birmingham.io

Review my Project Please

Howdy everyone,

some of you already know my project, mi-bodi. If you don’t, it’s a health/diet tracking
appliciation. It is a bit rough around the edges and there are lots of improvements I intend to make.

I would really appreciate if anyone could take the time to have a look at it and test it out. You can create an account for free here.

Any & all feedback would be great.

Here are some examples of questions I have.

  • Is it clear what the point of the application is?
  • How does it fair against other similar applications?
  • Is it user friendly and easy to understand?
  • Does it require too much hard work?
  • What are the features you do & don’t like?
  • Do you think you might continue to use it?

I really would love to take this project to the big leagues because I hope it can help a lot of people.
At the moment I can not afford to take this much further, so people’s opinions would really help me to know whether or not I should look into finding investors (even if that is just a KickStarter campaign).

To answer your questions :

  • Yes, it’s clear what it’s point is.
  • I don’t know how it compares against others, I’ve not used anything except distance tracking/mapping when running and a standalone app (fatsecret) which I’ve entered my weight into about 4 times in 2 years.
  • Some of the forms could do with improving (error messages against relevant fields, for example).
  • I can’t tell if it requires too much hard work, I’m probably not the intended audience.
  • Can’t answer re features really.
  • No. I’m unlikely to use it. To have any chance of me using it, I’d probably need to be nagged via some sort of mobile(?) notification to update it 2-3 times a day. After 2-3 days I’d probably get fed up and remove the app.

Other things –

I like the front page - it’s got a nice graphic and layout. The domain name is good - and pretty much tells me all about the site.

My eyes quickly found “You have drank 2 liters” (drunk?) on the front page, and after I registered and had a quick poke around, I came across a couple of other obvious spelling typos.

Strangely it seems to render/appear better on my mobile than on my ‘desktop’. I’m guessing you’ve designed it primarily for mobile?

It looks like you’ve written your own blog - from experience if I were in your position I’d want to re-use something like Wordpress for this functionality - so I could concentrate my time on doing the more interesting things (like weight tracking / graphs / reports / alerts / promotions …). I can try and give you some pointers with regards to Wordpress integration if it is of use.

http://www.mi-bodi.com/register.php - could do with some formatting and placeholder text within the fields. I think you could do with better validation on the form fields (e.g the form implies I could register a username of ‘admin’ but presumably I couldn’t/shouldn’t).

Ideally the site should allow people to signup using OAuth (I think) (the “Sign In with Facebook/Google/Twitter …” behaviour you’ll see on sites).

If you keep the ‘manual signup’ option then you should probably send the end user an email to validate their email address and to try and stop automated signups / spam - but hopefully that won’t be a problem until your site becomes more popular.

Finally - see :
http://www.mi-bodi.com/blog.php?page=<img%20src="//lolwut.com/layout/lolwut.jpg"> (Site is vulnerable to Cross Site Scripting).

</2p>

David.

Ah - I see you do have email verification (although I could sign in before I’d verified my email). … it seemed to take a few minutes to arrive in my gmail inbox…

I’ll shut up now…

I have told @catherine that the website is great for own projects or to help build an online CV.

I think typos are ok in design stages and it’s great that someone can point out a few. @TheGingerDog review is great and also the Cross Site Scripting needs to sort out. I would go for a Wordpress if I was taking it in production. I would focus on the core functionality and use some sort of frontent framework just to get more presentable. Regards to daily usage… I would use in for 2 - 3 days then I’d easily to forget about it. If you should love around, there are boat loads of competitor or similar website that has an app or mobile version (responsive).

Here are few frontend frameworks to look at. Use one for now then when you have completed the core functionality, move on.

Thanks, @TheGingerDog That’s is a very clear and concise review.

The project is very rough around the edges, definitely needs polishing(something I have been avoiding). Typos are a thing I can never see lol :smile:

That is something I have been thinking of looking into, but I didn’t know what it was called.

I am a bit good at responsive css, but I am lazy sometime and only really build for Chrome at the moment so if you are using a different browser, maybe that’s why…

Wow, I didn’t know that cross site scripting thing could happen. Thanks again, it’s been very helpful.

@SylarRuby Thanks for the support, I think I might have to give into the front end frameworks. Something I am going to have a look at any.

I am definitely going to look into the mobile app side. Wondering whether to try making one with PHP (not the best way though…). Might have to ask the community about app making lol

@catherine Just stick to your PHP. I now use Laravel.

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My advice on this topic is to go down the responsive website route. Create a single site that works both on desktop and mobile browsers. My thoughts on why are summed up quite well in this video:

As for practical help building a responsive site, both Bootstrap and Foundation (and no doubt lots of other css frameworks) make this easy

Hi Catherine,

I haven’t reviewed what you’ve done, but I would consider a name change, not that I have any issue with the name, I think it’s quite good.

The problem could be, that if you start to gain some traction, I fear Nintendo could take an interest. Their claim may be that the name is too similar to their Mii characters and easily confused, given that they also produce fitness games and accessories.

Now it’s not for me to argue whether they would be right, wrong, fair, unreasonable etc. What you need to consider is that if Nintendo threaten you with litigation, you have two choices:

1/ Apologise and change the name within timescales they find acceptable
2/ Fight the cause

Option 2 is expensive. It would no doubt cost tens of thousands of pounds, possibly more. If you win, then great, although you won’t recover all of these costs. If you lose, you’ll not only have an expensive legal bill, but you’ll be liable for most of Nintendo’s costs as well.

Of course, Nintendo may never take any interest but for the sake of picking a different name and domain, I personally wouldn’t risk it.

I’ll register and take a closer look later today if I get time.

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Thanks, that is sort of the route I have taken. I use the website on my mobile but I don’t have a contract so internet connection is an issue for someone like me. If I could have the data stored on my phone without internet access and it uploads to the database when there is a connection, that would help.
I was on holiday recently and did not have WiFi, so I ended up having to writing it down on paper and back log in the data when I got home.

Plus, it is another part of the market to represent the project on. Everyone seems to love ‘apps’.

It would also make putting reminders on the user’s phone easier.

Still, it is all just another thing to think about and get around to. (Going to watch that vid in a minute, so if at answers all those issues, sorry :smile: lol)

Great point @PhilW, I had a lot of trouble finding a name, so kind of ended up settling. I wanted to call it MyBioMetriX, which I loved but it was taken. Every name I could think of was taken.
mi-bodi is sort of taken by mibodi.com and mibodi pilates.

I definitely don’t want to contend with Nintendo lol

If only Sean Parker could just tell me lose the ‘the’. Maybe I should go for bodi.com.

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Here’s how I see this project (and how I approach most of my own projects) - no one is saying that it can’t be an app eventually - but I think before it can be an app, there needs to be some proper justification for making it an app.

As mentioned in the video, apps are expensive to build and maintain, and at this early stage, you don’t know if there is any real demand for what you’re building. You’re entering into a market which is gaining lots of popularity right now, and while you’re idea is unique (I think), you need to properly justify that it’ll work (after all, there might be a reason why no one else is doing what you’re doing).

It’s because of this that I suggest you start with a responsive website. I understand that not everyone has access to a data connection all of the time, but it’s becoming more and more prevalent. Use a cheap and easy to build prototype (such as what you already have) to prove the concept. Once you’ve truly proven the concept, and maybe have maybe gained some money to do further development - then you can think about making it into app.

I’m doing the same with at least 3 of my other projects - they’re all being built as responsive websites first, and once I know there is real demand for an app, I’ll build an app (so far that hasn’t happened - but I’m glad that I’ve not spent lots of money finding that out).

If there is one tip I’d give anyone about names and domains names - never discuss what domain names you want in public before you’ve secured the domain for yourself.

Many years ago, when I was first getting into web development, I built a site called The Eerie Network (it was Fortean in nature; reporting on unusual things). I really wanted to get eerie.net for it, so I remember contacting my host and asking him to buy it for me (this was before I knew I could do such things myself) then went telling everyone on the alt.folklore.ghost-stories usenet group that I would soon own eerie.net.

It turns out that someone had seen this message, knew that I wanted it, so went and registered it for themselves before my host had a chance. I have no idea who this person was, but it didn’t take long for a page to appear saying ‘this domain for sale, $10,000’ (or some other totally stupid price).

I had to get eerie.org instead (and thought a rename to The Eerie Organisation - but didn’t).

TL;DR, Never talk about domains until you own said domains.

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I have heard similar stories. Some kids with a start-up discussed domain name ideas in a coffee shop, and someone sitting in the coffee shop brought every single one they discussed.
It sucks that it happened to you.

There seem to be a lot of empty domains, the owners just waiting for someone to be desperate enough to buy the name.

Great thinking, walk before I run sort of thing. I have a long list of things I need to do for the project first anyway.

