Strava has had a good year.
The fitness tracking app surpassed 100 million users back in March, who gave a whopping 9.9 billion kudos to each other over the course of 2022. In the UK, more people ran marathons, rode e-bikes and completed century rides than ever before. The app is valued at roughly $2 billion, up from just $300 million in 2019.
Yet despite the lofty numbers and impressive growth, Strava was still flooded with suggestions for how to make the app better on a post titled ‘Recap: A year of personal bests’ published by The Strava Club.
It invited users to ‘head to the comments and let us know what you want to see on Strava in 2023’.
Without further ado, here are the most sought after, the most practical and some of the most downright whacky suggestions.
By far the most sought-after update to Strava was the inclusion of dark mode with 58 of the 200 commenters mentioning it.
Whether its doomscrolling through Strava late at night when we should be asleep, or checking who stole your KOM first thing in the morning, dark mode would be a welcome inclusion for bleary-eyed athletes the world over.
Put simply, dark mode would invert the colours on Strava’s interface, so rather than reading dark text off a light background, users would read light text off a dark background.
Perceived benefits include reduced battery usage, less eye strain and a sleeker looking app.
Federico Barusco commented ‘All I want for Christmas, is Strava dark mode’, while Alyssa Hershey wrote ‘Dark mode would slay on Strava’.
In at number two on Strava users' wish list was the ability message each other on the app.
Strava does market itself as a social media for athletes, and the inclusion of DMs (direct messages) would bolster this claim. For example, some users want to be able to contact people they may have befriended on a group ride or run.
Others weren't impressed by the idea, however, and worried DMs might 'invite creepy dudes and spammers to Strava' as Holly O pointed out.
As social media apps go, Strava compares favourably in terms of friendliness and online safety.
That's not to say users would suddenly begin sending abusive messages to KOM thieves if messaging was introduced, but perhaps part of Strava's appeal is that it's not like other social media in this way.
Another consequence of DMs could be (un)wanted Strava flirting, so maybe its best to just leave direct messages to the plethora of other apps capable of this task.
The Commute Debate
Look away commuting warriors, because not all Strava users are fans of seeing commutes on their feed.
Some, like Reece James, requested it 'be default for commutes to not show in the feed'.
Seeing the exact same activity every day can get pretty dull, but I know lots of users who already hide their commute from the feed.
Some go even further and would like to see indoor cycling, yoga and any form of gym/S+C banished from the feed for being too boring.
Perhaps Strava could introduce a way of making all commutes hidden by default, unless the user opted in to posting them.
Some Strava users aren't satisfied with the current 41 activity types available on the app, and would like to see even more.
Requests were made for the addition of hot air ballooning, scuba-diving, badminton, table tennis, ice hockey, aqua jogging and my personal favourite, pickleball.
For those who haven't heard of Pickleball, it is a bit like tennis and involves hitting a perforated hollow polymer ball over a 36-inch-high net using solid-faced paddles.
And why not add these relatively niche pursuits to Strava? Ice skating, golf and roller skiing already exist, so why not expand.
After all, Strava veterans will remember the app started with only one activity profile- cycling- so it seems user growth has gone hand in hand with the expanding activity profiles.
Trophies, KOMs, Leader boards
Segments- one of Strava's most popular features- also attracted several suggestions for improvement.
Admittedly, most of the suggestions only applied to those at the faster end of the Strava spectrum, such as the ability to add the number of KOMs to your profile like a sort of Strava top-trump.
Other calls were made to add the number of top tens you've achieved to your profile, as well as clearing up the number of duplicate segments out there.
Finally, and this one's been talked about for years, users want Strava to remove fraudulent segment entries faster, if not automatically.
I've never been fast enough to lose a KOM/CR in this way, but it must be maddening to be notified your lung-busting effort on your local hill was eclipsed by Judy who, contrary to Strava's belief, did not just lay down 1000 watts for 2 minutes, and was just popping to the shops on her e-bike and forgot to set her activity type correctly.
So there you have it. Christmas is a time of wish lists, and it seems the Strava community has got rather a long one. Let's see how many suggestions Strava will act upon in the New Year.
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