CompetitiveAnalysis-JasonWu

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Contents

Restatement of the group's idea

My group proposed an application that allows skaters to catalog tricks in their repertoire by recording videos, which they can geotag to share with other local skateboarders or use as references to improve their skills, as well as watch trick videos from other local users.

The A-Team's Brainstorm

List of related applications

  1. Boarder Lounge (Free)
  2. GoLearn Skateboarding ($4.99)
  3. iSkateboard ($2.99)
  4. Skate & Snowboard Guide ($2.99)
  5. Skate Tricks ($1.99)
  6. Skateboard Tricks & Tips ($7.99)
  7. Skateropolis ($2.99)
  8. SkateTube ($0.99)
  9. Skatr ($2.99)
  10. Tony Hawk: Trick Tips ($1.99)
  11. Transworld Skateboarding Videos, How-To's & News ($0.99)

Analysis

Boarder Lounge

Boarder Lounge's target user group consists of both skateboarders and snowboarders, whereas my group's proposed application targets only skateboarders.

This application primarily serves social networking functions for the skateboarding and snowboarding communities. One main feature is a message board, where users can post to ask questions, share information, or network with other users. Another feature is a database of skateboarding and snowboarding spots; users can add spots that they discover, rate or comment on existing spots, as well as upload photos (and videos in the latest version) to share with other users. Since my group's proposed application will focus on helping users improve their skills rather than social networking, it will not have a message board. Also, Boarder Lounge does not organize videos attached to spots, whereas my group's app will let users categorize their videos into different trick types so that others can learn how to perform tricks at that particular spot.

The major usability issue concerns the ability to use GPS to locate nearby spots. In my testing of the app, I noticed that it places markers for all of the nearby spots on the same map point (your current location) instead of placing the markers at the locations of the spots themselves. This design choice makes absolutely no sense to me, as users cannot see where the spots are actually located. Also, it seemed to think that a snowboarding spot in Devil's Head, Wisconsin is within 100 miles of the Bay Area (actual distance is over 2000 miles). To improve usability, my group's app will place markers on the actual locations of nearby spots.

GoLearn Skateboarding

GoLearn Skateboarding targets skateboarders who wish to improve their skills, which is essentially the same user base my group's proposal targets.

This application has three main features: skateboard mechanic, skatepark locator, and instructional videos. The first feature, which will not be included in my group's app, teaches users how to fix their skateboards. The skatepark locator allows a user to find nearby skateparks through GPS or entering a zip code. However, this feature is quite limiting, as skateboarders often do not skate exclusively at skateparks, so my group's app will improve on the locator feature by allowing users to find skateboarding spots added by other users. The instructional videos in GoLearn are categorized by trick type and feature instruction from professional skateboarders. My group's app will improve on this function by allowing users to see trick videos taken by other users at local skateparks, as it will likely be easier to learn a trick by watching someone perform it in a familiar setting.

According to numerous positive reviews, the GPS locator is effective at helping users find nearby skateparks, and the ability to enter a zip code in case GPS is not available is a good idea. One usability problem I noticed in my testing is that the app includes skateboarding sounds (some were a bit obnoxious) during transitions between different screens, and there is no mute button or options menu for sound. My group's app will avoid this problem by either not including transition sounds or at least including a mute button.

iSkateboard

iSkateboard targets skateboarders in general, not necessarily the subset who strive to improve their skateboarding skills that my group targets.

This application is basically a directory of skateparks, street skateboarding spots, and skate shops. Users can use either GPS to find locations within 50 miles of them or manually enter city names, and the app can provide them with turn-by-turn driving directions to the location of their choice. However, users cannot directly add their own spots to the database, and they must instead contact the developers and wait for them to update the app. My group's app will improve on the idea of having a database of skateparks and skate spots by allowing users to add new spots without having to go through an intermediary as well as upload videos of themselves performing tricks at those spots. iSkateboard also has a built-in discussion forum, a feature which is not included in my group's proposed app.

A usability issue is the accuracy of the directory information. Multiple negative reviews state that addresses of skateboarding spots are not always correct, and locations that no longer exist still show up in the directory. My group's app can avoid this problem by allowing users to update information associated with spots and perhaps flag them for deletion.

Skate & Snowboard Guide

Skate & Snowboard Guide's target user group consists of both skateboarders and snowboarders, whereas my group's proposed application targets only skateboarders.

