As promised to some of our members I've reached out to Sygic to try and see if we can work out a fix for recent connectivity issues with Sygic and MRA mobile.
We’re happy to announce a major feature release as we work towards Roadmap milestone 1.2. For those unfamiliar with that term: the Roadmap outlines all of our development efforts relating to MRA Routeplanner, encompassing 10 clearly defined milestones.
Today we celebrate the full release of our new Roundtour Generator and a reworked routelab.
This is a historic moment, because the new Roundtour Generator was designed from the ground up with input from our community. Not only did over sixty-eight thousand people help us in deciding that the Roundtour Generator was to be a priority, over twenty-four thousand people provided input in a questionnaire to aid in designing the roundtour generator. By involving the community we created a democratic and representative basis for decisionmaking. In that same spirit, the core functionality of the new Roundtour Generator is also available for all MRA Routeplanner Basic members.
Some features of the Roundtour Generator will follow at a later date, though before the finalization of 1.5. These include route themes (plan a roundtour around a coastline or through a valley of castles) and further avoidance filters. The reason for this is that these features require more design and development and tie into our ambitions for revisiting the general routeplanning area as well.
In addition to the new Roundtour Generator we’re launching the re-envisioned Routelab. A no-nonsense starting point where the goal is to get you back to your favorite parts of MRA Routeplanner designed to be both recognizable for existing members whilst ensuing a modern, premium look-and-feel.
Special thanks go out to the RouteXperts and MRA Ambassadors, who have provided insight and input in fine-tuning this polished release.
As always with new software, there might be a nasty little bug or two that escaped our squashing efforts. Please let us know if you encounter anything that shouldn’t happen.
May great adventures lie ahead of you,
Your Community Manager,
Dear members of the MRA Community,
For those of you who have been around for some time, you'll know me as the Community Manager. Our original members might even remember that in 2013 I started at this company in the role of UI/UX designer/creative lead.
Since late 2020 I've been in talks with our management regarding my future in the MyRoute-app team. I strongly believe that transparency, openness and a constructive attitude towards all problems that a small company might deal with are keys to success. Over the past two years I've grown to become a driver for the further organizational maturity of our company (on which I even wrote a blog back in 2019), day-to-day coordination of activities and point of contact for our wide variety of partners.
These are among the reasons that it was time for a formal change of role, as my responsibilities and mandate have grown far beyond the limitative definition of community management. That's why since the first of june 2021 I have been apointed as the first Chief Operating Officer (COO) of MyRouteApp B.V.. With this new formal mandate I will continue our quest for company growth, team fullfillment and community satisfaction. As our team is still relatively small, I'll retain some of the responsibilities I had as the community manager for the time being while we reevaluate how we want to fulfull this role in the future. Other responsibilities have been documented and transferred. As such, I will remain active on the forum, to engage with each and every user for as long as possible as I strongly believe this place to be the true driver of success for MyRoute-app.
Hoping to provide you with ever improving services for many years to come,
Chief Operating Officer
Hi Greenham, you're clearly upset. That said I also find it rather hard to follow your entire train of thought throughout your argument, but I'll try to distill some of your comments, complaints and thoughts in a respectable and coherent response. If you decide to answer, I expect the same in return.
Your main point seems to be that MRA Navigation hasn't received enough attention. While that might have been true for a long time, that's no longer the case. Yes, the iOS version of the app suffers from occasional stutters but over the past few weeks we've deployed a major overhaul for the app that significantly improves stability and performance. The entire core of the app that handles Navigation was rewritten. In addition, shaping points, via points and POI's are being implemented as we speak. If you don't believe me: there's a closed beta testing group that's currently testing this version. If you want I could sign you up for it, but note that this will override your main MRA Navigation (stable) version. That's also the reason why our testing group isn't public.
