CompetitiveAnalysis-MikhailShashkov

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Project Idea

At the time of our brainstorm, our idea was to create an App for gym-goers and other exercisers what would provide on-the-go advice on how to tend to soreness and other exercise related ailments. GroupBrainstorm-Group:Violent_Inverse_Brainfart_Syndrome

However, upon receiving feedback from the graders and feedback from gym goers we have change our app to specifically provide a guide for rock-climbers (in and outdoor). It will do three main things: provide a way to save routes you have done and rate them, provide a way to suggest muscles or skills to focus on to conquer a particular route, and perhaps provide "easiest" to "hardest" methods of solving a climbing path. Basically, it is an all-inclusive climbing guide from "What's climbing?" to "I'm awesome".

List of Competitors

1) Climbing Guide
Target User Group:
Climbers of expert, beginner, and refresher status.

Functionality:
Provides places to climb, methods to climb, knot tying tutorial, climbing dictionary, universal difficulty converter, workout/log, and workout suggestions.

These functionalities are pretty good and in fact this is the only App we could find that so heavily overlaps with ours (most are logs). First of all, our App adds functionality for Berkeley users, as it is focuses and geared towards beginning climbers in Berkeley. Second, this app does not show hand positions and grasps which (through our interviews) we found to be the primary thing newbies have problems with.

Usability:
This app costs money, so I was unable to try it out. However, judging from the teaser images, it could use some upgrades. One, the climbing method guide does not allow you to submit your own methods (so you can remind yourself how YOU did it), the guide only provides numbered dots (see image below) which you are connect as you scale the wall; no grasps or stances are provided. Incidentally, some climbers prefer to figure this out on their own, but not beginners (who we are geared towards) so there should be a on/off switch for this functionality.

Image:Climber-Guide.jpg


2) Vertical Progression
Target User Group:
Climbers of expert status who can work through a terrible UI

Functionality:
Allows you to keep a log of the climbs you have climbed and are currently working on.

This functionality would definitely be one of ours as it may help or motivate beginners to have a log of climbs they have already done and what they wish to do. This App however does not provide a way to log what paths for a particular climb one has already tried and failed at, which is essential to keep beginners from being discouraged; since they may not remember all the things they tried, it is better to log this so they can try a new approach.

Usability:
This app costs money, so I was unable to try it out. However judging from the teaser images, it looks terrible and even for its simple functionality, has way too many complicated and non-descript views. See below:

Image:Vertical-Progression.jpg


3) Climber
Target User Group:
Climbers of any status that wish to log their climbs.

Functionality:
Allows you to keep a log of the climbs you have climbed and syncs this would 8a.nu, a sort of social networking/ranking site for climbers.

This has the same functionality, that we mentioned we needed, in (2). However, this app brought to light the 8a.nu website which is apparently very popular and we should definitely include functionality in our own app to support this site, as it may motivate the beginner.

As before, this app has the problem of not letting users monitor partial progression on a climb and what methods they have already attempted/succeeded with. It only allows for a "yes,climbed", "no, have not attempted" functionality.

Usability:
This app costs money, so I was unable to try it out. However, it looks like a much better improvement of Vertical Progression. The coloring isn't too great looking, and there does not appear to be a way to view the data except as saved entries in the data entry boxes (see below) which is very ugly and more information could fit on the screen if condensed. Otherwise, it matches its particular functionality fairly well.

Image:Climber.jpg


4) iLocate-Climbing
Target User Group:
Climbers who need to find a climb.

Functionality:
Locates places to climb for a given location and displays this on a Googleish map. There is no rating of the climbs, no reviews of the climbs, no other information other than a location on a map. This is probably because the App is part of a larger series of iLocate's that are more geared towards stores and things. Likewise, there is no genuine focus towards climbers.

Usability:
This app costs money, so I was unable to try it out. I'm guessing it does its very simple job decently, although it is completely inadequate for real climbers, who will want(other than the functionalities mentioned above) an image of the climb rather than a dot on a map.


5)iClimb
Target User Group:
Climbers who wish to log their climbs.

Functionality:
Allows users to create a log of climbs completed (along with a short comment), and store the climb's name (obviously) and a rating and location.

Again, discrepancies from our App include not being beginner friendly and allowing logging of uncompleted but attempted climbs (and how they were attempted).

Usability:
This app costs money, so I was unable to try it out. Of all the previous logging apps, this is by farm the best looking with the most friendly and nonsensical UI; but nothing new gained as compared to other apps already reviewed.

Image:iClimb.jpg


6)GPS Rock Climbing Guide
Target User Group:
Climbers who wish to find locations climbs.

Functionality:
Pretty much from its name, you can tell that it will use GPS to find climbs near you.

