CompetitiveAnalysis-EstherCho

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Contents

Restatement Of Idea

Our group’s idea was to provide a quick and manageable way for beer drinkers who drink a wide variety of beers to remember their impression of a particular beer. Our group page can be found here.

List of Competitors

  1. iBeers Lite with demo video
  2. Tasting Notes
  3. Beer Pad
  4. Cellar
  5. Belgian Beer App
  6. Beer Brands
  7. BJCP Styles
  8. Rate:Beer
  9. Gallagher's Beer Guide
  10. BeerGuide

Analysis

iBeers Lite

iBeers Lite targets beer drinkers around the world. This is similar to our target user group except iBeers Lite specifically states to accommodate anyone on the globe. This makes their target group much broader and thus not cater to all regions such as the North American users. This can be especially frustrating when the app does not allow a user to add a new beer entry and must wait for the database to be updated with it. The app provides an extensive database of beers (2700+) along with a five star rating and review system for each system shared. Anonymous reviews are shared among all users which give little personal use because taste varies among people and having only one overall rating system without any other information makes it hard for a user to recall the particular beer in the future.

Tasting Notes

Tasting Notes targets users who wants to log what they consume. Because it is highly customizable in terms of categories and field, it essentially targets anybody. There are preset lists such as beer, coffee, and wine but if a user wanted a list for something else, such as pasta, each list and fields must be made by the user, which requires a lot of work. What's useful about Tasting Notes is that each entry is specific to a tasting i.e. rather an impression on a particular type of beer in general, it addresses that type of beer at the time the user drank it. We consider the fact that a user's impression of a beer may be different the second time so our idea is to include different instances of a tasting for the same beer. Tasting Notes almost addresses this except a user can only change the date of when they tasted a consumable. Tasting Notes also allow users to rearrange the order of the list and fields as well as removing certain fields altogether.

Beer Pad

Beer Pad, must like our group, targets beer lovers wanting to keep track of different beers they try. Every time a user tries a beer, they have the option to add the entry along with a custom photo, rate it overall, include basic info about the beer, add style tags (to easily search for it later based on the beer's characteristics), and provide a custom note. Being able to browse beer by something other than name allows easy navigation to recall a beer after having accumulated a large list and the custom photo option allows users to recall the beer faster while perusing through their list, although for this app, it seems only one style tag can be used. Because there is no preloaded information in the app, all information about the beer (even technical details such as brewery, alcohol content) has to be inputted manually. This seems okay with style tags since adding a tag, users just tap an existing tag or add a new one, but most of the information must be added into the custom notes section. Our group's goal is to provide a quick way for users to input their impression of a beer with minimal usage of the keyboard.

Cellar

Cellar is a different app from our proposed idea because it focuses on wine collectors and helping them manage their wine collection. However, the bones of the idea is still the same. The interface is still a list of wines to go through, however the presentation is different than the other apps. Instead of a generic list of names, Cellar makes use of the iPhone's portrait orientation and displays bottles as if they were on a shelf. This makes navigating through the list more intuitive to the wine collector because it would be as if they were looking at their own collection. Cellar also includes a suggestion feature where it randomly picks a wine to try by shaking the iPhone. I thought this would be a good idea to try except for the beer app, we could allow users to filter their choices (ie I want to try a bitter beer) and then randomly decide, or have the app suggest a beer based on the user's previous entries.

Belgian Beer App

Belgian Beer App has an even narrower target user group: Belgium beer enthusiasts. It includes a search feature, detailed description of each beer in the database, and a suggest a beer option. The app seems very useful in providing great detail for each beer and provides recommendations based on different categories including the season. The interface is basic but allows easy searching through various filters such as color, brew type, region, and more. The app seems to accept no user input so a user who tried a beer the app recommended might have a hard time remembering the experience at a later date.

Beer Brands

Beer Brands focuses on the more amateur beer drinkers looking for beer to buy at a store. This is different from our target user group who would potentially go through many type of beers in one sitting and would have to recall these beers. Beer Brands offer at least some management including a way to remember the user's favorites. Much like the Cellar app, Beer Brands includes a feature to randomly pick a beer, although the usefulness of this is questionable if the user is already at the store which does not provide all 7800+ beers listed in the app's database. The app itself is very generic and doesn't even supply a photo for each beer, making it difficult for a user to peruse the list.