As for MRA Video, we've said it several times and rehearsed it here as well: especially because people have massively turned out to tell us MRA Navigation and MRA Routeplanner should be our focus, we've shifted the main focus there. We remain committed to further expanding on the social features of MRA Video in the future though. MRA Routeplanner and MRA Navigation are our focus; I believe that this aligns with what you expect us to do.
Regarding your comment on shaping and via points not being available: perhaps you've not found them yet. You can now turn waypoints into either a shaping or via point that's compatible both with Garmin. As I said, an update for MRA Navigation is in the works.
Finally a very big accusation is that we're making one million dollars a year for every 100 users. That would be true if they were all members with an annual subscription. I'd like to point out that such accusations are very damaging for our reputation and would only be fair if they'd be based on facts. Note that this is not the case. Over 95% of MRA Routeplanner users is using the free of charge basic membership. In addition: a large portion of the GOLD members are lifetime members like yourself: this means a one-time payment. In addition, the growth we're so happy with is usually seasonal: that's the period where people start riding their bikes or cars. We share this with the community because we find it relevant to let you know that there is growth in the community.
Overall I'd invite you to share your thoughts with me on what could be communicated better and perhaps some thoughts of your own, as to what you thing is missing right now. We've got an entire Roadmap planned out full of features that were literally voted on by the community.
On request of you, the user, I have delved a bit deeper into the ongoing issue of waypoints not receiving the appropriate adress while using MyRoute-app.
As you all know MyRoute-app is a small company. As a result of this, many of our suppliers see this as an opportunity to request huge sums for previously cheap or even free licences. It is a continuous struggle to get fair deals. In recent negotiations Google requested that we would start paying an unacceptably high price for the feature that automatically puts the adress on a waypoint. In light of transperancy on this issue I am informing you that as a result of this we have decided to simply refuse the contract and explore alternatives. This means that all your waypoints will be named "waypoint" upon placement.
As a small company we are sometimes forced to innovate in areas we thought we had covered. At present, it is disappointing to scrap a feature because of that, but, over time, this makes us stronger and more resilient to change. MyRoute-app will never change its position on the availability of free features for our BASIC users and a fair price for paying members.
We, motorists and motorcyclists, have something special here at MyRoute-app. We listen, we do our best and we are transparent even when it would be easier not to be. We do this because you deserve to hold us accountable for our performance. We are not guided by shareholders or sheer profits, we are guided by your trust.
When we started 8 years ago, I was hired as the general purpose graphics designer. No experience, and no schooling. Truly, the original argument really was "I like the doodles you scratched into the school desk". 8 years ago, MRA was nothing more than a nice idea.
Back then, the feedback was that we were one of the best looking systems out there. That's easy, compared to classic Tyre and Basecamp. But times have moved on, and so has the competition. My school-desk-scratching skills aren't always up for the task anymore and there's no shame in admitting that.
Even before people started complaining (which honestly is a pretty recent thing happening, especially with the icons), we were already trying to create more room to hire the right kind of talent to once again blow the competition away with a visual design that matches the awesome functionality.
These days I try to stick to Functional Design and User Experience Design, whilst leaving the visual heavy lifting to others. It's a transitional period, but I'm certain you'll like the end results when they start being slapped over the old.
As for those who are satisfied: it is exactly why I keep control over the FD and UXD processes; our community has specific wishes that need to be taken into account regarding functionality. And while I will concede that the visual design could be better, I strongly believe that we have great functionality.
Since 2017 we've been at work to not only provide the best routeplanner out there, but also to give real travel enthusiasts the experience of a fully fledged navigation system on their smartphone. This dream is MRA Navigation, and from the very beginning it has been a rocky road for some users.
After years of tackling our app woes on our own, splitting development attention between MRA Routeplanner and MRA Navigation we decided in the second half of 2020 to have our internal development team move their focus fully to MRA Routeplanner. Through a closed procurement procedure we contracted a long-term development partner for MRA Navigation, App-vise B.V. in the Netherlands.