Usability:
This App doesn't appear to be worth the .99cents it costs. The only teaser screen seems to imply it includes all the functionality and results needed (see below) but looks terrible ugly and I have no idea where my local climbs will appear. Where are there ratings? And as always as they beginner friendly in the ways we mentioned? Oh and the website is "over quota".

Image:GPSClimb.jpg


7)Bouldr
Target User Group:
Expert Climbers who need solutions to a climb at popular locations.

Functionality:
Provides solutions to climbs (visually on a real image, see image below) for various locations. These solutions must be loaded from the Internet when connected, but then can be used off-line.

Judging from the screenshots, there does not appear to be any commentary on the climb (other than the suggested path, which is drawn). Likewise, there is no grasp suggestions, orientations, or anything else that is not only beginner friendly but may be useful to experts climbing unique climbs. Also, only famous and popular locations are provided for, which are typically not newbie friendly or for gym-goers.

Usability:
Again, I could not purchase the app, but from teaser image 1 it looks decent enough for the actual climb (despite lack of functionality). Although, in teaser 2 we can see a UI that is overly complicated (without proper labeling, which should be added) for a new user.

Image:Bouldr.jpg Image:Bouldr2.jpg


8)SprayCaster
Target User Group:
Climbers who want to log their climbs.

Functionality:
Lets users log their climb (providing some information, like ropes used) and then gives the user some score for that day (see image below).

This is incredibly unfriendly to beginners and perhaps even all climbers, who will want to log the name of the climb, and as stated before, the methods attempted for a climb. Likewise, with this functionality it may even be able to supply a score (depending on the difficulty of the path taken) that is more accurate than the current method which simply uses the rating of the climb in general.

Usability:
Again, I could not purchase the app, but it seems very easy to use in its tabbed format. So, where is loses in functionality, it is at least easy to use. We will be sure to balance this properly in our own app, but it shouldn't be too hard given our focus towards beginners.

Image:Spraycaster.jpg


9)Go Climb! (Android)
Target User Group:
People wishing to start climbing or needing a refresher.

Functionality:
While the target group seems to overlap almost fully, their approach is different. The primary functionality of the app is a video/screencast of climbing lessons from gear needed to basic scaling techniques.

Rather than be a tutorial or a "learn to climb" app, we are more focused on integrating some of these features (such as visuals of hand grasps, stances, and swings) into an actual climbing guide that is useful in the gym and on the climb. Of course we will consider this trade-off, but our intention was to let a real person teach our users how to climb, but our app would pick up where the beginner lessons left off.

Usability:
This is an Android App, so I couldn't use it or buy it. However, the main screen looks like it has a good layout, which we may consider using ourselves (see below). Other than that, nothing new to take away.

Image:GoClimb.jpg


9)Go Climb! (Android)
Target User Group:
People wishing to start climbing or needing a refresher.

Functionality:
While the target group seems to overlap almost fully, their approach is different. The primary functionality of the app is a video/screencast of climbing lessons from gear needed to basic scaling techniques.

Rather than be a tutorial or a "learn to climb" app, we are more focused on integrating some of these features (such as visuals of hand grasps, stances, and swings) into an actual climbing guide that is useful in the gym and on the climb. Of course we will consider this trade-off, but our intention was to let a real person teach our users how to climb, but our app would pick up where the beginner lessons left off.

Usability:
This is an Android App, so I couldn't use it or buy it. However, the main screen looks like it has a good layout, which we may consider using ourselves (see below). Other than that, nothing new to take away.

Image:GoClimb.jpg


10) ? There are genuinely no more legitimate apps for the iPhone or Android that I could find. As you can probably tell, I was already forced to add some less than quality apps. This is good news for us as a group as it shows that we truly have a unique idea. If you find more, please let me know, but I implore you to not look down on this assignment due to lack of a 10th competitor.

Summary

The first thing I took away from this analysis is that the competition is minimal. The only decent competitor for the iPhone is Climbing Guide, which provides essentially all the general features we wish to. However, we want to make them more beginner friendly, such as provide recommendations of swings, grasps and stances for a climb (and visualizations of these), rather than just have a visual version of "go here, then go here", which is almost worthless for newbies.

Most of the Apps geared towards climbers are simply logs of climbs done, and, as shown, even these provide a bad UI for doing so while lacking critical functionality that even experts want (adding routes for a particular climb; after all, "if you've done one, it doesn't mean you've done 'em all").

In brief, after reviewing this apps, we will play close attention to providing a good looking UI with essential functionality that is currently lacking in the market, while modifying and improving the features of Climbing Guide to be beginner friendly. In my mind, the final app will be a perfect blend of Climbing Guide and Go Climb!.


Note: All images are from iTunes App Store, or Android Market.



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