CompetitiveAnalysis-KathrynSkorpil

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Contents

Reinstatement of Idea

Our final project idea is to create an application for Venture Scouts and their leaders to keep track of their rankings and badges, as well as information on how to advance in rank and learn wilderness survival skills. The original brainstorm link is here (but it is outdated since we changed our idea after submission).

List of Competitors

Since there are no applications for Venture Scouts specifically, I decided to look at applications for their close cousins, the Boy Scouts. Our application has many features such as rank and badge tracking, a survival guide, a knot tying game, and tools for troop leaders, so I looked for more general apps that fulfilled at least one of those features.

  1. Knot Guide
  2. The Boy Scout Handbook
  3. Scout Tracker
  4. BragVest
  5. Girl Scout Glossary
  6. iSurvive Wilderness
  7. Touch-Fill-Go
  8. Animated Rope Knots
  9. Boy Scout Countdown (2010)
  10. Survival Pocket Ref

Analysis

Knot Guide

Target User Group: People who want to learn how to create knots, or people who want to learn more knots.

Functionality: The Knot Guide by Winkpass Creations is essentially a knot encyclopedia. They have information for binding knots, climbing knots, fishing knots, as well as other types of knots. Each knot has it's own photo and detailed description on how that particular knot might be used. It also has step-by-step photos on how to tie each knot. You can search for a knot by category or name, and you can also store your favorite knots. There is also a knot lingo dictionary. Our application will have this same basic functionality, but it is only a small subsection of our application. We will also be focusing on knots that Scouts need specifically, as opposed to a larger range of general knots.

Usability: It has a 4 star rating based on 624 ratings. Most customer comments were positive, and usually stated that it was easy to follow and had nice clear illustrations. The largest complaint that people had with the app was that they had several listed knots that were all the same knot, but with different names. They also complained that some of the step-by-step guides were incomplete, often not explaining the last step to complete the knot. Our application will perhaps help yield a higher quality of knot instructions since we will not dealing with such a wide variety of knots.

The Boy Scout Handbook

Target User Group: For Boy Scouts, Boy Scout Troop leaders, and parents

Functionality: The Boy Scout Handbook is the official handbook for Boy Scouts of America. It is essentially the official guide book in iPhone format. It features a table of contents to allow users to skip to certain pages, as well as bookmarks to mark important information for the user. The book has sections for "First Aid" as well as other sections such as "Scoutcraft" which feature things like leadership and fitness. Our application will feature something like this as a portion of the application. We will most likely be focusing more on the survival aspect, however because we want the scouts to be able to take their app with them and use it out in the field.

Usability: The app received 4 stars out of 68 ratings on the app store. It overall had good reviews, citing that it was very useful to have the handbook with them at all times. They also enjoyed the illustrations and was useful during volunteering situations when a volunteer would need help with something foreign to them. The biggest criticisms people had were that it was too expensive, and also did not have landscape mode for easier readability. People also wished they could keep track of badges with the app. We will improve on this since we have planned to have this feature included. We also will most likely make this a free app or an app that only costs about $1 so people wouldn't have problems with the cost.

Scout Tracker

Target User Group: Boy Scouts

Functionality: The app is designed for an individual scout to keep track of their scout rank. They can put the date of their accomplishments, as well as see any unfinished requirements. Scouts have the option of sending reports of advancements to their advancement coordinates through email automatically. This is a large portion of our application as we know that it is important for scouts to advance through the ranks. This will be a subsection of the rest of the application.

Usability: Customers gave the app a 3.5 rating for 7 ratings. Customers in general said the app had a nice interface and was easy to use. They also mentioned the option of emailing progress reports was a nice feature. However, customers also noted that it would be nice to track multiple troop members at once and also track merit badges. Their app was more focused on just individual scouts, whereas ours will be focused on both, so they will have the option of tracking multiple people's rankings, or just their own.

Brag Vest

Target User Group: Cub Scouts

Functionality: BragVest is an app that allows scouts and their parents to keep track of all achievements as a Cub Scout. In the past, they would have to keep track of this information on paper which could easily get lost. They can track their achievements as well as see what else needs to be done to achieve the next ranking. Users can also mark finished tasks. As stated from the previous app, this will be very similar to what we are going to implement in our application.

Usability: Customers seem to find this the best application for Scouts, as it is the most compared to on other application reviews. Customers like that it is a free app, and is simple to use. The only complaint they seem to have is the inability to keep track of multiple members, but the author has noted that this is a feature that is coming soon. We are planning to have this ability in our application since it seems to be very important to our user group.

