CompetitiveAnalysis-SpencerFang

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Restatement of Idea

The goal of our app is to help teachers of technical subjects (such as math and science) plan out how they will use the whiteboard or chalkboard. The app will help remind teachers about the spatial layout of diagrams, lists and formulas, as well as help teachers gauge how much time to spend on each part of their lecture. The app will offer an interface to create mockups of how information should be organized on a board, and the interface will resemble a vector drawing program.

The full brain storm is here: GroupBrainstorm-Group:RRBG

Similar applications

1. Cueme

This app targets a wider audience than our app, namely everyone who engages in public speaking. A technical teacher can still benefit from this app because it helps them plan out their lectures' content and time utilization. However, it will not help a teacher plan out how to make use of a board.

It performs the same functionality as a stack of index cards, because it allows the user to read an outline of the lecture while giving the lecture.

This app does not address the chalk/white board at all.

References: iTunes App store

http://www.pcworld.com/appguide/app.html?id=287438&expand=false

2. Mobile Presenter

This app targets people who need access to previously prepared PowerPoint presentations but do not always have access to a computer and their files. Members of our app's target audience can make use of this app by creating mockups of their blackboard "slides" in PowerPoint, and viewing them in Mobile Presenter.

This app aims to provide all the functionality that one would expect if he or she has access to Microsoft PowerPoint: viewing a presentaion on the iPhone screen, printing the slides on a networked printer, and serving the slides in HTML form over wifi. All of these things are unimportant to our target audience.

This app focuses on letting a user interact with a fully prepared presentation file, which includes viewing, printing, and presenting. It does not provide an interface for creating lo-fi mockups of a chalk board.

References:

iTunes App store


3. MightyMeeting

This app seems to have the same target audience as Mobile Presenter, but it assumes the user's own audience is much more technical.

It allows the speaker to give slide presentations over the internet, and allows him or her to stream the presentation to others using Mighty Meeting's web service. The speaker's audience can interact with the speaker using instant messages.

MightyMeeting seems to be an "online" equivalent of Mobile Presenter, letting the user present over the internet. Similar to Mobile Presenter, it does not focus on the creation of presentations. It also does not address the niche need of preparing a presentation that makes heavy use of a white/chalk board.

References:

iTunes App store

4. Mindjet

This app is a visual note taking tool allows the user to create "mind maps". This form of note taking conveys relationships among ideas via spatial relationships. This target audience is similar to our own because both groups need to store and recall information in a structured way.

This app features a user interface that is geared towards creating mind maps, but it does not seem very good for creating chalkboard mock ups. The 2d surface on the screen is an abstract space for showing and connecting ideas. It does not represent a miniature version of a visual aid for use in presentaitons.

Although members of our target audience can use mind map notes to quickly recall details of how to give a particular lecture, it is no better than having a set of physical index card text notes. The user will have to generate the layout of the black board on the fly, instead of being able to recall a board layout that has been planned beforehand.

References:

iTunes App Store


5. Zeptopad

Zeptopad is a vector drawing program that mimics a white board. It allows users to take notes and draw diagrams, then save the worksheet for later. They seem to target many different user groups, because their iTunes page shows the app's use in creating iPhone interface mockups, technical diagrams, mind maps, as well as artistic drawings.

This app does offer PC connectivity so that the user's creation can be displayed in front of an audience using a monitor or projector.

This app is probably too complex for our target group because it offers too much control. Since our users will ultimately transfer what is on the iPhone screen onto a white/chalk board, things like fine control of line drawing tools and colors are not so important. Also, the interface for browsing different saved workspaces seem to be implemented in a picture gallery format, with thumbnails previews and small arrows for going forward and backward. This might not be the best interface in a high stress environment in front of an audience. Something more streamlined would be preferred.


References:

iTunes App Store

http://www.zeptopad.com

6. Pocket Whiteboard

This application is a very basic drawing application that mimics a whiteboard. Since this application simulates a physical whiteboard, a teacher can use this application create mockups.

