CompetitiveAnalysis-AlexanderSydell

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Contents

Restatement of the group's idea

Our group will work on an application to help coaches create, demonstrate, share, and keep track of plays and statistics.

Group Brainstorm

List of related applications

  1. Basketball coach's clipboard
  2. Tennis Trakker Pro
  3. Coach Bob
  4. Playboard XT Men's Lacrosse
  5. Perfect Sports Board
  6. Box Lacrosse Playbook
  7. Play Designer
  8. Basketball Playbook
  9. Soccer WhiteBoard
  10. PlayMaker Football

Many of these apps are also rebranded by the company for other sports. Only one version is listed here when the features are the same.

Analysis

Basketball coach's clipboard

This app's target user group is basketball coaches, which is a subgroup of our target user group of all coaches. The benefit from this application is that it is very simple, only allowing drawing up plays and switching between half- and full-court modes. The simplicity of the app is also a drawback, however, because it does not allow saving or sharing plays, or keeping any kind of player or play statistics. Our idea will improve on this functionality by supporting multiple sports, allowing the saving of plays, and keeping play statistics so that coaches can know which plays work best. One success in usability of this app is the good graphics which makes plays look more realistic. The app's simplicity is also a usability success, making it very easy to use from the first time. We will keep this simplicity in mind, trying to make the main part of our app (play creation and viewing) as easy as possible and not allowing the more complex features (such as play stats) to get in the way, while still keeping them close at hand when they're needed.

Tennis Trakker Pro

The target user group for this app is "coaches, parents and tennis fans." It is directed at a specific sport and toward both coaches and fans, whereas our app aims to support multiple sports and is targeted solely at coaches. Tennis Trakker Pro allows users to keep very specific play-by-play stats on tennis players, and then summarizes them to make it easy for coaches to identify strengths and weaknesses. Our app is geared more towards sports with plays, but we will also allow detailed statistics of plays and possibly players for post-game analysis, in addition to providing a "clipboard" to draw plays on. Keeping track of statistics during an ongoing game is difficult, so one of the usability strengths of this app is the simple step-by-step interface for selecting what happens during gameplay. The very detailed analysis is also great for coaches, as shown by users' reviews. If feasible, we will also try to adopt a step-by-step interface for saving statistics when coaches elect to do so in our app. The tennis-only nature of this app can also be seen as a usability drawback, upon which we will try to improve by generalizing to multiple sports.

Coach Bob

Coach Bob is targeted at youth soccer coaches, which is also a subgroup of our app's target user group. The functionality offered by this app is tracking player attendance, player position, how long each player has been playing, and the game's score. The app helps coaches let every kid on the team play in the game and assign them positions. Our app will focus more on tracking plays instead of players, but it could be helpful to keep track of who is on the court/field when plays are run to later figure out which players perform best in which positions and during which plays. One of the great usability successes of this app is the tabs at the bottom - the four areas of the app are split very well, making it very easy to get to each one at the appropriate time. This is something we will want to build upon as we will have different areas in our app as well, including creating plays, viewing saved plays, and keeping track of stats. Another usability benefit is the ability to email lineups for each game. This makes sharing between coaches much easier, and we will want to add the option to email as much information as we can within our app as well.

Playboard XT Men's Lacrosse

This app's target user group is men's lacrosse coaches, again a subset of our app's more general coaches group. The main functions of the Playboard app are drawing and saving plays. Another is the ability to email pictures of plays. Our app will offer all of the same functionality, and will also add animated or step-by-step plays as well as play statistics. One of the usability successes of the app is a feature that helps draw straight lines on the screen, which is something we will likely want to support as well. Another is the ability to use different colors for lines, which probably helps in drawing up plays and something we will want to have in our app. The major usability drawback is the poor graphics, which make it quite difficult to understand a play in the app. We will interview coaches and players to determine the best way to represent a play on an iPhone screen so that it is easy to visualize within our app.

Perfect Sports Board

Perfect Sports Board is targeted at soccer, basketball, volleyball, and futsal coaches. This is very similar to our target user group, although we would like to include at least football and ice hockey as well. The main functionality of the app is choosing a sport and drawing plays on its field/court. The application is quite limited in that nothing can be saved and that a coach can't keep track of plays, players, or statistics. These are all things we wish to include in our app as an improvement upon Perfect Sports Board. Because nothing can be saved, this creates a huge usability problem as coaches face entering the same player names and plays over and over. This is something that we will correct by allowing this information to be saved, and perhaps saving it automatically so that coaches do not have to worry about losing data.