Now, after almost a year of work we're ready to announce that the major Navigation revamp has been completed. On both iOS and Android we experience a 96.8% crashless performance, wih crashfree performance in navigation apps of <90% signalling that MRA Navigation remains a top tier navigation app. Not only that, we have added new waypoint features and POI visibility.
In the very near future we plan to finally release Apple Carplay, as well as nearby routes and a brand new roundtour generator (although experienced users will have figured out by now that using both the MRA Routeplanner mobile app and MRA Navigation provides seamless roundtour generator performance.
To celebrate this major milestone we've created a brand new landing page for you to explore. Check it out here!
Some time ago I wrote about the continuous path of growth that small companies walk. In the past few months we’ve seen the single biggest increase in members at MyRoute-app as well as the biggest organisational changes since the inception in 2013. Finally, we’ve all had a well-deserved holiday break to catch some breath before shifting back and slamming the throttle again. In this blog I’ll tell you all about what we’ve been up to in the past weeks.
Since October, 35.000 new members have joined MyRoute-app. On average, 101 new members join MyRoute-app every single day. In addition, partnerships with both for-profit and non-profit organisations have skyrocketed. We’ve closed contracts with our primary suppliers that incentivize symbiotic growth and we’ve outsourced many non-vital processes to optimize company performance.
For starters, we’ve decided to outsource knowledge that comes secondary to our own programmers. Instead of focussing on many things at once, our core development team will prioritize on the development of MyRoute-app WEB and MRA Video. Specialized expertise such as server maintenance and DevOps is now in the hands of a contractor. Additionally, the development and maintenance work for our apps is in the process of being transferred to a second contractor. Going for outsourcing has created much more capacity on building out MyRoute-app WEB, MRA Video and MRA Navigation. Separating these tasks allows us to work in parallel on features, maintenance and bug fixing.
Directly related to this is how we’re now drastically reducing the number of bugs in MyRoute-app. There’s a big backlog of problems that need fixing, but we’re pushing through them at previously unknown speeds. To immediately reflect on our own performance on where we can improve: we’re not communicating enough about which problems have been resolved. This too will change in the very near future. The support team now uses smart tagging to mark support tickets that demonstrate the behaviour of certain bugs, so that the development team can easily access all the available information regarding a certain bug. In addition, two-weekly sprints are held to review and assign bugs with the team.
As for MRA Video we’re now in the last stages of the closed beta. Having built a stable concept that’s been thoroughly tested we’re almost ready to move forward into a second stage beta for early contributors. Currently the main blockers for this move are not with the core tech of MRA Video, but making sure that opening the second stage will go far smoother than the original MyRoute-app WEB beta and the release of MRA Navigation. We’re trying to learn from our mistakes after all. As for the practical terms of the second stage beta: it’ll become available for MyRoute-app All-in-one members as well as people that pre-order MRA Video. At the end of the second stage beta a survey will go out to gather features for a MRA Video specific roadmap.
Shortly after opening the second stage of MRA Video we will finally release the RoadMap for MyRoute-app WEB. This long awaited plan has crept in scope, which explains the longer wait. Why have we let the scope creep? Because we decided that if we’re making a RoadMap then everything should be on it. In light of continued transparency we will showcase everything on our RoadMap that the team could possibly be working on. This includes things that might be of less interest to individual members, but are important to the continued prosperity of our platform. Contrary to many companies we’re not hiding the commercial parts of MyRoute-app. Having a great route-planner is important, but so is having a high-conversion shop to buy products from. With this we continue the trend of full transparency and high member-satisfaction.
In conclusion we’re at the metaphorical night before the party. There’s plenty of reason for excitement and we’re glad to share it with you.
As always, feel free to discuss and comment.
