CompetitiveAnalysis-JonathanHirschberg

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Contents

Restatement of idea

We plan to design and implement an iPhone play book application for coaches that allows a coach to choose a sport and draw, list, save, and edit plays, play back plays step by step, and keep track of statistics about these plays.

Link to Brainstorm: http://vis.berkeley.edu/courses/cs160-sp10/wiki/index.php/GroupBrainstorm-Group:C

List of competitors

• Level X Hoops: http://www.geardiary.com/2009/09/29/level-x-hoops-adds-five-new-coaching-apps/

• Basketball Coach’s Clipboard: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/basketball-coachs-clipboard/id317785081?mt=8

• Soccer Whiteboard By Ron DiNapoli: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/soccer-whiteboard/id314066510?mt=8 http://www.sandcrater.com/soccerwhiteboard/

• Football Playbook by Fone Sportz Inc.: http://www.fonesportz.com/basketballflip_main.php

• Football Strategy by TAOZ: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/football-strategy/id316117093?mt=8#

• Football Note by Newton Japan Inc. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/football-note/id315366770?mt=8

• PlayBoard XT Football By Moduleight Software .LLC: http://www.moduleight.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=55&Itemid=68

• BBallStats Manager by James Cary: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bballstats-manager/id340818384?mt=8

• Basketball Manager by LAB.it http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/basketball-manager/id342353120?mt=8

• Statsquatch Basketball Scorekeeper By Skunk Ape Software: http://www.skunkapesoftware.com/statsquatch.php

Analysis

Level X Hoops

The Level X Hoops series of apps is intended to teach basketball players strategies from expert coaches through videos and other means. Each app is geared toward a specific purpose, such as attacking certain defensive arrangements. Our app, on the other hand, is intended for coaches to draw their plays and share them.

While these apps teach preformed strategies from experts rather than allowing users to draw their own strategies on the phone, it is important to learn how they cycle through their plays and how it is displayed on screen. Since these are intended for teaching techniques to players, we can learn, by example, the techniques of representing plays in our app in ways that are more easily understood by players.

These apps mostly consist of DVD footage of well-known coaches teaching basketball skills and techniques to the viewer, as well as real-time demonstrations.

Basketball Coach’s Clipboard

This application targets coaches and sports fanatics, and is intended to be used for demonstrating plays to others. There are different Coach’s Clipboard apps that are used for different sports such as basketball, soccer, or football.

Coach’s Clipboard is a program that displays the positions of the players on the court and allows the user to move players around on the screen and draw lines by touching it with their fingers. It currently has no mechanism for saving and loading positions or recording plays and replaying them. It promises, however, that it will include those features in future versions. Another problem that a reviewer noted is that the players cannot be locked in place so that they do not get accidentally moved while drawing. Our playbook application will include these features, as well as stats for data such as how many times a play was used and the number of times it was used successfully. While each of the programs in the coach’s clipboard series of applications focuses on a single sport, our application will focus on other sports as well.

Soccer Whiteboard

Although it is not explicitly stated as an app intended for coaches, it is intended for someone who draws strategies on the field and explains moves to players. The producer has also created whiteboard applications for other sports.

The user can use his or her fingers to drag players and the ball around on the field. The team member roles are designated by single letters that are placed on top of their positions markers, and the app is flexible terms of the number of players assigned each letter. The interface lacks a navigation bar to keep it simple and maximize the field space displayed. It can either display a full court, half court, or a scrolling court, in which part of the court is shown, but the user can scroll it to reveal other parts of the court.

Unfortunately, the minimization of toolbars may make the interface more confusing. To activate drawing mode, the user must perform a large vertical swipe on the playing field. The user double taps to exit. Rather than provide buttons for the user to choose voluntarily when to enter drawing mode, the interface assumes the user wants to enter it. It may be frustrating when the user wants to enter it but does not know how, or conversely, if the user swiped but intended to do something else besides drawing. However, in a real life situation, a coach using a white board would be holding a single marker that would be used both to mark player spots and draw movement arrows.

