Twixtures is a side project that was born out of my love for sport. The idea was to merge social media with sports to create a place that allowed fans to keep up to date with their teams and to monitor games that I they were unable to attend.
Twitter is a place where news can break almost instantly and spread like wildfire. This is no different for sports and what I found was that fans were pushing team and game updates to their friends using the clubs official hashtags. The content usually arrived quicker then any site could report so I knew I was on to something. I just needed a way of organising this content better.
The name Twixtures came from combining Twitter with Fixtures.
Stupidly I broke all my own rules when starting Twixtures. I jumped straight into the design phase (see some early mockups below), eager to get my idea going. I hit problems early on because without any real planning, the design was a mix of many different ideas I’d had and although it was usable, the mobile experience was poor and was obviously an afterthought.
So I went back to the drawing board and wireframing. I sketched out how I wanted each screen to look from a purely mobile point of view. I took the approach that fans would be wanting to use this on the go, so the UI needed to be simple and intuitive.
How it worked
Firstly, Adam (Co-Founder and Developer) began by getting a live Twitter stream working for each Premier League club using their official team hashtag and the Twitter Stream API. From day one, we wanted to be able to view two teams side by side in a match view so that you can get a view of the game from both sides.
After we had the stream working the rest fell into place. We wanted the team pages to be the go to place for each fan so we knew we’d need some sort of news feed. Instead of pulling in a feed we developed a script which detected the most shared links on Twitter with the teams hashtag. This worked fantastically and we soon pulled this featured out into its own general football news page.
Unfortunately, Twixtures never quite got going like we’d hoped. Although disappointed, I took this opportunity to learn from it and I was able to come out with lots of positives that I can take on to future projects.
Firstly, I hugely underestimated the work involved in marketing a side project. It’s so easy to get swept up in the successful startup stories like Facebook and Twitter, but in reality these are few and far between and you don’t often see the work involved behind the scenes.
Secondly, we took too long sweating the details instead of just putting it live and iterating. We also took too much time developing the desktop site instead of focusing our time on the mobile app.
After taking time to reflect, we decided to pull Twixtures to save on costs. We both hope this is a temporary decision. In the mean time, I have been playing with some ideas (which I am posting to Dribbble) for the mobile app, so watch this space!