CompetitiveAnalysis-BrandonLiu

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Contents

Restatement of Idea

Our app is a simple way for one person, or a group of people, to take detailed, real-time impressions of the beers they taste, that can then be referred back to later and compared with other beers, in order to engage them in exploring new beers.

List of Competitors

iPhone app store

iBeers lite http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ibeers-lite-2700-beers-at/id294184016?mt=8

Beer Brands http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/beer-brands/id299434331?mt=8

Rate:beer http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/rate-beer/id318595692?mt=8

Bar Findr Touch http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bar-findr-touch-find-beer/id313133577?mt=8

Find craft beer http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/find-craft-beer/id340206461?mt=8

Beer Pad http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/beer-pad/id286627708?mt=8

Tasting Notes http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tasting-notes/id299791396?mt=8

BeerGuide http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/beerguide/id335522986?mt=8

Gallagher’s Beer Guide http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/gallaghers-beer-guide/id334678647?mt=8

Beer Hero http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/beer-hero/id297850499?mt=8

Android Market

PHM Beer App (no good site)

Beer Bible (not on publisher’s site...)

BeerCloud http://greatbrewers.com/story/beercloud-mobile-app

Beer Hero http://www.beerheroapp.com/android/html/theapp.html (same as iPhone)

RateBeer Mobile (no good website...) (same as iPhone)

Web sites

Ratebeer.com http://ratebeer.com

BJCP.org http://www.bjcp,org

Analysis

iBeers lite TUG: People who want to learn more about, and rate, beers. This overlaps with our group, except ours focuses more on interaction at bars, while this one is equally useful at and away from a bar. Functionality: It has brewery, bottle size, beer type, alcohol volume, country of origin data. Our application will focus less on the flat data and more on a novel method of input. Usability: Many reviewers complain about it not having useful information, and it only has esoteric beers from Europe. Our app will be general to any kind of beer (for example, adding your own standards of comparison)

Beer Brands TUG: People who want to simply learn more about beer. Our app differs because it lets you input ratings about beer. Functionality: Has national/international, container, glass type information. Has great information about historical origins. Our app differs in that we don't use a database of outside sources so heavily, and focuses more on inputting your own data. Usability: The app doesn't even load for some people. There's duplicate entries for beers, which means that whoever inputted the data didn't have a way to search if a beer existed. We'll improve on this in our app. There's brewers missing: our app will let you enter your own categories.

rate:beer TUG: People who specifically want to rate beer. Functionality: Submit personal ratings and see the ratings of other people. See detailed descriptions of beer. There is pictures of beer, which we also hope to have in our app. It classifies beer by name. It has great descriptions such as "“a deep amber ale with a pleasant hop aroma... it has layers of malty flavors that give it a complex and well balanced taste. a substantial and pleasant ale that retains a high level of drinkability.", but these are just in unstructured text, and there's no way to search through descriptions or tags. We'll add a tagging system to our app. Usability: Users say it is a "good start for tracking, not discovering" which means that search and suggestion functionality could be improved. Users complain about needing too many button presses to accomplish anything. The rating on iTunes is 3/5 stars.

Bar Findr Touch TUG: People who are looking for a bar, and want to know what the bar's offerings are. This differs from our user group in that they simply want to find an establishment, and have a secondary interest in rating the beers. Functionality: People can rate an establishment's beers individually. Our app is similar in that you can rate all of the drinks at one establishment. Usability: The rating interface is very low-fi (just a slider), and users complain of "needing an instruction manual to use the app", since the navigation is cluttered. Our app will have a clear hierarchy of navigation (from beer discovery -> evaluation). The databases are also very old and lists closed bars. Our app probably won't pull data from outside sources to locate bars.

Find Craft Beer TUG: The name suggests that it's targeted at people that want "craft" or high end beer, which overlaps with our app's "beer snob" target market. We want to emphasize the "craft beer" aspect in our app. Functionality: The app doesn't really deliver on its namesake: all it is, is a bar locator. There are descriptions for each beer, but they're all in unstructured blocks of text. Our app will have more structured ways of entering and looking at data about beer. It has a big map. You can add new tags to a style, which is something our app also shares. Usability: It's tedious to look at long descriptions of beers on a mobile device, and the description's aren't particularly interactive or linked to each other, so it's not a powerful way to explore the data. Our app will have more ambitious ways of finding connections between beers.

Beer Pad TUG: People who want to record thoughts about the beer they try. This is exactly our target market. Functionality: Rate beers you try; take a picture; look up beers you've tried in the past. You can also email the notes and browse by style. You can search your own notes. Our app aims to provide all of this functionality, but in a more usable way. This functionality is exactly like our app. Usability: Users complain about the app crashing. It's also difficult to take notes on a beer without resorting to full text input. This is the way that Beer Pad handles it, which is cumbersome and doesn't serve its target user market well. Our app is the exact same market but will solve this usability challenge.

Tasting Notes TUG: Snobs of many kinds of food: wine, beer, whisky, tea, cigars, coffee. Ours targets only beer drinkers. Functionality: Rate individual tastings. Pops up a keyboard for notes. Our app will have ratings, as well as a place for full text notes, but the notes won't be the primary part of the evaluation process. It lets you take pictures, which may appear in our app. Usability: Users complain that it has "powerful features but it is easy to lose data." It's not specific enough to beers, so you can't specify your own standards of comparison. Users complain that two users sharing a bottle of wine have to independently enter data, which is a problem our app hopes to solve.