Box Lacrosse Playbook

The developer states that the target user group is "coaches, players and fans" of lacrosse. Our app targets only coaches, but for multiple sports. There are two benefits of this app over most of the others: it allows creating step-by-step plays using multiple frames and supports creating a team list with player names, positions, and emails for keeping track of the team and sharing plays. Our app will go a step further in terms of these two functions. First, we could offer video recording and replay for plays instead of using individual frames, depending on what coaches find more useful. Second, our app could also be used to keep track of individual player stats and rosters, on top of allowing plays to be emailed to them. A usability success of this app is the variety of player markers and lines used to draw plays, which make them easier to follow. This is something we want to refine even further in our app to make the plays as easy to read for both coaches and players as possible. A usability issue that can be seen in the app's screenshots is that most navigation and actions are performed through clunky text menus. To improve on this, our app can use icons in appropriate contexts as well as other features such as the accelerometer (e.g. shake to clear) to reduce the amount of text in menus.

Play Designer

Play Designer is a desktop application with separate versions for most major sports, targeting coaches of those sports. Our app's target user group is also coaches but we aim to combine multiple sports within one application. Important features of this program are the large amount of detail available in drawing plays and the ability to view, save, and share plays as animated videos. We will need to tone down the amount of detail available in our app due to the small iPhone screen, but will strive to keep as much as possible because plays generated by this program look better than those from any other reviewed here. Depending on feedback from coaches, we may also support saving and sharing plays as videos. The most glaring usability issue with Play Designer is the fact that it is a desktop application and therefore not portable. This is, obviously, solved by the fact that we are building an iPhone app. However, we will also focus on those features a coach would find most useful at a practice or game, knowing that more powerful play designer applications are available when he or she comes home.

Basketball Playbook

This is another desktop application targeted at basketball coaches. We also target coaches but of multiple sports. Most features are similar to Play Designer and will not be mentioned. One that stands out, however, and that no other app has (or at lists as a feature) is the ability to store text descriptions of plays. Because plays are harder to represent on a smaller screen, this is definitely a feature that we will want to have so that coaches can write notes on more intricate parts of a play. The biggest usability issue with the program is, again, that it does not run on a mobile device. As mentioned on the Play Designer analysis, we will focus on the fact that our app runs on a mobile platform. The colors and different styles of lines used in this program make it more usable in terms of understanding plays, and we will incorporate styles like the ones in the program into our app.

Soccer WhiteBoard

The target user group of this app is soccer coaches, and as mentioned previously we target coaches of multiple sports. The app's features are fairly basic and similar to most of the ones already mentioned. Most notably, saving plays and any kind of statistics are missing, and both are features that we will implement. From a usability perspective, one of this app's features is the ability to assign letters (representing positions) to player's dots. This makes plays easier to follow, and we can either use the same strategy or improve on it by assigning actual player names to the dots in our app.

PlayMaker Football

PlayMaker is a game targeted at football fans who want to play as a virtual coach. While our app targets coaches specifically, PlayMaker has features that coaches themselves would use and is thus useful for comparison. The play drawing in PlayMaker appears to be a powerful feature. It has many different types of lines and other elements, and the plays appear to be a 3D overlay on a realistic field. I find such plays easier to understand, although we will determine from interviews with coaches whether this is something we will include in our app. One usability problem with PlayMaker is the toolbar that comes up when drawing plays. It contains 9 icons which mostly appear arbitrary and probably require an explanation. Our app will improve on this by using fewer icons and making them more representative of their tasks.

Summary

Feature Comparison Matrix
App Name Draw Plays Save Plays Email Plays/Stats Notes for Plays Notes for Players Animated/Step-by-Step Plays Switch b/w Full & Half Field Scrolling Field Helps With Drawing Lines Track Play Stats Track Player Stats Multiple Sports Mobile
Basketball coach's clipboard X X X
Tennis Trakker Pro X X X
Coach Bob X X X
Playboard XT Men's Lacrosse X X X X X
Perfect Sports Board X X X X
Box Lacrosse Playbook X X X X X X
Play Designer X X X X X X
Basketball Playbook X X X X X X
Soccer WhiteBoard X X X X
PlayMaker Football X X X X X


In summary, most apps with powerful play editing and good play visualization are for the desktop, and those that are mobile apps tend to skimp on play editing or other features such as sharing, and have poor graphics. Few applications support videos or step-by-step plays. Most importantly, none of the applications reviewed allow keeping statistics on plays such as overall success rate and success rate versus a specific opponent. Most applications support drawing out plays, and about half allow sharing via email and help with drawing straight (or nicely-curved) lines for plays. Our project aims to be the first to bring good graphics and powerful play editing features to a mobile device and have several other key components in one application: play statistics, animated or step-by-step plays, and sharing information via email or between apps.



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