CompetitiveAnalysis-YuLi

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Contents

Restatement of Idea

Our group has decided to create a cursive and coloring edutainment application that allows toddlers and preschoolers to learn while also having fun, a perfect app for the busy parent.

The project proposal can be viewed at: Group Brainstorm

List of Competitors

Since my group's application combines a variety of different features, I review apps that had to deal with: cursive writing, coloring books, connect the dots, and educational learning tools.

App Name Website
iPhone Applications
1. ABC Cursive Writing http://www.pcworld.com/appguide/app.html?id=67834&expand=false
2. cursive http://www.pcworld.com/appguide/app.html?id=296057&expand=false
3. Coloring Book with demo: http://www.beach-house-software.com/applications/coloring-book
4. Connect the Dots http://mc-apps.blogspot.com/
5. Adam's Art - Finger Paint Coloring Book http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=317930338&mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D6
6. Talking Coloring Book http://www.littlepim.com/
7. My Safari Scene Composer http://appstorefree.com/index.php?action=view_soft&id=324319658&parent_id=6014
8. Biyu's Big Race http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=337033209&mt=8&s=143441
9. Air Doodle http://www.pcworld.com/appguide/app.html?id=90562&expand=false
10. FlashQuiz by LeapFrog http://appstorefree.com/index.php?action=view_soft&id=327465143&parent_id=0
Android Applications
11. Zebra Paint (downloaded app) http://www.dornbachs.com/mobile/zebra-paint
12. Preschool Learning (downloaded app) http://funlittleapps.com/