Your community manager,
Our users generate most of the feature ideas that drive MyRoute-app forwards. In this specific thread, we'll summarize suggestions put forward on the forum. A suggestion might have multiple interpretations, as such, all relevant interpretations will be linked here. Participants are encouraged to discuss suggestions within their respective threads. This thread should be used only for the discussion of the list itself, its' structure and possibly its' level of accuracy.
Last updated on the 11th of march, 2020.
By your request we've chased down the opportunity to develop products for next-generation vehicles outfitted with Apple Carplay. On behalf of the team I'm very happy to announce that MyRoute-app has finally been granted access to Apple Carplay development. This means that we will be able to make our apps available on Apple Carplay in the future.
We've been petitioning both Google and Apple to grant us access to their respective systems since 2018. Every single time we've been ignored. At the same time, many members in this community who use Carplay kept asking us when they could expect Navigation to become available for those systems. As a final act of defiance we reached out to the European Commission's Anti-Trust Agency. After gathering knowledge about our rights, we made a final plea to both Google and Apple to grant us access.
Slightly later than requested, we gained word from Apple that they had failed to pick up our previous requests. They immediately granted us access to the Apple Development area (for which we are very grateful). We look forward to working with apple to bringing MyRoute-app to Carplay compatible devices. Since we are now finally in contact with Apple and have received an explanation for the events as well as a workable solution, we will not pursue an Anti-Trust investigation. Sadly, since Google hasn't reacted, we will have to come up with a different strategy.
In light of continued full transperency, see the attached communications between Apple and MyRoute-app below. We've omitted all private and project information for reasons of privacy and partnership.
(Blue text by MRA, Black text by Apple)
Your community manager,
After 'riding in' the new BMW during a short break I'm now back at the office. It has been quite an adventure, particularly because the car was delivered with summer tires right before we've had the (hopefully last major) snowwy weekend in north-western Europe. Driving down an 1100m high mountain on an unsalted road with no guard rail in a brand new RWD -sedan on summer tires is something I don't wish on anyone. Did make for some top-gear esque moments though (because I literally could not brake).
Vehicle survived. So did I. Some permanent sweat-stains in the steering wheel though, but that's now part of this car's story. What's also part of this car's story is that this will be the vehicle in which the brand new MRA Mobile app was first tested for a very, very long time both on Android and iOS. Aside some minor UI/UX issues, the app worked flawlessly and with a better battery-performance than the current app. This is particularly noteworthy as I also took the opportunity to test the latest build of the Navigation app (again, both on iOS and Android) thoroughly. The app worked amazingly well and held up great throughout the ride; especially since BMW decided to remove the route-import feature on their native navigation system. Even in a modern state-of-the-art vehicle MRA Navigation continues to be an asset to the distinguished traveler.
Now that I'm back, I'll be brought back up to speed in the coming days. I'll also compile my experiences and test results in video's and posts here and on our Social Media account!
See you around!
I'm not going to reiterate the amount of effort we put in getting access to either platform, that information can be easily found here on the Forum. We're aware of Android Auto now being available for development and will certainly add the feature in the future, but we' re not going to drop everything we've planned so far because Google suddenly decides to open up. That wouldn't be fair to everyone who's waiting for other features.
If Android comes across as a second class platform, that's likely because it handles like a second class platform. I recently switched back from iPhone to Android because I didn't want to sell my soul for a small piece of hardware (which is a whole other ballpark of problems) but so far the experience has been subpar compared to iOS.
From a more philosophical point of view: I think it is absurd that developing for two platforms requires two completely different skill sets, different development capabilities and in the end, different people. I sincerely hope for the convergence of technology to the point where developing apps is no longer the hassle it is today.
To illustrate, a group we're all forgetting is the WinPhone community. The small percentage of users doesn't justify the possible risks. However, that doesn't mean it wouldn't be nice to include those users too.
After a long design process we’re now ready to release the roadmap for the MyRoute-app Routeplanner for public viewing. A momentous event, and all members of the MRA Community Forum are the first to know!