This app only allows drawing lines and does not offer any vector drawing tools such as scalable geometric shapes which would be useful for creating mockups. It also doesn't offer text entry via the keyboard. Although this app can be used for our purposes, it does not offer a very good interface.

The interface only offers some color selections, saving, replaying, and clearing the virtual whiteboard. It does not allow the user to copy and paste, zoom, or pan the screen. It shares many similarities with our individual programming assignment #3 in that it is essentially a simple touchscreen based drawing program.

References:

iTunes App Store

7. Whiteboarder

This app targets people who use whiteboards, and need a way of recording the information for later. It assumes the user writes and draws on the physical whiteboard, and does not need to modify the content once it is saved.

The app uses the iPhone's camera to photograph the whiteboard, and offers some image processing filters for cleaning up the result. Among them are ways to fix the image if it was taken at an angle, and adjusting the brightness/contrast to make text more visible. A user can also print the saved image on networked printers.

This app would be useful for teachers if they do not mind bootstrapping their whiteboard notes by photographing each layout after using a real whiteboard. This app does not offer any way of modifying the images once they are stored. So if teachers modify any of their layouts, they must stop teaching so they can take a photo of the updated layout. Because this app displays photos of real white boards (as opposed to lo-fi notes), the image might have too much information for a lecturer, so the user might have to spend time panning and zooming. Also, this app's brightness/contrast features are designed with whiteboards in mind. They might not produce good results on chalkboards.

References:

iTunes App Store

8. Intaglio Sketchpad

This application is a vector drawing program similar to Zeptopad. It targets users who wish to create diagrams and drawings using mostly polygons and text.

This app's interface looks more simplified than Zeptopad, and has widgets that look more similar to the rest of the iPhone interface. It does offer copying and pasting, which would be useful for simulating different chalk/white board layouts. There are also many predefined shape tools, lines, and arrows.

This app's functionality is too broad for our target audience. One reviewer said that "This is a 'real' application like on the big computers", which suggests the app tries to match the features of a desktop art program.

References:

iTunes App Store


9. Balsamiq Mockups

This desktop application targets programmers who need create mockups of user interfaces.

It offers many tools to add commonly used GUI elements to a mockup such as lists, drop down menus, radio buttons, etc. It stores its files in a transparent format similar to XML and tries to integrate with the tools used by UI designers.

The application focuses on a very specific need, and is a good example of how we envision our app to work. However, the need it addresses is not chalk/white board presentations, so nearly all of its predefined brushes are useless (scroll bars, navigation buttons, etc). It is also a desktop application not a mobile application, and the result it produces is meant to be used in professional documents such as project proposals, not as personal notes.

References:

iTunes App Store

10. TurboScan

TurboScan allows users to photograph documents and use image processing to fix uneven lighting, poor photo angles, and camera jitters. A member of our target user group can draw his or her board layouts on paper, and use a scanner app to transfer it to the iPhone.

This app would store mockups as images that can not be modified. This would be far from the idea of a direct manipulation interface, because ideally, a user should be able to move the mockup's elements by dragging it around, or scaling it with standard iPhone gestures such as pinching it.

This application's goal is to scan documents, and not to help teachers create and view notes on how to use a board.

References:

iTunes App Store


Summary

There is a lot of existing software for public speaking, white board archiving, sketching, and creating mockups. But there does not seem to be any software that addresses the converagence of these five needs. Balsamiq Mockups has an interface that is very similar to how I personally imagine our app to be like. Balsamiq Mockups does not force the user to create scroll bars and radio buttons out of polygonal shape primitives. Our app should similarly provide predefined shapes for things like lists, paragraphs, formula derivations and so on. None of these apps target people giving presentations using a chalk/white board as a visual tool. Whiteboarder does help people record the whiteboard's information after the presenter is done, but does not help in planning out how to make use of space, or how to make use of multiple boards.



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