Analysis

  • 1. The target user group of ABC Cursive Writing is the parents of preschool children who want their child to practice phone numbers, addresses, and their ABCs. The app has five modes: practice lower case letters, upper case letters, numbers, words, and a doodling board. It allows the parent to input important information such as: home phone number and street addresses. Then the child can practice tracing these things, which will solidify their memory of the important information. Furthermore, the app also has a separate mode for doodling, which consists of a simple white screen and colors to draw with. Our team's application will improve on ABC Cursive Writing in many ways. Instead of separating the cursive tracing and coloring part, our app will combine the two so that after the child traces a letter, he/she will unlock a connect-the-dots picture corresponding to the letter they just traced. This correspondence will ensure that the child learns how to associate a letter with a picture, and the unlocking of each picture makes the app more challenging to the kid, keeping their interest for a longer period of time. According to reviews, the application is quite easy to use and the kids seem to love it. The letters are displayed brightly on the whole screen, which allows for easy finger tracing. One of the drawbacks is that the application does not let the user input whole sentences to trace, which our app can have the option to do.
  • 2. Cursive is a simple flashcard-like app that targets anyone who wants to brush up on their cursive. The application's user group is very vague and at first I thought the user could trace each flashcard on the screen, but that's not the case. There is no touch tracing interface, so the app is just a simple picture of a cursive letter and the strokes to write it. This application is not very useful for children to learn cursive, since most kids learn by doing not looking. The iPhone app our group is proposing allows for much more human interaction. The children will actually be able to trace and review how to write their ABCs. Furthermore, the child will also be able to color and connect-the-dots, making our app a more involved application than Cursive.
  • 3. Coloring Book targets parents of small children. The application is a simple coloring book. There are only 24 colors to choose from, however the application does have a zoom in and out option (which makes coloring easier for the child) that I have not seen in many other similar apps. Furthermore the app also has an easy save finished pictures option that lets the parents save finished pictures into the iPhone photo album where it can later be sent via email. Although the Coloring Book app does have good points, like the zoom in/out, our group's app also incorporates these features and furthermore has the ability to help kids learn their ABCs, while also letting them color. Our app will also have a color palet larger than 24, so the child will have more colors to choose from.
  • 4. Connect the Dots is a very straight forward connecting the dots application who's target user group is parents who want to entertain their child while they are busy. After starting the app a picture with numbers and corresponding dots next to them show up. Then the child can use their fingers to draw lines following the numerical dots, and after they are done they can color the picture. However the application does not automatically connect the dots after the user draws their fingers through them, which makes it harder for children to use. For example, when the child draws a line through dot 1 and dot 2, the app doesn't draw a straight line through points 1 and 2. This means that the resulting picture will fully depend on how shaky the child's hand is while drawing the lines. Furthermore the app only has 5 colors and according to reviews kids get bored of the app after a few minutes. Additionally, there is no easy way for the user to change the current picture, the app must be reopened to get a new picture. Our app will greatly improve on Connect the Dots, since we will make the application automatically draw straight lines to connect the dots. Moreover, our team's app will allow children to trace letters, and to improve learning the dots will not be numbers, but instead we will use ABCs as a signal for how children will trace the dots. There will also be a more efficient and easier user interface so children can look at pictures they have already unlocked to color again later. Our app will also include sound, which will make it much more interactive than Connect the Dots.
  • 5. Adam's Art, a finger painting app targets parents who want their child to be entertained. The application is similar to many other coloring books, but instead of tapping a spot for color, the child can actually use their finger as a stylus or paint brush and fill in the color that way. The app has lots of colors to choose from, and also includes a cute refrigerator to pin your finished pictures onto for later viewing. It also has blank pages, much like a doodling board for children to free draw. Some of the application's drawbacks are the fact that there is no eraser, sometimes the pictures are too small with many small details that make it hard to color in, and the fact that there is nothing educational about it. Our team's app will have an eraser, and also a zoom in/out feature that allows for the child to zoom in and color more detailed aspects of the picture. Furthermore our cursive and coloring book app will help teach children their ABCs along with sounds and allow them to trace letters, numbers, words, and even complete sentences.
  • 6. The Talking Coloring Book targets parents who want their child to start learning different languages or to continue practicing a certain language. It allows the parent to choose from a variety of languages including: Spanish, Hebrew, English, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, and French. The coloring picture has a written and audible phrase that corresponds to the chosen language and the child can color while listening and reading the phrase. Although our group's app will not be in different languages, it will in turn teach the child the English alphabet and words in cursive (includes sound). Furthermore, our interface will allow the child to trace letters and numbers and connect dots to form a picture, unlike Talking Coloring Book where the only human interaction is simply coloring a picture.
  • 7. My Safari Scene Composer is an app for kids to make their own coloring books. It's target audience is parents of young children. After loading the app, the child can create custom scenes by adding animals, backgrounds, trees, and other elements to the scenes. Then after creating the coloring book scene, the parents can save the pictures in color or black and white and print it later for the child to color with crayons. This app differs from our proposed app in many ways. First of all My Safari Scene Composer only creates custom coloring book scenes, it doesn't actually let the child color or trace any part of the scene. Furthermore there is no sound or teaching of ABCs in the app. An idea we could incorporate into our app from My Safari Scene Composer is adding custom stamps for the brushes so the child can add interesting elements into their pictures.