The Roadmap is meant as a way to comprehensively and transparently publish our ambitions for the MyRoute-app Routeplanner. This way, you’ll be able to actively track what we’re doing including the often unseen “background work” in the form of infrastructure upgrades.
The MRA Routeplanner, formerly known as just "MyRoute-app", has been continuously developed since 2013. Containing both a free and paid subscription, the MRA Routeplanner is fast becoming the standard for motorcyclists and motorists worldwide. With an active community of over 190.000 enthusiastic users, the MRA Routeplanner is not only an industry leader, it is one of the most ambitious community-driven projects in its field. The combined feedback of the community and the development team led to this roadmap.
We’ve broken down the RoadMap into ten milestones, labelled 1.0 to 2.0. Each milestone consists out of one or more projects from one of three categories. The project categories are:
GREEN: System Features
System features are upgrades to MRA Routeplanner that have been designed and planned by the development team.
BLUE: Community Features
Community Features are upgrades to MRA Routeplanner that have been designed and voted for by the MyRoute-app community.
YELLOW: Internal Infrastructure
Internal Infrastructure upgrades are improvements to invisible systems and processes that increase sustainability and efficiency.
In parallel to this publicly viewable roadmap, we’ve also transitioned to powerful project management tools that allow us to track, manage and complete individual tasks on each project and each milestone. We’re confident that this way we’ll be able to actively release features and updates on a more regular basis and conforming to a more recognizable pattern.
On a final note, please note that for each milestone we’ve now logged an estimated 3 month milestone duration. We aim to decrease the time between milestones, but as this is the very first time we’re going to be working on projects like this we wanted to project a duration that seems very attainable.
With great pride and on behalf of the entire MRA team we're hereby launching the first milestone on the MRA Routeplanner Roadmap. We've come a long way since the initial release of the MRA Routeplanner in 2013 and this release is imporant for several reasons. Not only does this update add loads of long requested features to MyRoute-app, it also signals the first step towards 2.0. and an important paradigm shift relating to how we work with the community.
Now on to the juicy part. This update includes the release of the following 3 features:
Shaping and via waypoints
Shaping and Via points are a familiar feature for BaseCamp users. These points allow users to define whether a route should always follow a waypoint or whether that waypoint may be ignored whilst travelling. This allows users to better shape their routes and provides flexibility on the road on Garmin navigation systems.
Improved "inbetween" waypoints
In MRA Routeplanner, you can enter waypoints inbetween existing waypoints. However, many members of the community have pointed out that this functionality needs better visibility whilst creating a route. At this time, it happens too often that users at the end of their route and not inbetween waypoints. With the improved "inbetween" waypoint adding functionality users will be presented with a user-friendly an intuitive tool that creates clear opportunities to add waypoints inbetween other waypoints.
With timed waypoints you will be able to add lunch breaks, stops and other timed events to your route. Timed waypoints allow you to adjust the arrival and departure times on individual waypoints as well as observe the duration of groups of waypoints together. This allows greater control over the effective duration of a route, as well as time-management for professional tour organizers and driving instructors.
On behalf of the team, thank you for your kind words everyone. Next week we hope to polish out the few blemishes that have so far been found in the features.
@Gary-France I do hope the release lives up to your expectations and allows you to use the MRA Routeplanner! As time goes on, we'll incrementally add new features to this existing feature base depending on how big of an impact they have on development capacity for the rest of the roadmap. An example though of a neat little nice-to-have that was slapped in is the waypoint calculator (I didn't see anyone mention it AND it's pretty niche, but still).
The calculator is found under "Toolkit"
This shows you a pop-up screen that allows you to do simple calculations without breaking out Windows' own calculator.
It works by selecting two waypoints. The calculator then shows you the real (not including breaks) distance in both time and kilometers between two points.
@StefanHummelink We will definitely have a poll, but I'll immediately admit that it won't be this year.