In terms of saving data, this program only allows the user to save arrangements of player positions and arrows on the field. However, we intend to save plays as sequences of steps in our application. Eliminating the user interface toolbars and other pieces not only maximize the size of the board, it also makes mode switching more implicit, which means that it has to rely more on the user’s intuition rather than explicit buttons. The settings view is accessed by double tapping anywhere on the field, which is not very intuitive but is nonetheless simple to do. This application seems to have done this quite well, seeing that the review ratings are higher than those for other apps.

Football Playbook

This application is intended for football coaches, players, and fans. Fonesportz has also produced Playbook apps for other sports such as basketball, hockey, soccer, and volleyball. Our application is meant mostly for coaches and players because we intend to give them an interface that is best suited to coaches’ needs in designing plays and for players’ needs in learning them. This app allows the user to use the chalkboard and create new plays or drills. The drill or play modes allow the user to create new drills or plays by placing players onto a virtual field represented by the iPhone screen and drawing lines to represent various actions on the field such as passing or shooting. Each step in the play can be saved by clicking the add button. Once the play has been completed, the user can navigate to the folder where the frames were saved and cycle through them like a flipbook. The user can also export these plays to the computer or over email. These are all functions that our app will include as well.

While this app does save plays, it does not have a space to include statistics about the play such as success rate. Version 2.0 allows the user to create a team list with the name, position, number, email address, and phone for each player. However, this information is not displayed on the field. The players are also nothing more than ‘X’ or ‘O’ symbols and there is no differentiation between members of the same team. Likewise, our application is not currently concerned with the individual team members involved or stats about them. It only focuses on drawing plays on screen and leaves details of the actual team members to the coach using this application. If, however, our users find it better to store stats about players and use that information to determine their strategies, our app should include player stats as well.

Football Strategy by TAOZ:

Football Strategy is meant for coaches, parents, and team members to use to discuss game plans and strategies. It is much like the target user group of our app, which includes coaches and players. This app allows users to place players in positions on the field and move them around with their fingers. Each player marker has two letters representing the role of that player. For example, “QB” represents the quarterback. The previous applications discussed did not include this feature, and I believe it is important that our application differentiate between team roles for markers on the field.

This application apparently does not allow the user to draw movements of players or save individual frames for each play, or any of the other features discussed previously in other apps.

Football Note by Newton Japan

The target user group is basically anyone who has a reason for marking a football field with colored markers. This can include coaches who want to display their plays and player positions. Our app, however, is meant to be used by coaches.

This app basically allows the user to mark a football field with colored markers. It has the features associated with drawing applications, such as pen color, width, erasers, zoom, as well as save and load functions. While it can be used for planning strategies, it can be used for many other purposes as well.

The drawing application interface allows more freedom with drawing players and moves that may possibly be more flexible and intuitive than other applications that have clearly defined modes for doing these things. Users who complain of a playbook interface that is unintuitive and difficult to use may appreciate the unstructured interface of this app. However, the user carries more of the burden for figuring out how to structure data meaningfully. It does not keep track of team member or play stats, and a coach would have to figure out how to represent the important data on the field with the various colors and strokes available. Our application wants to assist coaches in these tasks, and ideally it should use an interface that represents the important data on screen automatically while allowing the user freedom to draw plays in a flexible and intuitive manner.

PlayBoard XT Football By Moduleight Software .LLC

There are other PlayBoard XT sports apps that cover soccer, basketball, tennis, ice hockey, and others. This application allows coaches to communicate strategies to players by drawing on the iPhone screen itself. This matches our app’s target user group. This app is also more expensive ($5.99) than many of the other apps mentioned ($0.99), and it is intended for professional use. The app allows coaches to draw plays and save them into the photo album, email, or playbook. It can also display the position of the ball in the play and draw movements with straight lines. The latest version also features POP (Precision Object Placement) Technology, which allows objects to be moved and placed precisely on the field. Like some of the other apps, it also differentiates players by two letters representing their roles on the team.

Unlike the other apps discussed, this app contains features that assist with producing very accurate and precise layouts on the field. Possibly, the rationale behind it is the belief that the coach prefers to have accurate position markers and lines on the white board in real life but is limited by the inherent inaccuracies of hand drawing. Its various saving options also give coaches the freedom to decide what to do with their plays. However, it does not seem to have an ability to keep track of statistics for each play or cycle through each frame. Also, its higher price may discourage potential buyers.

