAP. Don't add a single new feature or update until the system can be made more reliable, and give the user appropriate error information
  • The UI design is simple, but it is not graceful - it looks like a web page circa 1999
  • Also, update the technology. A 'web 2.0' technology upgraded could really improve the user-friendliness and usability

All in all it was an OK experience - for free. This system was not ready to be sold for $25 a day at a major championship. But to you guys at myLeaderbaord keep it up, this is a great idea - you just need to step up your execution on it.

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