The reason why is very simple: when we released the RoadMap for MRA Routeplanner, we were already very satisfied with the existing system: it had tons of features, was inspiring to use as it had no equal on the market and as a result directly impacted the polling outcome. For example, were I to set up a poll now we'd probably see 90% of the votes going towards things like carplay-esque or roundtour-esque features, whilst if we wait those features will already be in there.
My plan is to scour the forum again somewhere during Fall or Winter 2021 to create a MRA Navigation specific feature poll, once again add our own ideas on that list and apply the same double-check democratic polling in the decision making system. Then, I'll once again publicize how we interpret the final roadmap as being a balancing act of "people's choice" and "company vision".
EN: Welcome to the MRA Café. Specific rules apply here, please read below.
NL: Welkom bij het MRA Café. Hier gelden specifieke regels, lees hieronder.
DE: Willkommen im MRA Café. Hier gelten spezielle Regeln, bitte lesen Sie unten.
FR: Bienvenue au MRA Café. Des règles spécifiques s'appliquent ici, veuillez lire ci-dessous.
ES: Bienvenido al MRA Café. Aquí se aplican reglas específicas, lea a continuación.
IT: Benvenuti al MRA Café. Qui si applicano regole specifiche, leggi di seguito.
Welcome to the MRA Café, here you can leave messages to share with us how it goes and what you are doing. Maybe you just want to tell us what you are doing or share your thoughts on something. Because we want to avoid discussions that are not productive or aimed at attacking people, we would like to point out the following additional rules:
Welkom in het MRA Café, hier kan je berichten achterlaten om met ons te delen hoe het gaat en waar je je mee bezig houd. Misschien dat je gewoon wil vertellen waar je mee bezig bent, of wil je je gedachten delen over iets. Omdat we willen voorkomen dat er hier discussies ontstaan die niet productief zijn of erop gericht zijn om personen aan te vallen willen we je op de volgende aanvullende regels wijzen:
Willkommen im MRA Café. Hier können Sie Nachrichten hinterlassen, um uns mitzuteilen, wie es geht und was Sie tun. Vielleicht möchten Sie uns nur sagen, was Sie tun, oder Ihre Gedanken zu etwas teilen. Da wir Diskussionen vermeiden möchten, die nicht produktiv sind oder darauf abzielen, Menschen anzugreifen, möchten wir auf die folgenden zusätzlichen Regeln hinweisen:
Bienvenue au MRA Café, ici vous pouvez laisser des messages pour partager avec nous comment ça se passe et ce que vous faites. Peut-être voulez-vous simplement dire ce que vous faites ou partager vos réflexions sur quelque chose. Parce que nous voulons éviter les discussions qui ne sont pas productives ou qui visent à attaquer les gens, nous tenons à souligner les règles supplémentaires suivantes:
Benvenuti al MRA Café, qui puoi lasciare messaggi per condividere con noi come va e cosa stai facendo. Forse vuoi solo dirci cosa stai facendo o condividere i tuoi pensieri su qualcosa. Poiché vogliamo evitare discussioni non produttive o volte ad attaccare le persone, vorremmo sottolineare le seguenti regole aggiuntive:
Bienvenido al MRA Café, aquí puede dejar mensajes para compartir con nosotros cómo va y qué está haciendo. Tal vez solo quiera decirnos lo que está haciendo o compartir sus pensamientos sobre algo. Debido a que queremos evitar discusiones que no son productivas o que apuntan a atacar a las personas, nos gustaría señalar las siguientes reglas adicionales:
There was no alarm, no crimson digits showing only zeroes, no rocket engines blasting, no window overlooking spewing out towers of smoke framing a beam of superheated gas. Neither was there a bustling operations room dominated by a wall of colourful screens. There was a small “connection lost” message in my screen, followed by a cheer from across of me.
I looked over my screens, across of me sat Daniël who was at that time busy linking the final digital cables of NodeBB into the framework of MyRoute-app. “We’re online”. He whooped.