BJCP Styles

BJCP Styles targets beer lovers, homebrewers, and beer judges. Because it was developed by BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program), each beer entry is broken down into the style guidelines that judges go by when judging beer. It also includes a color grid to compare the color of beer. I thought this was a great idea because it broke down a characteristic to more than just "light, medium, dark" and the grid provided a way for users to compare the beer at hand with the visual representation. Our group would expand on this idea by allowing something such as bitter beer have a scale to how bitter it was. The app, although thorough and detailed, contains a lot of information to digest and although it does not rely on users to provide information, it isn't a quick way for users to get the information they need.

Rate:Beer

Rate:Beer targets the same users as our group, mainly beer lovers. The app provides ratings for each beer using 5 different facial expressions and provides not only the beer info but the company as well, redirecting users to the company's website or contact info if users wanted to learn more. Rate:Beer differs from the other apps by providing a rating system for a beer's characteristics as well as an overall rating. Rate:Beer also includes a sharing feature to exchange the user's ratings with friends, however it's unclear how the app handles receiving ratings from different users.

Gallagher's Beer Guide

Gallagher’s Beer Guide targets the more casual beer drinkers rather than beer enthusiasts looking for a new beer to try based on their current preferences. The app provides a small database of beers to look through in list form along with suggestions for wine and food pairing in a separate frame. It allows users to find beer suggestions by flavor and users can add personal notes after each tasting of a beer. However, the notes are categorized in a separate section and thus not associated with that particular beer's listing. Because our group expects a user to go through many tastings, the user would accumulate many notes and would be hard to sort through. The notes are also merely a text field for a user to fill in. Because our group’s goal is to provide a quick interface for users to remember a particular tasting, we want to provide a faster way to input these tasting notes by providing more than a text field, such as predefined quality tags.

BeerGuide

BeerGuide targets, much like ours, beer drinkers. It allows users to keep track of the beers they like to drink along with ones they would like to try by looking up a beer in the database and adding it to a wish/favorite list. The search feature allows advanced searching by filtering for certain styles, alcohol content, glass, food pairing, and location at the same time. The rating system is an average score of all the user's input which may not benefit the user at a personal level.

Summary

Feature Matrix
App Name Prepopulated Database Specific to Tasting Custom Notes Share Feature Back-up Function Search Add New Beer Add Custom Photo Recommend Feature Overall Rating In-depth Rating
iBeers Lite 2700+ beers No No No No Yes No Yes No 5 Stars None
Tasting Notes 0 Yes Yes Email No Yes Yes Yes No 100pt scale Customizable
Beer Pad 0 No Yes No No Yes Yes Yes No 5 stars None
Cellar 0 No Yes Twitter No Yes Yes Yes Yes 100 pt scale None
Belgian Beer App Yes No No No N/A Yes No No Yes None None
Beer Brands 7800+ beers No No No No Yes No No Yes None None
BJCP Styles Yes No No Yes No Yes No No No None None
Rate:Beer 2500+ beers No Yes Other iPhones with app No Yes Yes No No 5 "Faces" 5 "Faces"
Gallagher's Beer Guide 576 Yes Yes Email No No No Yes No None None
Beer Guide 12,000+ beers No Yes No No Yes No No No 5 Stars ave. on all users None

Many of these apps addresses the original problem by providing a lot of data about a beer and supplying an informative rating system. An issue that most of these apps faced was how time consuming entering data could be or going through a large list. Because we don't want users to feel they have to put effort into making use of an app and take away from their drinking experience, we would want an interface that allowed quick input, such as making use of Beer Pad's style tags along with a scale (how bitter was that beer?). We also wanted an impression instance for each tasting rather than the beer as a whole, which only a couple apps addressed but didn't allow multiple instances. Our main difference however would be our social aspect to our idea. Rate:Beer allowed exchanging ratings but didn't have a good interface to organize those ratings and both users had to own the app to exchange.



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