Girl Scout Glossary

Target User Group: Girl Scouts

Functionality: The application features scouting terms and is organized in a glossary-like fashion. Users also have the option of searching through the database in alphabetical order or by keyword. We do not really plan on having a section as a glossary, however our survival guide section would most likely handle this type of functionality.

Usability: This application does not have any ratings or reviews so it is hard to know how people feel about it. It seems to be a very straightforward app with a very specific use. Our application will be more general which will allow more people to use it. I also think that the 99 cents price-tag is high for a simple glossary, most terms which could probably be looked up online.

iSurvive Wilderness

Target User Group: The application is designed for people who need assistance in wilderness survival.

Functionality: iSurvive Wilderness has information on basic things needed to survive in the wilderness. It has instructions and photos of things like how to tie a knot, construct shelters, catch animals, and finding drinking water. It also serves as a reference for first aid, navigation and an almanac. Our application will be more specifically tailored to a Scouting environment, so it will have some details that are perhaps left out in this application.

Usability: The app has a 3 star rating out of 21 reviews. Customers say that the application is very easy to use and the instructions are easy to follow. They also find the pictures clear and help enhance the instructions. Other customers, however, say that it lacks content and expected more from a $3 application. More experienced outdoorsmen find the information in it to be "amateur" and not actually useful in a real survival situation. Speaking to customers who spend a lot of time in the wilderness will help us understand what will be essential in our survival guide portion and provide more detailed information.

Touch-Fill-Go

Target User Group: People who need to send out forms via email

Functionality: This application allows people to take a photo of their form on their iPhone, and then fill it out. It has a built-in image correction, field detection, and allows for emailing. The user can also create their signature by drawing on the screen with their finger. Our application will have a "form" section, but it will not be as complicated as this. However, the features they have could potentially be very useful depending on what we would like to do with our forms section.

Usability: The app has a 3.5 rating with 33 reviews. Some pros stated were that it has come in handy many times when on-the-go and has replaced their scanner. The biggest cons were that you couldn't import PDFs from email. Also for emailing to multiple recipients, it proved to be very laborious. Our application would like to be able to access the user's address book to send PDF emails, and also import PDFs as I feel this is generally a very important feature.

Animated Rope Knots

Target User Group: People who want to learn how to tie different types of knots

Functionality: Each knot has a video, a picture of the finished knot, and a description about the knot's usage. There are 23 rope knots available, and are listed in alphabetical or categorical order. Our application will have something very similar: a knot game where the user must select the next correct movement. However, a glossary such as this would be included.

Usability: The application only has one review, but it was given 5 stars. They commented that this application allowed them to learn the "must have" knots. We are hoping to have this type of functionality, only including knots that are deemed important for the Scouts.

Boy Scout Day Countdown (2010)

Target User Group: Boy Scouts, parents, or fans of Boy Scouts

Functionality: The application is just a timer that counts down to Boy Scout Day. It also allows the user to post on Facebook and Twitter about the event. This application is similar in the sense that it has a social aspect to it which we would like to have for scouts to show off their current rankings online.

Usability: This application is very simple and very specific. It also seems to be more interested in promoting itself than actually promoting Boy Scout Day. Our application will be built specifically for our user and not for self-promotion.

Survival Pocket Ref

Target User Group: People who want to survive in the wilderness

Functionality: The application is a quick reference guide on basic survival, evasion, first aid and recovery information. It has over 500 pages of information which would normally not be possible to carry around when traveling in the wilderness. It gathers its information from the Department of Defense Publication titled "Survival, Evasion and Recovery". The application shows users first aid techniques, how to create shelters, how to build a fire, how to survive nuclear, chemical, or biological attacks, as well as some other things. This application is too broad for our users, since most likely Venture Scouts will not have to worry about biological accounts on their excursions.

Usability: The application received a 3.5 rating from 83 reviews. The more favorable reviews state that the layout was easy to use. They also liked that it had many illustrations. The biggest con that people had was that it did not feature enough plant information and did not have a search function. We plan on having a search feature in our survival guide because it is really important to be able to find things quickly in a survival situation.

Summary

Overall, this exercise has been very useful. I have learned that there isn't an application that covers everything that our application seeks out to do. There are bits and pieces of our application out there, but it does not particularly tailor to Venture Scouts and does not join them together in a cohesive way. Also, most of these applications do not have a social aspect to them which is really important in a group like Venture Scouts which heavily rely on camaraderie. The option of sharing each others achievements with each other will be something that has not been done on a mobile platform for Venture Scouts.



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