CompetitiveAnalysis-VinsonChuong

From CS 160 User Interfaces Sp10

Jump to: navigation, search

Contents

Note

After considering the feedback received on the group proposal, we realized that we entered our idea selection process with the wrong mindeset. After discussing our options, we decided to select a different project concept. We tried to contact the professors and GSIs over e-mail regarding a project change but received no response. In the absense of official guidance, we have decided to move forward with our new idea. Therefore, for the competitive analysis, we will be examining this new project concept instead of the previously proposed concept.

Restatement of Idea

To help singers practice their songs in the absence of their groups by capturing and presenting all of the information needed to correctly sing a given song and giving feedback on pitch and rhythm.

Group Brainstorm

List of Competitors

Analysis

Sing-in-Tuna allows singers and musicians to determine whether or not they are singing or playing on the right note by graphing the pitch of the sound that is being sung/played. This app specifically targets users who want to know whether a given note they are singing/playing is correct. The only functionality provided is a continuous graph of frequency in comparison to a fixed reference note. Our app utilizes this type of functionality in the analysis of a sequence of sung notes. Instead of comparing every note to a reference note, we compare the sung notes to the notes of a song and offer rhythm as well as pitch comparison. Because this app performs such a simple task, its interface is simple and clean. There are no usability issues other than those produced by having a very narrow feature set.

Kidzongs entertains young children by helping them sing common nursery rhymes. The app targets parents who want to keep small children entertained for periods of time. With an option to sing alone or have the selected song played, the app shows the lyrics along with an animated backdrop to set the mood. The visuals are vivid and reinforce the emotions behind what is being sung. Putting forth the proper emotions while singing a song is very important. Our app will build upon the Kidzongs concept by allowing users to customize the visual styling of the lyrics and perhaps other aspects of the interface (while a song is playing) in order to remind the user of the ideal emotion to convey. In terms of usability, this app does a single task extremely well with vivid backdrops and vivid icons and buttons that attract the attention of children. The options are few and simple words are used, allowing children to easilly use the app. We will remember to keep simplicity necessity in mind.

iLyric Player allows users to share their music with people who are deaf or who speak different languages by displaying timed lyrics in various languages. This app targets users who want to share songs with friends who would not be able to understand the songs by audio alone. Aside from providing a typical music/video player, the only functionality offered provided is the display of timed lyrics and the ability to download lyrics online. Only one set of lyrics (in one given language) are displayed as opposed to having two sets: original langauge and desired language. Moreover, the lyrics are timed line-by-line, making using the app no different than reading from a sheet of paper while the song is playing. To take into account the fact that users of our app may want to sing songs in languages they are not fluent in, we will allow for multiple sets of lyrics with syllable-by-syllable timing (for the original language lyrics). As for usability, I believe that this app's feature set is far too limited to accomplish its goal. More can be done to convey the meaning of a song than merely displaying the lyrics.

iKaraoke gives users an all-in-one karaoke package with optional speaker output. This app specifically targets users who do karaoke and provides syllable-by-syllable lyrics timing, online song downloads, and two modes: simple song playback and actual karaoke, where audio is routed from the mic to internal/external speakers. Most of the features that are relevant to our app design and improvements have been discussed above. As for usability, the interface very closely mirrors the typical karaoke experience; so, using the app will come naturally for users who are already familiar with karaoke. We will try to design our interface in such a way so that users can draw upon previous knowledge or experience to easily use our app.