BeerGuide TUG: People who want to explore beer types and styles. Our app is specifically for people who want to discover and remember beer tastings. Functionality: Great functionality to sort through beer types, breweries, locals, favorites, ABV. Our app definately will also have a favorites feature and be sortable by ABV and beer type. It shows you the glass it comes in. You can edit one specific beer's information, which is a subset of what we plan to do. Usability: Users complain that the UI is not well organized. There is no way to add a new beer, which is something our app will offer. People want to know about "local treasures", which our app also will do by suggestions. The beer bottle interface is really, really ugly.

Gallagher's Beer Guide TUG: Similar to ours in that it's for people who want to take notes about beer. Aimed at casual beer drinkers instead of people interested in microbrews. Our app will cover more of the beer drinking market. Functionality: Sort by style. There are pairings to food, which our app won't have. You can take a picture, which our app won't have. Usability: Only way to search through beers is by alphabetical order. The challenge is in arranging all of the beers in a manageable way.

Beer Hero TUG: People who want a way to know what beer has been rated best in aggregate. Our target users are more people who want to discover new beers and rate them. Functionality: Find Beer Brewed nearby (which we won't have, no location based aspect) Find local brewpubs, beer optimizer. Has a simple 1-5 rating based on aggregate user input. Our app will have more fine grained evaluation systems. Usability: Users say it's "not even worth using if it were free" since the location based service isn't good. We feel that location based beer locating is better left to Google Maps, and won't have any kind of this functionality in our app. Instead we'll focus more on the evaluation.

PHM Beer App TUG: Beer snobs. Heavy overlap with our group. Functionality: Points to specific beer commentary from people, for suggestions. This is for people looking for a beer, but takes a much different approach than what we're doing. Usability: It has a 1 star overall review. People complain about the writing.

Beer Bible TUG: "Beer lovers of all levels to discovery, enjoy and share beers". It says it's aimed at connoisseurs and home brewers. Our app is also targeted at beer drinkers of all levels. Functionality: It has 4 main tabs, Introduction, Beers to Travel For, and Choose Beer Type. It has a beer glossary. We're going to add more ways to explore beer other than type, and also hopefully have a glossary of beer terms. Usability: It costs 5 dollars and there's no feedback, which probably means noone bought it.

Beer Cloud TUG: People who want to learn more about a beer in front of them. Somewhat overlaps with ours. Functionality: tons. You can scan a barcode of a beer to see its description, which we could hope to have (but don't plan to). It has pairings of beer to food. It maps nearby bars, and stores carrying beers. We don't plan to have as much location based stuff. It has information about ABV and style, which we pan to have. Usability: the UI is very sparse and flat with plain buttons. It has tabs for location-based services and meal pairings. We will have a stronger hierarchy of features and won't have the features not related to beer evaluation.

Ratebeer.com This isn't a mobile application, but seems to be the go-to site for beer snobs. It has detailed ratings on each beer which we hope to emulate, for example: aroma, appearance, flavor, palate. People have text descriptions, which are searchable.

BJCP.org This is a site for professional beer judges, and can give us some idea of what the standard for beer evaluation is.

Chart of Features

Mobile App Beer Searching Beer Ratings Add a Rating Detail of Evaluation Ease of Evaluation Target Expertise
iBeers Lite Yes Yes Yes Low Hard Low
Beer Brands Yes No No Low
rate:beer Yes Yes Yes Detailed Hard (keyboard) Medium
Bar Findr Touch Yes Yes Yes Very Low Slider Low
Find Craft Beer Yes No No Low
Beer Pad Yes Yes Yes Detailed Hard (keyboard) High
Tasting Notes Yes Yes Yes Detailed Hard (keyboard) Very High
BeerGuide Yes Yes No Low
Gallagher's Beer Guide Yes No No Low
Beer Hero Yes Yes No Aggegate (Low) Medium
PHM Beer App No No No Low
Beer Bible Yes No No Low
BeerCloud Yes Yes Yes Simple Rating Easy Medium

Summary

The closest two apps were BeerPad and Tasting Notes. BeerPad's UI is very ugly and confusing, and the evaluation method is a 1-5 star. We want to do something more similar to Tasting Notes but plumb the depths of just the Beer category, and use a more novel input method.

The application aspects that are well covered: Details about a beer, doing location based beer finding. We don't need any location based stuff in our app.

Application aspects covered moderately: Searching and sorting through beer. All of them have a way to search through beers by name and type, but we can make it more fine grained: previous tastings, etc.

Application aspects not covered at all: Some of the apps provide ways to evaluate beer, but it's on a simple scale. Ours is better since: 1. We can define our own metrics of evaluation, while the other apps have fixed scales. 2. We can evaluate quickly and with one hand, while the other ones need descriptions to be entered by keyboard or ratings sliders. 3. We have a novel tagging system that allows us to structure input easily without resorting to typing things in.

None of the apps explore the social aspect of tasting beer. Our app addresses this explicitly by providing a way for the app to collect independent opinions from a set of people who are all trying the same set of beer.



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