2018 Blue Alliance User Survey Results

In mid-November The Blue Alliance released a survey for our users. We wanted to know a bit more about you, how you engage with the site, and what is important to you. Our team of number crunchers have been hard at work doing other things, so it fell to me to tell you about the results. But before we begin, all values here are approximate and many are mathematically rounded for ease of reading.

If you’re not a number junkie, feel free to skip straight to the analysis here.


First, and not surprisingly, over 50% of the 650+ respondents were of high school age, and another 20% of college age. The remaining respondents were 24 or over. Like the age breakdown, over 50% of respondents identified as student team members, while over 40% identified as mentors. Over 20% of respondents identified as volunteers, many were also mentors or students.

Now that we know who responded, let’s get into some of the more interesting revelations.

Social Media

On the social media front, 18% of respondents use neither Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. For those that use social media, Facebook is most popular at almost 60%, with Instagram close behind at 55%, and Twitter just over 40%. While the majority of Facebook users do follow The Blue Alliance, most Twitter users don’t, and almost none of the Instagram users do.

GameDay CV and Timeseries Data

We also asked about several of the features on The Blue Alliance, how familiar you were with them, how useful they were, and how much you used them. We have a large amount of data here, so let’s just focus on the more interesting bits.

For the 2018 season The Blue Alliance introduced GameDay CV, which used computer vision to “read” the FMS core overlay in match videos. This enabled two new features. The first, Live Scoring, featured prominently during champs on the home page and was made available in GameDay panels. The second was Timeseries second-by-second match data, which backed score over time graphs on match pages, and was available via APIv3. Live scoring usage was pretty flat across the spectrum of use / don’t use, but those that did use it thought it was overwhelmingly useful. The response to our Timeseries graphs was a bit lukewarm, not a lot of use, and only moderately useful. Finally, the API was mostly unknown to people, mostly unused, but when used was somewhat useful to people.


Most surprising to us were the responses we got about APIv3. APIv3 was one of the least familiar features we asked about, and the 2nd least-used. But when we asked about usefulness it was clear there is a love-hate relationship, people either finding it very useful, not useful or right in the middle. The comments and free-form responses showed much of the same, you loved it, or you hated it, mostly because it wasn’t easy to use, or the documentation was hard to understand.


We also got quite a bit of good feedback about myTBA. It’s clearly underused (and our internal stats concur), but those that use it do like it, kinda. This was another area we got a number of comments from users, both in regards to the Android app and the web pages. Comments ranged from not knowing about it, to being hard to use when you have a lot of favorite teams. (To the 4 of you with over 100 favorite teams :scream:)


We also asked about GameDay, and what devices you use it on. Over 75% use it on the desktop (or desktop-sized device), and almost 50% use it on mobile. Of the GameDay features multi-view and live scoring were rated very highly, the match ticker was mostly loved, but the chat found little love in our survey. A good number of comments, almost entirely negative, were left about GameDay chat as well.

Recommending TBA

We also asked you to rate how likely you would be to recommend The Blue Alliance on a range of 1 to 10 with 10 being most likely. Over 75% rated a 10 when recommending to friends and family already involved in FIRST. The total for the 5 and under rating was 4%. Clearly you think highly of The Blue Alliance as a useful and important resource, and we couldn’t be happier.

When we asked the same question about recommending The Blue Alliance to friends and family not involved with FIRST the results were all over the map with an average of just under 6. All the ratings from 1 to 8 ranged from 6.6% to 13.0% with 10 getting 21%. Clearly The Blue Alliance is not currently the place for friends and family to start their FIRST experience.

We also reviewed every free form comment and answer that was left. Some were funny, some professed their love for particular people, and a great many were thankful for The Blue Alliance. Thank you for those. To the people who left constructive criticism, we hear you.


So now that we know all this, what are we going to do with it?

We’ve recently added Twitter and Instagram follow icons (atop the desktop, or at the bottom of your mobile page), and we’ll be using Instagram on a more regular basis going forward.

Our GameDay CV based features, like Live Scoring and Timeseries data will be back for 2019, and we’ll be looking to make some improvements both to let users know it’s there for them, and in making it more useful and accessible to you.

The APIv3 documentation will be getting an overhaul. We’ll be keeping the Swagger documentation for those users who use it to generate client libraries and like the technical specification, but we’ll fill in quite a bit more information and examples. We’ll also add additional written documentation to help users get started and understand the API. Finally, we have some auto-generated APIv3 client libraries, and we’ll make them more prominent.

The feedback on myTBA was good, and while we don’t have anything to share right now, we are discussing ways to improve it. We’re also discussing the recommendation rankings for friends and family not involved with FIRST and what, if anything, we want to do to improve there as well.

We did one last analysis of some of your comments and suggestions, and it was kind of hard to make out, and took a great deal of time to process, but when we put it in a word cloud we seemed to get a slightly clearer message:

To that, we can only say: Soon™.

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