Pitch Primer allows singers and musicians to determine whether or not they are singing/playing in tune by capturing an audio sample, analyzing it, and allowing the user to edit the pitch of the audio sample to hear how the audio would sound in-tune. This app targets singers and musicians who are serious about refining their pitch or perfectly tuning their instruments. A robust pitch analysis package is provided, including all of the functionality provided by "Sing-in-Tuna". This app allows users to record, playback, and edit (the pitch of) audio samples. It provides several representations for conveying the pitch for an audio sample. It provides note-by-note pitch analysis. This app concept is quite close to one aspect of our app concept, and it is quite enlightening to see how our analysis functionality might work. For usability, because this app has a complex feature set, the interface is more complicated than for many simpler apps. In particular, to avoid cluttering the interface with verbose description, the app designers chose to narrow their user group to those who have an advanced knowledge of music. We may or may not decide to go down a similar path, depending on what we discover about our user group during interviews.

Apple Patent Application. Although this app doesn't exist yet, it is very similar to what we are trying to accomplish. It provides typical karaoke functionality (see iKaraoke) along with real-time feedback on the user's pitch as he or she sings. I find this innovative feature to be very compelling in that it really does help singers to correctly sing their songs. This app seems to target users who do karaoke but who are more serious about improving their singing ability. Depending on how it fits into our design, we may very well include real-time feedback. Usability wise, this app is similar to "iKaraoke", and it's real-time feedback feature is automatically alerts users to how they're doing.

Singing Tutor (not a mobile app, but is very close to our app concept) allows singers to provide audio samples and analyze their pitch against a reference. It targets singers who want to learn how to sing a particular song correctly. It's goals are very similar to the goals for our app. However, this app performs only one task and does little to actually help singers practice and improve. In terms of usability, it performs one simple task well and is remincient of a professional stereo system with playback control and real-time frequency graph making it easier to use based on past experience.

Magic Stave captures an audio sample and displays the actual notes that it consists of. It targets singers and musicians who need a refrence while singing/playing a song--accompaniment. Instead of representing the pitch of an audio sample as a frequency graph, actual notes an a musical staff are presented, making the information presented more easilly digested for users who have musical experience (ie. the target group). It also helps singers/musicians practice their songs by providing piano accompaniment along with a display of the notes that come next. This is a simple but robust package that does more to present itself in a way that its target users easilly understand. We will place more emphasis on helping singers correctly while they are singing and try to provide feedback in a form that is easily digested by singers.

Pitch Pro gives musicians an easy way to obtain reference pitches from a variety of synthesized instruments. It targets musicians who want to quickly tune their instruments. Although this app concept is less related to ours, I thought it nececessary to expand my search to include a wide range of related apps in order to get a field of the current "market" as a whole. Usability-wise, this app tries to emulate actual musical hardware, but I feel this makes the interface needlessly cluttered--it takes the instruments metaphor too far.

Guitar Toolkit provides a toolkit for guitarists that helps them learn the right notes and tune their instruments. Again, this app is less related to ours, but its goal is similar in that it aims to help guitarists during practice. This app targets guitarists who are looking for a compact toolkit that does simple but helpful tasks during practice. Usability-wise, this app is beautiful and emulates hardware that provides the same functionality, without carrying the metaphor too far. Users would know exactly what they are dealing with at first glance. It reminds us to not re-invent the wheel and come up with something new but indecipherable. Since we're going to provide a digital alternative to tasks that singers already do via other means, we must make our app interface similar and familiar to the interfaces they encounter in their existing workflow.

Summary

From my reviews, it looks like the space of apps that provide tuning and pitch comparison is largest. Seeing how different designs approach the same problem from different angles is enlightening, and in comparing them, the pros and cons of each approach are easilly highlighted. For example, apps like "Magic Stave" present pitch information as actual musical notes as opposed to frequency graphs, which makes the information much easier to digest by musicians. Apps like "Apple Patent Application", "Singing Tutor", and "Guitar Toolkit" give insight into multiple approaches to helping singers and musicians practice. Real-time feedback, familiar interfaces, and a lean and targeted set of doable tasks should be of primary importance in our design. We must remember that we are designing an application that is to displace users' already established workflows. Right now, no other app provides the same combination of features that we will develop, but examining how other successful apps accomplish their goals gives us insight into design elements that work.



[add comment]
Personal tools