This application teaches users about selecting the right gear for skateboarding and snowboarding as well as how to perform certain tricks. Strangely, the app creators decided to include only text and photos in the tutorials. I feel that videos are a much more appropriate choice for learning how to perform tricks, and my group's app will greatly improve on the instructional aspect of this app by allowing users to watch trick videos uploaded by other local skateboarders.

Reviews for this app are overwhelmingly negative. Although I did not purchase this app, some reviews state that the app is very difficult to navigate. To avoid this navigation problem, my group will need to ensure that users can easily identify how to perform various functions.

Skate Tricks

Skate Tricks targets skateboarders who wish to improve their skills, which is essentially the same user base my group's proposal targets.

This application teaches users nine basic skateboarding tricks, using instructional videos with slow motion and voiceovers from experienced skateboarders. Instead of featuring pre-made instructional videos, users of my group's app will be able to watch trick videos uploaded by other local users, which will in all likelihood not be slow motion videos with the sole purpose of teaching others how to perform tricks. Nevertheless, my group's app will better facilitate learning skateboarding tricks, as it will not be limited to only nine trick types like this app, and users will be able see how others perform tricks at local skate spots with which they are already familiar.

There are no real usability successes or challenges in Skate Tricks. It is essentially a collection of nine tutorial videos, and its user interface is very basic.

Skateboard Tricks & Tips

Skateboard Tricks & Tips targets skateboarders who wish to improve their skills, which is essentially the same user base my group's proposal targets.

This application is basically a skateboarding instructional video called 'Concrete Surfer' converted into an application. It features tutorials from several famous professional skateboarders that teach users very basic skills, such as riding a skateboard without falling off, as well as simple tricks. All of the videos are shot at the BaySixty6 skatepark in London. My group's app will improve on the instructional aspect by not limiting the trick categories to those taught in this app, allowing skateboarders to add videos of them performing advanced combination tricks or innovative tricks that they invent. Furthermore, Skateboard Tricks & Tips may be great for skaters in London, who can follow along with the instructional videos while at the BaySixty6 park, but my group's app will allow users to watch trick videos taken at local skate spots that they can actually access.

The app creators simply ported the 55-minute movie 'Concrete Surfer' into an app and added an opening screen with a Play button, so there is no way to skip straight to the tutorial video for a certain skill or trick. This design choice seems quite inconvenient, and my group's proposed app will not have this problem because users can choose which videos they wish to watch.

Skateropolis

Skateropolis targets skateboarders in general, not necessarily the subset who strive to improve their skateboarding skills that my group targets.

This application is a skatepark locator as well as a social networking hub for skateboarders. Users can use the iPhone's GPS capabilities to locate nearby skateparks as well as rate, post comments about, or upload photos/videos from the parks. They can also join groups, each of which has a message board so that group members can communicate with one another, and the app also has a microblogging implementation much like Twitter so that users can see real-time updates from other users. My group's proposed app will not have groups or microblogging, but it will improve on the locator feature by allowing users to add street skateboarding spots, not just skateparks. It will also improve on the video features by organizing videos into specific trick categories so that users can easily see what types of tricks can be accomplished at various skate spots.

One usability success is that this app allows users to sort nearby skateparks in three different ways: distance, alphabetical order, and user rating. Although my group did not discuss the exact implementation details of the skate spot locator in our proposed app, I feel that allowing users to organize the skate spots in such a way rather than simply showing markers on a map will allow more flexibility.

SkateTube

SkateTube targets people who enjoy watching skateboarding videos, whereas my group is targeting skateboarders looking to improve their skills.

This application is essentially a YouTube for only skateboarding videos. In fact, the videos that users can access from the app are actually from YouTube, and it appears from one review of the latest release of the app that there are only 22 videos available at the moment because the videos are hand-selected by the app creators. My group's app will improve on the video functionality by allowing users to upload their own videos, which will be associated with the skate spots where they were taken so that other users can see what tricks they can accomplish at nearby locations.

There are no real usability challenges or success for this app, as it appears the app creators basically copied YouTube's GUI.

Skatr

Skatr targets skateboarders in general, not necessarily the subset who strive to improve their skateboarding skills that my group targets.

The main function of this application is a skate spot locator. Users can locate nearby spots using GPS, add spots to the database, as well as comment on or upload photos from existing spots. Since my group's proposed app is not merely a skate spot locator but also a training tool for skateboarders, it will have the additional functionality of allowing users to view videos from each skate spot so that they can learn how to accomplish certain tricks at a particular spot.