BBallStats Manager By James Cary

This app is intended for coaches, parents, and others who want to track player stats. With these statistics, it is easy to see the strengths and weaknesses of the players. The user only needs to enter the stats into an input screen and the data is updated in real time. It also keeps track of play stats such as the number of shots made, fouls, rebounds, steals, assists, and blocked shots. Stats can be compiled into a report and emailed. There is also a team report that includes a team summary, all of the games that the team has played, and detailed stats for each player, as well as stats for each game.

Even though the idea behind this app is not drawing plays on screen and saving them, it keep track of player statistics that are updated with each game. Our app will record statistics for each play, so it is important to see what information statistical apps store and how they organize it. Then we can improve upon it and represent the play stats we want to show in an intuitive and well-organized way.

Basketball Manager by LAB.it

It is used for coaches to give them stats for players and games. It also allows coaches to direct their team members through the top-down view of the court in the coach board part of the app. Our user group matches this group quite closely. We intend it for coaches who design play strategies and need the instant feedback of the success of their strategies so they can adjust them accordingly. There are three apps for this program, which are the coach board, score chart, and player profiles. The player profiles keep track of their personal attributes and play stats such as the number of rebounds, assists, and steals. The most important part for our purposes is the coach board, which allows coaches to mark the court with the current player and ball positions. However, this only allows the coach to think up what needs to be done next based on the current configuration.

The coach board allows the coach to record players’ performances, and with that information, he or she can give instructions to the player. The burden is still largely upon the coach, who must first record the spots on the board and then decide what to do and draw it out on the board. The primary purpose of the app is to record player performance statistics. However, there does not seem to be an ability to record statistical information about the plays themselves.

Statsquatch Basketball Scorekeeper By Skunk Ape Software

The app is designed to capture scores and statistics for live basketball games and is useful for anyone who has an interest in such information, such as coaches.

It claims to have intuitive, touched-based game tracking, which is done by recording the positions of the players, identified by jersey number. This recording is done many times throughout the game and allows coaches to view each individual player’s performance. It can also track opponent weaknesses by keeping track of their performance.

This project produces elaborate game reports that display the positions of the players throughout the game. These game reports or similar reports could be useful in determining which plays are successful or not. The real value in this application is in using the player statistics to find opponent weaknesses and strengths of players on one’s own team to design new strategies. Also, when applying a play in real time, the app can record the outcome and update the statistics with how successful it was, which is something our app plans to do.

Summary

While different aspects of our application have been covered by other sports playbook applications, I have not found one that covers all of them. Many apps have drawing interfaces that allow users to place markers representing players onto the field and draw lines between them. The exact commands vary between apps. Some apps have status bars that have icons representing different drawing modes while others do not have a status bar and instead make assumptions about people’s gestures based on their habits. In order for our application to be successful, it should use an interface that is more intuitive to the user rather than putting them in modes to do something. Among the apps I have discussed, the apps that took away the toolbar from the interface and allowed you to touch the screen to draw things were seen as more intuitive and had higher ratings than those that had a few symbols on a toolbar that one has to select in order to do something. In order for our application to be successful, it should use an interface that is more intuitive to the user rather than putting them in modes. Many of these apps differentiate the players in some way, usually by team role, and sometimes by jersey number, and I believe it is necessary in order to assist coaches in planning strategies.

The closest competing app to our idea is the PlayBoard XT Football By Moduleight Software .LLC. It has special precision drawing tools and can save and export plays to email and other places. However, it does not seem to have the ability to play back plays frame by frame, which our application intends to implement.

Other programs, such as the Level X Hoops instructional videos or the stats gathering programs, show me other aspects of the app that we want to design, such as formulating the display and playback features in ways that assist players in learning the plays or keeping track of statistics for each play. Most of the statistics programs keep track of individual player performance, but none of them take in a coach’s strategy and generate statistics on information such as how many times it succeeded. Ideally, I’d want to make an app that allows coaches to draw plays on the screen and play them back frame by frame, save and share them, and store statistics related to specific plays whenever they are used during the game. There does not seem to be an app that does all of this.



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