I decided to smile, that the community blog I’d been writing on that afternoon had now disappeared beyond retrieval because of that small ‘connection lost’ hiccup shouldn’t spoil the mood even if at that time I just wanted to smash my head into the keyboard with great force. After all, this was a momentous achievement that should be celebrated. A broken keyboard would not be very festive.
Now as with all things we do we come across new issues the moment something is finally ‘done’. Usernames not synchronizing properly because apparently we at MRA are weird for using non-unique usernames (one would wonder why you even bother with UID’s in your database if you’re going to force unique usernames anyway) and the forum software absolutely didn’t approve of such chaotic conventions. Or usernames suddenly being too long. Or group tags not showing up. Or awards not being awarded. Or Community Blogs being deleted because of launches. It’s all part of the life.
Since that is all finished we can once more look forward. There’s tons of things to do now. First of all activity has to slowly start up. Then as activity grows beyond the scope of management and the forum proves its worth, features will be added. Finally the Community Leaders team will have to grow so that the Community Forum will become entirely self-regulated. We’ve been thinking about this feature since 2017 and now it’s finally here.
Now we must look to the future: Adding smart skipping to iOS Navigation. Implementing WEB 2.0. and the associated UI/UX update. Finally getting Apple and Google to stop ignoring us so we can start development for Android Auto and Apple Carplay. Growing the Community Teams with more RouteXperts, Instructors and Leaders. And much, much more.
Next week I’ll try to get you some more information on what and where the Community Blogs will be hosted in the foreseeable future. Even if we’re busy on “boring” things such as bugfixing, stability updates and refactoring, I’ll provide a nice window into the company so that you always know what’s going on and what we’re working on.
For now, all that rests me is to wish you a lot of fun with the forum.
Wishing you great adventures,
User @Callewaert-Francky mentioned voting for features in another thread so I thought this would be a nice source of discussion here on the forum. As I wrote my reaction I decided that if this turns out into a productive discussion we should probably move it to a different topic
It's an interesting idea that we've talked about on a lot. There are some concerns for such workings but we'll definitly consider it if the community is able to help us avoid problems. I'm going to dedicate some time to explaining it in this post, please forgive me if I over-explain or come across as patronizing: I'm simply trying to involve as big a part of the community in this as possible.
The problem of decision making
Imagine an obvious "we all want this really much" feature such as elevation. Now, any user on MyRoute-app will certainly enjoy being able to see elevation while tracking, planning a route or while for example showing a route to friends. But how do we know this?
Right now we know things like this because first of all Michel (the CEO) is an avid motorcyclist and has a lot of experience with route planning software and navigation devices on the end-user spectrum. Michel knows that by having elevation you're able to not only make a route more twisty, but also increase it's elevation pattern (very relevant for cyclists for example). Daniël, me and the other guys at the office know that this would be useful because we heard users about it and are able to deduct the relevance of such a feature from our direct surroundings (and having a good dash of creativity).
So we're completely on the same page there. Well, go ahead you must think! Forward into development, let's get that elevation profile done! We'll get started right away. But then something hit us: we also want to get Android Auto and Apple Carplay online and to be honest that would be a lot less technical work. With the same train of thought that we had before, we're able to deduct and verify that indeed Android Auto and Apple Carplay would at the very least be just as good as a new feature as elevation and there's another bonus: development doesn't need to get involved immediatly because management and finance will first need to pry open the closed doors of those tech giants to allow us access. Alas, management and finance are also caught up and in the end everything will still cost a lot of resources. Thus we might as well go ahead and just get everyone rallied around investing heavily into adding a suite of small new features that won't satisfy any existing user but would probably draw a lot more hikers and runners (a demographically small group right now) to MyRoute-app and the community around it.
