CompetitiveAnalysis-LinseyHansen

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Contents

Restatement of Idea

The purpose of the Venture Scout Application is to aid both Venture Scouts and their troop leaders in tasks such as planning group activities, tracking fundraising progress and ideas, sorting forms and emergency contact information, providing the user with a basic survival guide, keeping track of badges and their requirements, and perhaps a knot tying mini game. Our Proposal

List of Competitors

Since there were not necessarily any applications that do precisely what the Venture Scout Application will do, these are mostly applications that have some function similar to one of our application’s many features.

  1. The Boy Scout Handbook
  2. ScoutTracker
  3. BragVest
  4. Army Survival
  5. iSurvive- Military
  6. iSurvive Wilderness
  7. 1st Response: Emergency Kit
  8. Tap Forms
  9. Groups
  10. Knot Guide

Analysis

1. The Boy Scout Handbook

Link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-boy-scout-handbook/id327240445?mt=8

Target Users Group Similarly to ours, the target user group is boy scouts, though our target users are technically Venture Scouts (which is a division of boy scouts).

Functionality One of the immediate benefits of this application is that it provides users with a portable handbook. It also allows for bookmarking and searches for specific terms. Our idea is not exactly a handbook, and will probably not have these bookmarking and searching features. It will however have a badge tracker which will briefly cover some of the information given by this handbook.

Usability This application is a book, so it seems to have the same usability as any other virtual book and should be strait forward to use- there are three sections (Context, Index, Bookmarks), then each of those sections has its own submenu (i.e. Context-chapters titles, bookmarks- bookmark titles, index- alphabetical stuff and search bar). However, I also feel like there are some excessive features in the UI (i.e. the text only format that takes up a bar on the screen while in context mode) that we probably won’t include when we implement our badge tracker.


2. ScoutTracker

Link: http://scoutmaster.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/01/scout-tracker-iphone-app.html

Target User Group Again, this is an application that targets the Boy Scout user group.

Functionality It is pretty much the same as our badge tracker, except that it tracks things by rank. For each rank, it has a list of all of the achievements necessary to get to that rank. However, it is apparently missing a function that keeps track of merit badges required for a rank (which is what our badge tracker is all about, thus our way of improving on it). It also has a cute feature which allows the user to send an email of advancement information out to people from their iPhone’s contact list.

Usability The UI is a pretty simple looking table format that includes each rank, so when you click on a rank you are given all of information on either reaching that rank or what you did to reach it. To send advancement information to others, there is just a big button on the main menu that I guess summarizes everything and sends it. Our badge tracker UI will mostly likely be similar to this, though sans the random send information button, which could potentially be clicked on accident rather often (unless we learn later that this is actually a useful function).


3. BragVest

Link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bragvest/id327006143?mt=8#

Target User Group The target user group for BragVest is Cub Scouts, which is another subgroup of boy scouts, so it is again rather similar, but not the same as, our target user group.

Functionality It is basically Scout Tracker for cub scouts, so it is again similar to our badge tracker function in our Venture Scout Application. It basically allows the user to view all of the achievements they need for each rank and mark them off as they accomplish them, however it does not let you send this information to other people. The fact that there are two applications out there that track by rank instead of badge might mean that our badge tracker is either going to be amazingly useful and unique or not as desirable as a rank tracker. However, unlike this, our badge tracker will allow troop leaders to track each of their individual troop member’s achievements as well.

Usability The Usability of this application seems just as simple as the Scout Tracker, since it starts out with a table of ranks which will take you to other tables of achievements needed for each rank, and then you can select an achievement as being complete, pending, or incomplete. Since it is lacking unnecessary buttons, I don’t know if we can offer much to improve upon here.


4. Army Survival

Link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/army-survival/id343747489?mt=8#

Target User Group Survival enthusiasts and military members seem to be the target users for this application, and while they are not exactly a military force, Venture Scouts are definitely survival enthusiasts.

Functionality This application is basically an encyclopedia of how to survive in the wild, which includes dangerous animals, dangerous plants, edible objects, building shelters, and surviving in different climates. It also includes a plethora of instructional visual aids and color photos which make visualizing an animal or survival ritual a lot easier.

Usability The initial screen contains a list of all the chapters, and a sub bar gives the options to bookmark/search for specific items. From there you are taken to either another table view or a page containing the actual information. To be honest, using this application seems not very useful as far as the subject of plants and animals goes, since it is not region based (and knowing what to eat/what can eat you seems important). While using this, unless the user knows the specific name of the plant/animal species they are looking at they are going to need to go through each individual page to find it, plus they won’t be able to read up on things ahead of time based on the area they’re in, they will just need to wait until they see it and can match it up with a picture in the guide. Our survival guide will definitely be region based to improve on this.


5. iSurvive- Military Grade Survival Manual

Link: http://www.pcworld.com/appguide/app.html?id=127977&expand=false

Target User Group While this is another “military” application, it could also be used by survival enthusiasts aka Venture Scouts like our target user group.

Functionality So, this has A TON of features, and unlike the previous survival application, it is not necessarily a live off the land type of survival guide (i.e. it does not include edible plants or dangerous animals, but instead offers more general strategies). From the initial screen, it is possible to access a generic checklist to go over while trying to survive. It also includes a really nice editor which allows the user, in addition to the basic search/bookmarking functions, to do things such as make notes in the actual guide or take pictures/make notes on those. Our survival guide function will “improve” on this by making it more geared towards Venture Scouts for the most part and perhaps allowing the generic checklist to be editable.

