Whilst browsing through the App Store a few months ago, I stumbled across an app called ‘Riders‘, after seeing a few appealing screen shots and reading the bio, I was more intrigued to see what it was all about.
“The world’s largest BMX, Skateboard, Mountain bike, Wakeboard, Scooter, Snowboard, Longboard, Inline skates and Ski tricks database containing detailed videos with step-by-step instructions from the pros and action photos from riders who live by the mantra «extreme», practicing in skateparks and other cool spots around the world.”
Riders a social media platform developed solely for the purpose of the extreme sports communities, but who created it? Who’s brilliant idea was is to put a community, or eve several with common grounds into one social platform with only tricks being posted? No more selfies, peoples lunch, or any cheese quotes coming up on your feed every 3 or 4 photos? I wrote a blog post after I got familiar with the app butI had to find out more, so I got in touch with Tanya at Riders and we went from here:
What inspired you to create such a unique app to capture the extreme sports community?
The idea did not come out of nowhere. We do ride, and when our skills have developed to the level when we started making the very first tricks – it turned out that finding some good learning content online was extremely difficult. The only options were either leaning on our mistakes, or starting skating with the guys who already know something. With RIDERS you can learn how to do cool tricks, even at the North Pole. Alone.
The first version of the app was called iRide, it was not designed really well and you could only see the description of the tricks, storyboard and videos about them. But even with that definitely not the best version of the app, we got so much positive feedback so we realized that we need to continue working on it.
Firstly, we added the following feature: ability to specify a skills level so it became much easier both to track the progress and master your skills in each discipline. Then – we added the opportunity to share your photos and videos. And after – the feature which allowed to specify which tricks users upload on RIDERS app. The social component of the app became very clear to us so eventually we have changed the name of the app from iRide to RIDERS simply because it’s better to ride with friends.
For those who haven’t seen the app yet, give us a quick rundown of what it does?
RIDERS helps to raise your level of riding skills in various disciplines of extreme sports. Every user is capable to mark how own skills level and then application encourages him what to do next. If a certain user uploads his own version of a trick, it also will be automatically added to a trick page in the app.
So basically you can see all the tricks from riders around the world, hundreds of variations. This is really inspiring.
How did you approach the development of the app? Is this something the team already had experience with or did you have to get your reading glasses and the books out..
We already had a lot of experience in mobile and web development. Before we started working on RIDERS application, we have already launched our own Whitescape agency with more than 200 projects of all possible sizes and complexity. Of course this experience helped to avoid some mistakes, but not all, we are still learning as we go.
What has been the biggest challenge for you guys as far as development goes? I know you’re on the App Store, Google Play and on Android (Windows!), it must be hard to keep up with updates.
Both in the very beginning and now, the hardest part to deal with is RIDERS content. At first we were writing tutorials for how-to’s by ourselves, and then started collaborating on this with professional-sponsored riders. With each of them we met at least once, explained the idea of the project and were communicating on daily basis during the content creation phase. To be honest, before all of this we were thinking that it is extremely hard to work and manage
Designers and programmers, but turns out this is not the case. Working with pro-riders is way, way more difficult. We have to adjust to their always busy schedule, if shooting how-to’s – make sure to prepare the script, and text for the viceroy should be cool too – clear and simple to understand.
There were times, when we had to wait for a couple of hours for a rider, when he finally wakes up after a rough party night. Or when it was simply impossible to record the sound for the same reason. And sometimes it’s vice versa – everything is clear and we are able to shoot a couple of videos per one day. Even though it sounds difficult, all the efforts are worth it. RIDERS how-to’s database is unique, there is no another one like it in the whole world.
It’s much easier with the development, though: we have smart, tough guys in our team. Of course, would be great to add as many hot new features for Windows version and Android is also behind than iOS, but it is not a problem, we’ll make it. Right now we are working on balancing between these 3 app versions so all there projects will be running in parallel, without stretching to one or another direction.
Now that the app has been available for some time, what has been the general response to RIDERS?
We are giving to riders something what did not exist before, and we try very hard to do this on the highest level. What is really amazing that our crowd, our fans feel it and respond to it in a very cool way. For example, once we released a major update but there were some annoying bugs so RIDERS users would still put 5 stars for their reviews and add a comment, “Please repair this and this. The application is great, but if you repair these bugs, it will be even better”.
Or here is one of the latest reviews from the user ìBlack Ops 2 owner 568876778788î: “Brilliant! I’m starting the ‘hard’ section now and all because of the app I think it’s brilliant I want to complete pro because I completed everything else.”
We get a summary of all new reviews every morning and it gives us a lot of positive energy for the whole day. So much positive feedback – our motivation is sky-rocketing!
So you guys pretty much cover 80% of the most common extreme sports, are there any plans to branch out into other uncharted territories?
Yes, of course! Besides the fact that we very much want to pump mountain bike, there is also skiing and snowboarding, surfing, kite surfing and many other disciplines. And then we will go into FMX.
You must get hundreds of submissions each day, how do you handle choosing which images to feature on the social media pages?
We have a special person in the team, who looks after absolutely all content that appears in the application and picks photos and videos for the Editors pick secretion every single day. Of course he’s got a couple of people who are helping him out but most of the work he does by himself. This is a titanic task and we want to simplify and partially automate the process, but we will do it when we are confident that the quality of selections will not be worse than now.
What can we expect to see from RIDERS in the future?
“It is going to be HUGE!”, once told us an American senator at one major start-up event. We will cover all disciplines and add those features which are lacking now – users will be able to compete against each other, there will be also some sweet achievements and ranks, geolocation system so you can easily find a spot nearby and see what happens there and many other cool things are yet to come.
Also we will add a lot of content for beginners to make sure these guys have a strong interest in extreme sports, so even very very beginners will be able to enjoy RIDERS app. We do this because we love the industry so much and we do think that for young riders, for kids, basically, this app is serenely important for their further development as riders, as human-beings. One of the most important goals for RIDERS is popularization of extreme sports and opening new horizons for those who is already riding.
Can you give us any handy tips for using the app, although I know everything is explained very well on the app itself?
Get outside! That was one of the main mantras behind RIDERS when we started the whole thing. By the way, if you wanna share your feedback, ideas or something like that, please email us to firstname.lastname@example.org. We read every email, we do.
Anything else you’d like to add, thanks or shout outs?
First of all, big thanks to our users, your feedback helps us to move on and develop. Special thanks to all the brands which help this industry to develop. Thanks to our families, girlfriends and friends for their understanding and support. And, most importantly, thanks to everyone who rides, because it is you – RIDERS.