Now let's look back on all that, what happened here? Why are we unable to develop things that would either be good for a certain group of our existing community (elevation), develop an innovative feature that would help in guaranteeing durability (Carplay) or invest heavily into an oppurtinity rich part of the community (more hiker features)? It's because those are all equally important and competing factors.
This balancing isn't done in weekly, monthly or even quarterly meetings. It's a continuous process that isn't entirely clear at all times but that translates fairly well into gut feeling because we're all experienced and work with a relatively small team. Of course we're expanding at the same time, so we've started to work with a strategic, tactical and operational goals, but that is an entirely different story. To get back on it, we know what can be done immediatly and what can't. We know when a feature is in harmony with all three goals and when it isn't.
The self regulating community and voting
Does that mean that the community should not have a voice? Absolutely not. In fact, the reason why we started this forum is because in part because we want to make the community self regulating and an even greater source for inspiration. The community will not be a blindly following trailer attached to a vehicle that they don't control, the community will be like a sail pulling MyRoute-app in the right direction.
Now in all honesty voting would be a very crude way to let that sail up. It would certainly work for some features, so in that sense I agree with you that we'll sometimes use it, but it certainly shouldn't be the way our community continually steers the future of MyRoute-app (in my opinion). Why? Because voting as a general way of doing things has it's own problems. In politics today we see what happens when governments get elected because people don't want to vote anymore and only a fraction of the population goes out to choose who'll rule them for the next few years. On our scale that might cause a loud minority of the community to push through features that are not in the best interest of the majority or all of the three outlined factors. Ignoring a vote, even if it's better for everyone, would certainly look bad.
So how could we fix this? Well, first of all discussions on this forum might come up and we support that. A critical mind considering and lobbying for a feature and it's relevance on an intellectual level is far more effective and responsible than a poll could ever be. Of course such discussion should be substantive, but that speaks for itself. Secondly, the first-among-equals of the community should be involved as decision makers. It's why we're recruiting RouteXperts, Instructors and Community Leaders. MyRoute-app will then factor in what's seen here on the forum and what the aforementioned groups tell us, compare it with the earlier outlined factors and come up with an order of implementation for features.
So to anser your question: the community is already involved and is actually getting more involved in helping us prioritize, having votes on everything would hamper that. What we don't do properly right now is clarity and transperancy into development. The forum and community blogs will be the first steps towards that. Perhaps we'll even grow a kind of "community decision board" over time, but we'll first see how this works out.
I hope I have explained everything as clear as possible. Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas!
In the coming period MRA will outline an official roadmap, solve several problems including the earlier arisen "waypoint problem". This is in addition to the release of several promised features being released. Our developers will dedicate their time first and foremost to resolving these problems in the coming month. We as a community can not help them with that. We can however, look ahead and towards the future.
That is why MRA has decided to outline an official roadmap aimed to create even more transperancy and a clear picture of where the future will be headed. For this we will need you, our members, to help us by providing us with your vote in the coming period. You will be given the opportunity to vote on important features that will stipulate what features will be built, and which features will have to wait.
For this purpose I've held an in-depth meeting with Customer Support who are at the absolute frontline of all member questions and wishes. Together, we've condensed a list of features that will be put forward to be voted on. This first vote will eliminate features that the community deems of less importance. Finally, a vote will be held for the final selection of the top feature priorities that MRA should be working on.
Once the results are in, the results will be compiled into a Roadmap that will be made publicly available for all to see. For absolute transperancy, we will include our entire planning on this Roadmap to outline all important milestones. After all, we want you to know what we're working on, even if it's something boring or technical. After all, there's a reason for everything. As your community manager I pledge to outline the clearest possible explanation for everything that we're doing and you will be able to hold me accountable to that.
In return, I ask of you that you register your vote and create awareness of this coming vote and get all your MRA friends to do so too. After all, it is of utmost importance to all of us that the future of MRA satisfies not only us, but all those that we create our routes for.
Vote for the future of MRA. Sign up for the newsletter in advance: