CompetitiveAnalysis-MattVaznaian

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Contents

Restatement Of Idea

The main idea behind our group's application is to provide an easy, graphical way for a user to keep well organized, specific notes of their impressions of beers that they try.

List Of Competitors

Analysis

  • Beer Pad

Beer Pad is essentially a graphical notepad for users who want to keep notes about beers they try. The target user group is people who are looking for more than just a drink but take on more of an appreciation for the beer they drink. This user group is basically the same as ours. The application allows users to record what they think about the beer, rate the beer from a 1-5 scale, take a picture of the bottle/glass and add a few words about it to remember it by. You can also describe the beer using four categories (style, brewery, region, pairings) which each have their own lists of descriptive words to choose from, meaning you pick from a list of options rather than entering your own description. Our proposed idea differs by allowing users to add in their own notes about the beer as well as use slider bars to rate certain aspects of the beer taste. You will also ideally be able to choose from a library of beers with precomputed information. According to reviews, adding beers to your list does not sort them alphabetically, which is one thing our application will do. A lot of users also complained that the 1-5 sclae system was not enough for an efficient rating. At least 10 options are needed. There are also bugs with text field wrapping. The application is said to be very easy to use and there plenty of users who found the application helpful on the go. These are all things to look out for when making ours.

  • Rate:Beer

Rate:Beer is an application for beer lovers and beer aficionados. The target user group is very similar to ours and differs only in that this application favors those people who are also looking to share their info with their friends online and are interested in seeing what others think about the same beer. The application allows users to search through an extensive library of brands and beers to find what they are looking for, both alphabetically and by rating from friends or the general public. You can add your own beer or brand. When you choose a beer you have the option of rating the beer (1-5 scale) in different areas such as appearance, aftertaste, body and aroma. You also have available to you a short description of the beer as well as links to the website and company info. You can upload your opinions and share them with your friends or the world. The functionality of our proposed application will differ by allowing the user to add more personal information about the beer they have discovered. We plan to mix a precomputed database of beers with a personal notepad of notes. Areas to rate will have bigger scales rather than just 1-5. Where this application succeeds is providing users with a wealth of knowledge about many of the beers and brands that exist out in the world. It is a quick and easy way for a person to get some opinions on a beer they find. It has a good, easy to user interface, with listings nicely sorted. However, many users felt it was just a giant list of beers. You cannot search for a type of beer either. Our application will provide more of a way for users to get their specific thoughts about the beer out on paper (or in this case phone).

  • A Beer

A Beer application is targeted towards users looking for different types of beers, as well as those looking to document the beers they try. It differs from ours in that our target user group is primarily for those people looking to document a detailed description of their beer. They want to provide information rather than find information. The functionality includes: browsing over 1000+ beers by type, location, name, brewery, rating and other categories, adding in your own beer and taking notes on it, adding personal notes to beers found in database and taking photos of the beers you add. Our idea will improve on the offered functionality by adding more specific rating options including different aspects of taste and texture. As far as usability goes, the application is pretty straightforward and adding in your own beers and notes is easy to do. Users have reported bugs with software updates as well as a small database of beers.

  • Gallagher's Beer Guide

This application’s target user group is people who are looking for a good beer to try when they go out, whether it is at the store or a bar. This differs from ours in that our application is designed more for people to jot down notes of beers they discover. The finding is somewhat implied. This beer application features unique ways of finding beers, including browsing by style (Beer Guide), browsing by food pairings (Food Guide) and browsing by common flavors (Flavor Guide). You also have the option of jotting down notes about a beer you try and taking a snapshot for reference. Our functionality improves from this application by adding more features when jotting personal notes which we feel will be more useful for our target group. Some of the issues of usability the application has are first that beers are listed only by brewery, so knowing the beer name and not its maker does you no good. Also, no information is given about the beers, just the alcohol percentage and maker. This is essentially a guide to what beers exist, not about them at all. The notes section is very basic, allowing only to type notes and for a picture. Our application will improve upon these usability problems by creating a detailed and more user appealing notes guide and (if we decide to implement it) a more descriptive database.

  • iBeers Lite

iBeers Lite is a comprehensive list of over 2700 beers created for users to search and find basic info about a beer they discover. It seems to be targeted more towards people who are interested in basic info about a wide range of beers found around the world. This differs from our target user group because we are less focused on international and more towards what’s available in your local store or pub. This may include international beers, but there are clearly tons of those not sold in America. Functionality of iBeers Lite include a large database of beers, info such as type of beer, brewery and size, a general rating of the beer, the ability to upload your own review and a picture of the beer. Our proposed idea is dedicated to allowing the user to store their own detailed review of the beer on their phone. We are more interested in letting the user get their thoughts out then seeing what others think, although that may be a function we include anyway. In terms of usability, many reviews of this application say that the guide is not completed. Well known beers do not have type or brewer filled it. Sizes of some beers are wrong. Also there have been many reports of crashes. I watched a video of the application and to me it seemed like a long list of beer where each beer had one small page of information attached to it. Our application will focus on more user interaction for a stronger feeling of engagement. We also do not expect software bugs, nor will our menus and info be wrong or incomplete.