Usability One really great thing about this application is that it is not like reading a giant, wordy encyclopedia; it instead just lists some specific yet important points. However, this does lack visual aids for the most part, so to improve upon that, our application will definitely include some.


6. iSurvive Wilderness

Link: http://www.macworld.com/appguide/app.html?id=68248&expand=false

Target User Group Again, the target user group for this application is survival enthusiasts, so our user group is within this group.

Functionality iSurvive Wilderness provides a really basic survival guide and covers topics such as mentality, food, first aid, shelter, rescue, weather, etc. However, it does not go very far in depth on any of these topics- our guide will probably cover similar areas, but go in depth and focus on what a Venture Scout would need to know about the topic.

Usability Since it has the typical table-based menu, it seems straightforward to use, however it has very few visual aids, so an improvement upon this would be for us to include more in our guide.


7. 1st Response: Emergency Kit

Link: http://www.appcraver.com/1st-response-emergency-kit/

Target User Group Honestly, the target user group appears to be paranoid people who always want to be prepared or who just have an interest in first aid, and since scouts are generally supposed to be first aid savvy and prepared, they can probably fit into this category of users.

Functionality 1st Response is not only a first aide guide, but allows you to store personal first aid information and comes with an awesome S.O.S emergency light (though I guess scouts are expected to use signal fires). My favorite function in this application is the ability to store first aid information in it, since this would be really awesome for the Troop leader to have for each of the scouts (i.e. a scout puts in their health/contact information and it can be updated to their scout leader’s database), so we could possibly build off of this for our Venture Scout Application.

Usability The interface for this is really straight forward, though I’m guessing that the application intends for a potential rescuer to be using the application instead of the owner, and in many cases the rescuer might not know to check the owner’s iPhone and might find the layout to not be too intuitive in an emergency situation. This is why I feel that the application would best be used by groups who share a database, since they will all know how it works and to look there if someone is injured and/or in need of aid.


8. Tap Forms

Link: http://www.tapforms.com/

Target User Group TapForms’s target users are those who need to store and create forms, and since we intended to include some sort of functionality to allow scouts and troop leaders to exchange forms effectively, this seemed similar enough to compare.

Functionality This application is mostly a giant organizer which comes with some pre-set forms (i.e. driver’s license and passport information) or allows the user to create their own. Since Venture Scouts who are still minors often need to fill out permission slips and other things of the sort, this functionality would be nice, except that instead of just storing your own forms, you would be able to send them to others as well (i.e. the Troop Leader). So basically, our form function would allow troop leaders to create custom consent/information forms, send them out to their troops to fill in, and then the scouts could send the forms back.

Usability The entire application itself is rather complex, so using it could be annoying at first, our application will definitely be a lot more simple and focus solely on what would be needed for Venture Scout forms.


9. Groups

Link: http://www.appleinsider.com/blogs/iphone/09/02/10/groups_a_stylish_contact_manger_for_iphone.html

Target User Group Groups’s targets people who need to create contact groups, which is more of a category that the troop leader will fit into, but it could be nice for scouts as well.

Functionality All this application really does is it allows the user to create new contact groups then add certain contacts to that group, they can then send mass texts/emails based on groups. To build on this, our Troop leader function can probably just go through the leader’s contact list and select certain contacts to store in the application, thus making it easier to contact everyone at once, as opposed to scrolling through their entire contact book each time they need to either get ahold of the parents or their troops by phone and/or email.

Usability The interface is really straightforward, especially for creating groups and dragging contacts into the groups. One problem that might occur though is separating how to send information to just the parents, just the scouts, particular families, or both in one go, so perhaps our function can include more options for contacting these groups and their combinations.


10. Knot Guide

Link: http://www.iphoneappreviews.net/2009/01/30/knot-guide/

Target User Group Knot Guide Targets people who like knots! Scouts seem to be known for their skills with knots, so they definitely fit into this group (the fact that all of the reviews were left by some sort of scout is proof).

Functionality So, like our knot tying game, this application focuses on proper knot tying skills. It basically offers three categories for knots, and then includes all of the knots of that type as well as information on those knots, plus directions for how to tie them via an interactive rope. Honestly, the only difference with our knot tying function will probably be that ours will be more of a game, and will focus only on Venture Scout knots.

Usability According to a few reviews I have read, this is a very easy to follow guide, though I feel like the main screen is overly wordy and could probably use a separate tab so that the user does not need to scroll down every time they enter the main screen (since it basically a wall of text/instructions, then a table menu for the knot types below it). Also there is this “make a favorite” button, but there does not appear to be a menu of favorites, though they idea is good for if the user is currently focusing on learning a few specific knots and needs a bookmark for them.

Summary

After reviewing all of these applications, features that seem well covered are 1) Rank Trackers, 2) Survival Guides, and 3) Contact Groups. However, for rank trackers, these are not badge specific (which is either a good thing or a bad thing) and not made for Venture Scouts; for survival guides, the competition is either too broad or too narrow to be optimal for a Venture Scout; for contact group applications, they are nice, but current ones do not seem to completely offer the functionality we want our application to have (i.e. forms and emergency information). Aside from those comments, the fact that we are combining these features, along with others, and tailoring them specifically to serve Venture Scouts and their troop leaders makes our idea seem unique enough (and we are adding lots of group functionality). Plus, certain features, like the fundraiser tracker and form coordinator are not offered at all. At the same time, it might be that our application has *too* many features, so we might



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