A sports app in tip-top shape

Get Inspired Fleur 19 Nov 2013

The young badminton star, Kirsten van der Valk, has set a goal for herself to work her way to the cream of the European crop; her dream is to participate in the Olympic Games. Through her own app (built by her father, André), Kirsten keeps the world up-to-date with her successes and experiences on the badminton court. AppMachine asked André about his daughter and her stellar app.

How does an app benefit a badminton player?

“Kirsten is an eight-time national youth champion. She trains at least 20 hours a week, plays in tournaments and, together with her trainer, is fully focused on her goal to climb up in the world ranking. She relies completely on herself for this, as she is not affiliated with the national badminton association. A couple of years ago I developed a website for Kirsten, but for a young player who is continuously on the road, it is pretty hard to keep it up-to-date. For a 19-year old, Facebook is much more ideal to showcase her talents, and Facebook can be seamlessly integrated with the AppMachine app. As the Van der Valk team, we also continue to look for new ways in which Kirsten can set herself apart from the pack by means of communication. There are many top players who have their own websites, but with this app Kirsten has a first in the world of badminton. After finishing her secondary education she completely dedicated herself to having a professional sports career. This means you have to present yourself as professionally as possible, and having your own app forms part of this. Her website was in Dutch, but in view of her international ambitions we made a conscious decision to offer an app in English.”

Playing top-level sports at top level is not for everybody. So can anyone develop a top-level app?

“I have a background in IT and became interested in AppMachine. The great thing is that it offers you a broad range of capabilities and makes use of the means you already have at your disposal. App development with AppMachine involves a very user-friendly process, although I must say I found it difficult to get the color change effects right. I liked the fact that AppMachine’s Development Manager contacted me to ask me whether I needed any help with the design. Designers look at things from the perspective of current fashions, while I am more technically oriented. All I needed to do was state our wishes, and AppMachine’s specialists saw to it that the look & feel of the app became more stylish and was taken up a notch. Since AppMachine helped me with the design, the only thing I needed to sort out was which buttons and data to use. For instance, I have customized a basic feature, POI (Points Of Interest), and renamed it “Tour”. Now users will see a map with all upcoming national, as well as international, tournaments in which Kirsten will be participating this season.”

Kirsten_screen01

The app also distinguishes itself through the aptly selected photos

“I have long been an amateur photographer and through our years in the world of badminton I got to know a lot of great sports photographers. Nowadays, they just send me photographs — “Here… for your app,” they will say. Consequently, I included a special word of thanks to them in the app. There is also a Sponsor tab with links to Kirsten’s sponsors.”

Which feature of AppMachine did you find most useful?

“The reporting tool shows you where and how often your app has been downloaded. When Kirsten travels to international tournaments — anywhere from Switzerland to Japan —you will see the number of downloads in that country increase. In some cases you can almost guess who has viewed her app. If I notice that the app has been downloaded in a particular Chinese region, I can be almost 100% sure that this is the work of Yao Jie — a former top player whose training camp Kirsten once attended a long time ago. It was nice to see that the app has even been downloaded in Iraq. AppMachine really offers a great platform with countless capabilities and a powerful reporting tool.”

 

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