Skatr is marketed as an app that "helps you decide where you want to skate next," and I believe it includes several features that improve usability in terms of this function. It includes Google StreetView for skate spots so users can preview the locations, and it also keeps track of recently viewed/visited skate spots. However, I do not believe that my group's app will require these features, as its primary function is to help skateboarders learn tricks, not necessarily just pick a spot at which to skateboard. Also, users of my group's app should be able to preview locations without StreetView, since they can watch videos taken at each location.

Tony Hawk: Trick Tips

Tony Hawk: Trick Tips targets skateboarders who wish to improve their skills, which is essentially the same user base my group's proposal targets.

This application features famous professional skateboarder Tony Hawk teaching users how to perform over 50 basic to advanced tricks with step-by-step still photos and instructional videos with voiceovers. While the 50 tricks in the app cover many popular tricks skateboarders wish to learn, users cannot learn other tricks unless Tony Hawk decides to update the app with additional videos. My group's proposed app will be much more flexible, as it will allow users to create new categories of tricks and upload videos of themselves performing these innovative tricks. Also, while the videos uploaded to my group's app will likely not be as in-depth as the tutorial videos from Tony Hawk, users can better learn how to perform tricks at local skate spots by watching videos from those spots uploaded by other users. Also, my group's proposal includes a skate spot locator function, whereas users of Tony Hawk: Trick Tips must also purchase Tony Hawk: Skate Locate for this feature.

One usability problem is that the tutorial videos are not stored in the device memory but rather accessed through 3G or Wifi. If there is no Wifi at a skate spot, and cellular access is poor, a skateboarder cannot watch the tutorials as he or she is attempting the tricks. This is a fairly serious issue that affects my group's proposal as well, and I believe we may need to cache videos to the device after a user picks a skate spot so that the user can watch the videos at the spot even if Internet access is not available.

Transworld Skateboarding Videos, How-To's & News

Transworld targets both skateboarding fans and skateboarders hoping to improve their skills, while my group's proposal targets only the latter group.

This application is divided into three features: general skateboarding videos, news, and how-to videos. The first two features are for skateboarding fans to keep track of the latest happenings in the skateboarding world and will not be included in my group's app. The included how-to videos feature professional skateboarders explaining and demonstrating how to perform various tricks, ranging from basic to advanced. Unless these skateboarders choose to create additional tutorial videos and update the app, the how-to section will not grow, whereas my group's app will enable users to create and upload content whenever they choose, resulting in a greater number and variety of trick videos. Also, users of my group's app will be able to watch videos of skaters in local venues, which is much more engaging than watching a skateboarder perform a trick somewhere a user will never visit.

Like the Tony Hawk app, Transworld does not store videos in the device memory, so users with no 3G or Wifi access at a skate spot will be out of luck when they try to watch the how-to videos. If my group addresses this issue well, perhaps by precaching videos from a skate spot the user chooses to visit, we may be able to attract users away from Transworld and towards our app.

Summary

My findings from this competitive analysis are shown in the table below. It seems that many applications targeted towards skateboarders already have a feature that allows users to locate nearby skateparks or skate spots through GPS. My group's proposed app will include such a feature, but to remain competitive against existing apps, users of our app will be able to geotag their trick videos, categorize them into various trick categories, and associate the videos with the skate spots where they were filmed. Other users can then learn a particular trick by choosing a local skate spot and watching a video of another user performing that trick at that particular skate spot, leading to a more engaging learning experience than watching a tutorial from a pro skater filmed in an unfamiliar locale. Furthermore, only several existing apps allow users to add their own skateboarding spots; our app will certainly included this feature since skateboarders often do not skate exclusively at skateparks. The most unique feature offered by our app is the Trick Checklist, which enables skateboarders to keep track of which tricks they are able to do by storing videos of them performing the tricks. No other app offers this capability at the moment, and I feel that this feature will give us an edge over our competitors, as amateur skateboarders will be able to easily gauge their progress and set goals for learning new tricks.


Feature Matrix
App Name Skateboarding Content Snowboarding Content Chat News Locator Add Skate Spots Pro Videos Local Videos Upload Videos Trick Checklist
Boarder Lounge X X X X X X X
GoLearn Skateboarding X X X
iSkateboard X X X
Skate & Snowboard Guide X X
Skate Tricks X X
Skateboard Tricks & Tips X X
Skateropolis X X X X X
SkateTube X X X
Skatr X X X
Tony Hawk: Trick Tips X X
Transworld X X X
Group App X X X X X X


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