What do you think about KickStarter or Crowdfunding in general and for my project? Mainly, right now it is my time that is ‘costly’. Investing more time in the project means time away from looking for clients or a job. I live with my parent atm, so I’m not exactly on hard time, but I can not expect them to support me if the project is worth nothing. A kickstarter campaign would help spread to the word and judge people’s interest in the project.

Sadly, this is not really, in my experience, the way it works. You spread the word, and thus people find out about your kickstarter project, and if they’re interested they’ll contribute. But people don’t find the kickstarter project out of nowhere; they find it because you tell them about it†. And, in general, if you have the time to go out and tell people about the crowdfunding campaign, then you are probably best using that time to just go and tell people about mi-bodi. Crowdfunding is good when you have a specific goal in mind and a specific amount of money to achieve it; “continue building mi-bodi” isn’t really specific enough. The hard part of crowdfunding isn’t the campaign; it’s the marketing so that people become aware of the campaign, I’ve found, and if you know how to reach a big potential customer base already then it’s worth using that knowledge to tell them about the site as it stands.

† some will, of course, find it by just browsing kickstarter for interesting-looking stuff, but almost always not enough of them will.

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Alas, this is outside my area of knowledge, so I can’t really comment on it, or any other means of gaining funding, such as a bank loan, venture capital, grants, etc… (although I’m sure someone else here might be able to help) - but before you even think about that side of things you need a business plan.

It’s one thing to work on an idea in your spare time, it’s something totally different to try and make money from it - the rules change, and where people may be willing to help you for free on a little toy project, once money is involved, people want to get paid.

Again, if you can, prove the concept without spending any money - once you’ve proven the concept, think about writing a business plan, and go from there.

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Why are we focusing on the name?? The name is so not important. Catherine’s targeted market uses apps on their mobile device. I would sit down and plan this correctly. If it’s just a project then I’ll leave it as that but if I want to take it globally or as a business, I would look at the mobile apps market. @DaveDev can give you more info about Xamarin but you have to program in C# :frowning: PhoneGap is also great if you know your JavaScript well.

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Yes and no.

I agree that at this point in the process a name isn’t important. I’m working on something at the moment with a code name of ‘first-thirty’ - it won’t be called that at launch, but it’ll do as something temporary while I’m building the idea.

But @PhilW pointed out the very important fact that it IS very similar to Nintendo’s 'Mii’s, and as Nintendo are also in the fitness business (with their wiimotes and balance boards, etc…) it’s an important thing to keep in mind.

I don’t disagree with this - but I also know that app development is expensive, which means that @catherine either has to spend time learning how to build native apps and/or technologies such as PhoneGap (which is all time she’s not spending working on her core idea) before she can think about implementation.

As I mentioned before - she can easily achieve the same goals with a responsive website version of the idea, and if it takes off, she can think about going down the native route, or building it using PhoneGap.

I have been thinking of writing a ‘plan of action’ or ‘business plan’ of sorts. I truely am a novice, “faking it, til I make it” lol and don’t really know where to start.

I know I don’t want to go down the stick advertisement all over your site approach.
I have been considering a membership option which includes more features. That would be further down the line.
Or to ask for donations.

To be honest, my problem is I am stuck in limbo as to whether or not I should continue. Does the project have enough potential that if I invest two more months solid work into it, it would be polished enough for people to take it seriously?

As it is personal to me, I am going to continue with it anyway. But should I go down the business track?

I was also thinking, further down the line, I could have a separate end of the project that scientists/researchers could have paid membership for to access the data and also run tests. They could use the site to pay people to test their products or hypothesises and collect the data that way…

My take on a business plan:

Unless you intend to try and raise investment, or get some sort of buy-in from other people (potential cofounders), then a business plan isn’t particularly important providing you have a good understanding of what you are trying to achieve.

If you follow lean principles, your startup idea will consist of lots of small experiments used to determine whether your assumptions about what people want are correct or not. The outcomes of these tests will determine to some extent what comes next. It’s highly likely that what you think people want, and what people actually want is somewhat different. The lean approach enables you to carry out validated learning tests to determine what people want, and the product develops based upon the feedback received.

By all means have an action plan, this is a great approach to getting things done, but don’t do anything more complex than a bulleted, prioritised list. Be sure to make your goals measurable, and set deadlines.

The only way your going to know for sure whether the project has enough potential is to get something out there that people can use (which it looks like you’ve done already). The next step will be to decide what criteria needs to be met to determine whether you want to take it further.

This might sound arduous but it doesn’t have to be. You might find reading “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries to be very helpful. It’s an easy read and very enlightening when it comes to dealing with exactly the problems you are facing at the moment.

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