While developing our iPhone app, we thought we were building something useful for football clubs all over the world. As the programming of our first version drew to a close, our app saw some initial success when we used it here in Canada. Though this was promising, until we had feedback from outside our sphere of personal contacts, all we had was a hypothesis. It was of particular interest to see if this would be embraced by clubs in the UK, the birthplace of association football.
Prior to the Non-League Day weekend, from across the Atlantic, over Twitter we reached out to clubs that were already in the habit of tweeting live match updates to see if we could get our first "real" user. When we asked about their experiences providing live updates, several clubs responded, and told us a bit about some of the difficulties they usually encounter.
@TheTallyVic (Tantallon Victoria from Glasgow) told us that our feature that allows player names to be inserted from a list could be helpful. @HeadinglyRover (Headingley Rovers FC) told us that our feature that prepends the match time to each tweet would help them compile match reports after the fact. Both of these clubs tweet from Android phones, so we weren't ready to help them just yet, but the feedback encouraged us.
Of the clubs that showed interest, one went ahead and tweeted their Non-League Day match with our app. @OssettTownAFC tweeted close to 30 live updates of their thrilling encounter with Burscough FC, which saw them come back from 2 goals down for a draw. After the match they told us that the app made things easier. And on the day of writing this, we received further validation: they used our app again, to tweet their match today.
Now we have much more confidence that we have indeed built something useful. The next step is to get it into the hands of the clubs that need it. Over the coming weeks, we'll be approaching more clubs, and helping them out, one at a time. Of course, we'd be happy to have assistance in spreading the word, so if you know a club that could use this, feel free to reach out!