  • Beer Guide

This application is targeted towards people looking to explore the world of beer, whether that means finding local breweries, seeing what beers go with what food, or simply learning about a highly rated beer you haven’t heard of. This differs from our user group in that we are trying to target people interested in keeping track of what new beers they discover in a very detailed and organized manner. This application contains a giant database of over 12,000 beers which is constantly updated. You can narrow down the list by searching by food pairings, styles, local beers, breweries, ABV%, top 25%, or those you have tasted. You also have the option of creating your own list of tasted beers which you can rate for future reference. It also includes breweries which have gone out of business for historical purposes. We are not sure how much of a comprehensive list of beers we are including for users yet, our focus remains on the personal interaction of rating a beer. We will improve on the rating section by adding more options to choose from and the ability to add pictures. In terms of usability, this application is well organized and offers many ways to sort the general list of beers. It is simple to user and provides a well rounded general information. There also seems to be a good technical support system. To add beers you must submit them to the developers, who add them to the database themselves. We plan to allow users to customize the application with as many extra beers and information as they want, which we think will promote the user to use the application as a utility rather than just a reference.

  • My Beer

My Beer is a simple application designed for people who want a quick and graphical way to keep track of good beers they enjoy. Our target user group is essentially the same, although it could be argued that we are targeting out people with a bit more knowledge of beer. This is more apparent in the functionality of our application. My Beer allows users to enter information about the beers they drink, including name, rating, color, variety, country, price, food best served with and additional comments. Options are chosen using manual text or an interactive wheel of choices. You can sort added beers by name, rating or color. We intend on improving on this functionality by adding more detailed fields to rate, such as aftertaste, hops level, etc., to give users more options to distinguish their added beers from others. We also plan to include a snapshot feature as well as the ability to share your opinions with your friends. In terms of usability, this application is essentially a notepad for beers with the menus being slightly more interactive than just typing in information. It is a very simple application that serves only those looking to jot down general information. For those who want available to them the ability to conduct a more in-depth assessment of their beer, our application will provide them that usability. This application does do a good job at providing simple interactive menus that I think will be a good thing to incorporate into our application.

  • Beer & Wine Log

This application was designed for users looking to take quick note of a great beer or wine they had. The difference between the target user group of this application and ours is that we are focused more on the beer lover looking to notes specific details about a new beer they discover. Beer & Wine Log features a database of beer and wine, the ability to add your own with a picture, sort drink lists by a number of attributes, e-mail CSV files of a user’s own database, and a mapping function which visually shows users where on a map they discovered documented beers and wines. We hope to improve on this functionality by adding out own unique features. The idea of map integration is a great one. In terms of usability, reviewers have said that it is difficult at first to figure out how to add a beer or wine. The database is not very extensive, so really the app relies on users entering their own information. We will avoid this problem probably by not having a database. If we are going to have a database we should provide an extensive one, however our focus is more on personal user input then it is a database of information.

  • Epicure Lite

This application is dedicated to allowing users to store reviews of restaurants, dishes, wine or beer. The target user group appears to be users who are interested in inputting quick notes into their phone about main things you would find at restaurants or bars. This differs from our user group in that we are targeting only those interested in rating and noting beer. Functionality of this application includes attaching photos to a review, tagging reviews so you can organize and search by tags and the ability to input basic information about a restaurant/dish/beer/wine you have including a typed description. Our application will improve on this functionality by adding more options to rate by as well as integrating the ability or share ratings with friends and possibly an option to have a beer suggested to you based on beer that you have rated highly. In terms of usability, this application seems to attract people more interested in noting restaurant and food choices than beer and wine. That’s just the impression I got from the reviews. It is an easy application to navigate around, searches are quick, and the tag feature is a good addition. Overall Epicure Lite serves its purpose and is a good model to pull examples from for our own application design.

  • My Wine Taster

My Wine Taster is geared towards users looking to make notes on their wine tastings. This only differs from our target user group in that we are focusing on beer, not wine. However, this app is very similar to what we are trying to accomplish with our application. It looks at a deeper level of tasting. What this application features is the ability to provide very descriptive notes about a particular wine. The application also attempts to teach you the process of tasting by suggesting that you rate in order of color, nose, entry and finish. Each of these has its own separate screen which allows users to give ratings in multiple areas. For example, you are rating the acid, alcohol, tannin and lasting of flavor all under the finish selection. You can also take notes about each separate field. One cool feature is the virtual wine box. Instead of picking a wine you’ve added from a menu of text you scroll through virtual cellar bottles. For each wine you add you can choose the type of bottle and take a picture of the label and the application will create a virtual version of the bottle you’re drinking from. Finally you can share your reviews with friends through e-mail or social applications like Facebook. In terms of usability some users have reported that it crashes or that the virtual wine bottles are hard to tell apart. To avoid such problems it is important that we conduct multiple tests and get plenty of feedback on prototypes, etc.

Summary

What I have discovered in my findings is that there exist many applications that are either geared towards allowing users to input notes about the beers they drink or are more focused on other tasks, such as helping users to find new beers, but still integrate limited features that allow users to include rate or note (See comparison matrix below). While some applications have succeeded in providing good functionality and usability to users, many have not. Databases are lagging, bugs are found, and some features just seem pointless. What will give our project unique value is that it will not only combine many of the great functionality that other applications offer but also integrate new features that will set it apart from the rest, such as possibly allowing users to generate beer suggestions based on their rated beers. Our project will also focus on usability in terms of making sure the general feel of the application is smooth and ensuring that all features have a purpose that our target user group will use to the fullest. We are going to get past the five star ratings and broad descriptive words and get down to the specifics. The true beer aficionado will be able to distinguish their fruit from their grain and we want to provide them with the best application to record that information.

Image:comparison_matrix.jpg



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