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12 Ways To Make the SRM Graphing Better

This page is an open letter to SRM on how to make the SRM Mac graphing function more usable. Shown below is an example graph for reference for the points that follow.

Comments as of version 1.0.1 (March 2012).

Example graph with SRM software for Mac, v 0.99

Click to view a larger version. What a visual cacophony of mostly extraneous data, unfiltered by any rational goal!

Fortunately, version 1.0.1 (March 2012) allows any of the data series to be omitted. This helps a great deal for analyzing the data.

Example graph with SRM software for Mac, v 0.99

1. Data shown should be configurable, and state remembered

Update March 2012: it is now possible to exclude any data series. This is done globablly and modally and it is remembered. A nice step forward, but still can be better.

The graph is cluttered with irrelevant information, and this makes it very confusing for any useful analysis.

Choose either or both of these user interface improvements:

  • Add user preferences to select which items to show on the graph, e.g. just power, heart rate and elevation (for example).
  • Add a popup menu or contextual menu or small checkboxes in the window which pop on or off the graph lines for that measurements.
  • At the very least, put a small checkbox in front of the labels currently at the top of the graph, so the user can show/hide that data series from the graph.

REMEMBER these preferences so they default to what was last chosen.

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2. Graph and other colors are difficult to distinguish

Still an issue in version 1.0.1.

About 7% of the population has some limitation of color vision. Even to normal eyes, the colors chosen are difficult to distinguish at a glance.

  • Make the power curve black. After all, it is the key piece of data, and black is the most readable of all.
  • Do not use magenta and red both; they are too close in color.
  • Choose dark green, dark blue, and a few other tones that are distinguishable from each other at a glance.

The gray display of elevation is hard to see against the window background. Make it dark gray

3. Fix the overlapping unreadable text problem

Still an issue in version 1.0.1. Workaround is to make the graph wider.

Text overlaps is is unreadable. Figure out another way to present the text so that it can be read. Possibilities include:

  • Showing the text somewhere else;
  • Showing the text by clicking a small indicator;
  • Showing the text in small print at bottom or at top, etc.
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4. Better display of statistics

Still an issue in version 1.0.1.

Show the overall statistics by default; don’t make the user mouse over the button at the bottom to see the overall statistics.

Mousing over the graph should show the statistics for the relevant interval; it should NOT be necessary to mouse over the button at bottom.

Show the statistic in black, in nicely aligned form. Show them perhaps in tabular form, with overall averages, and one column per interval so that data can be seen at a glance. Align them appropriately (better than I have below). Add a Copy button so the data can be copied/pasted into an email or whatever.

Time: 02:21:19
Duration: 02:33:52
Watts: 257.0
BPM: 138.0
Speed: 14.78
RPM: 92.0
Ascent: 380.0 feet
Temperature: 64.9° F
Distance: 31.1 miles

5. Use accurate terminology to avoid confusion

Still an issue in version 1.0.1.

Elevation is NOT ascent. Ascent is NOT altitude. Use the right terms! (That goes for the head unit too). Is "A" ascent or altitude? Is "E" elevation gain or elevation? Fix the software and the manual, it’s a disaster.

Elevation = current altitude
Ascent = elevation gain (use “ascent” to be unambiguous)

This was so confusing on the Power Control 7 that I had to experiment to determine which screen showed what!

6. Label the axes

Still an issue in version 1.0.1.

There are two vertical axes, and neither has its numbers labeled with units used. The text at top disassociates from the vertical axis and is not very helpful; the eye has too far to scan.

Use something like 280W, 55°, 145bpm on each number would be clear and concise.

Part of the problem is too much data. Do something to make the units clear. Decluttering would help a great deal, if nothing else. Then maybe labeling would not be such an issue.

7. Don’t smooth the data too much

Still an issue in version 1.0.1.

The software smooths out the data so much that power surges in the 5-10 second range simply disappear.

Allow the user to specify a smoothing interval.

Better yet, show the power in black, and unsmoothed power in a medium gray, so the power spikes and sprints remains visible.

8. Remember the window size and position

Still an issue in version 1.0.1.

Every time a graph is opened, it reverts to the previous small size, forcing a resize every time.

9. Add subtle trend lines to power and heart rate

Still an issue in version 1.0.1.

Power and heart rates should show a subtle trend line across the graph, to get an idea of the average steady-state values and trend.

10. Offer derivative data

Still an issue in version 1.0.1.

Allow graphing a power/heart rate ratio line, which can help pick out the effects of heart rate drift (dehydration), etc.

11. Copying graph and data

Still an issue in version 1.0.1.

There should be a Copy button to copy the graph, and the regular copy command should copy a plain-text data summary to the clipboard.

12. Comparing two workouts

Still an issue in version 1.0.1.

It should be possible to overlay up to 3 workouts for power and heart rate. Very important to eliminate most other data when doing so, or it will be unintelligible.

 

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