  • 8. Biyu's Big Race is an interactive read-along coloring book that targets the parents of young children. On each page there is a read-along sentence with sound (which can be turned off in the options menu). The app allows the parent to save and print either the whole book or a single page from the book after the child has finished coloring the page. Reviews of the application say that the interface is simple enough for small children to use and the artwork is very cute and colorful, which is perfect for keeping younger children entertained. Since Biyu's Big Race is a book, there is educational value in the app, but it does not allow children to learn their ABCs in the interactive way our app proposes. Our team's app allows kids to trace letters, numbers, words, and sentences (also has the sound for each element). By tracing and not just simply coloring, the child will learn faster and therefore improve the usefulness of the app.
  • 9. Air Doodle is a collaborative drawing app that lets two people with separate iPhones or iPod touches draw together over WiFi connection. The target user group for the app is friends who want to keep in touch, or individuals who want a quick way to jot things down, which is very different from the user group of our team's app. The collaborative drawing idea is interesting and seems useful, but one disadvantage of the app is that the user can't save their doodles into the photo album. However, our team's app will allow the parent or child to save finished pictures into the iPhone's gallery, where they can later be emailed or transferred to other people (since all parents want to show off their child's work). Our app and Air Doodle differ drastically in intent. Air Doodle is an entertainment/information sharing app, while our app lets kids learn their ABCs through tracing, connecting the dots, and coloring.
  • 10. FlashQuiz by LeapFrog is a flashcard and quiz game intended to teach kids a variety of subjects ranging from math to social studies. The target user group is parents with children around grades 3 and 4. The target age group for FlashQuiz differs from our app. The app has two main modes: flash cards and quizzes. From reviews, a major downside to the app is that it does not have much user interaction besides tapping. The two modes do not let the user type in answers, which makes the child less inclined to remember and memorize the information. Our team's app differs from FlashQuiz in this area. It allows the child to trace and then color, which reinforces the knowledge so the child will remember it better. FlashQuiz includes flash cards and quizzes, while our app has interactive tracing, coloring, and connecting the dots features. One aspect of FlashQuiz that out app lacks is a way for parents to keep track of how well their child is doing as a result of the app. In order to account for this, we could incorporate a quiz mode into our app to let parents see their child's progress.
  • 11. Zebra Paint is an Android app that closely resembles the Coloring Book app from the number 3 on the review list. The user group of Zebra Paint is parents who want to entertain their child with coloring. The app is a very simple paint with your fingers program (tap a spot and the selected color fills it). I downloaded the app and used it in order to do the review. From my experience with Zebra Paint the user interface is very simple to use and the app also has 48 colors to choose from. 6 of the most popular and recently used colors are stored on the painting screen for the user's convenience. Reviews and ratings of Zebra Paint say that the kids love it, but the app is definitely targeted toward younger users since I got bored of it after a few uses. A selling point of the app is that there are lots of coloring pages to choose from; however, like many other coloring apps it becomes quite hard to color small places because many areas are hard to select with your finger. Our team's app will have a zoom in/out feature that solves the problem of not being able to precisely color small areas on the screen. Additionally out app will also have many more features (cursive tracing, connecting the dots, sound) than Zebra Paint. Unlike a regular finger painting program, the app we propose combines learning with coloring and targets parents who want an edutainment tool, not just simple coloring entertainment for their child.
  • 12. Preschool Learning is an edutainment app for the Android that combines learning the alphabet with coloring and matching games. It's target audience is parents of small children who want their kids to learn while playing. Preschool Learning has four modes: alphabet blocks, colors and textures, letter tracing, and a matching game. The app is similar to the one our team proposed in that it combines coloring with learning, however there are many features and flaws in Preschool Learning that our app will improve upon. For example, in the letter tracing mode, the child cannot practice tracing in cursive or whole words and sentences because there is no place for the parent to input text. Furthermore in the colors and textures mode, there is no clear screen button, and the cache for undoing is quite small. The zoom in/out function in the coloring mode is also hard to use, and our app will improve on it by using multi-tocuh to implement zoom in/out on the iPhone. Additionally Preschool Learning also does not have a connecting the dots mode like our app, and it does not correlate pictures with letters and words to improve learning.

Summary

After reviewing the competitors, it seems that no other application has as many features while addressing the same target user group as our iPhone app. Although there are numerous applications involving coloring, tracing, connecting-the-dots, and teaching young children, none of the apps I reviewed allows for a combination of all four of these features. Many apps target the same user group as our proposed app, but they do not support as many useful features as ours. The closest competitor to our proposal is the Preschool Learning app for the Android. It allows for coloring, tracing, and interactive learning. However, Preschool Learning does not have connect-the-dots, cursive tracing, and the words and pictures do not correspond like in our app. Furthermore, the app does not permit the parent to input custom words and sentences for the child to practice (while our app does allow this). All these differences give our app a huge advantage over competitors. From the reviews it seems like the best edutainment apps have a simple interface, since the app will predominately be used by young children (something we should keep in mind while designing the UI). Our app will allow busy parents to let their child play and learn at the same time. It incorporates learning with coloring and tracing.



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