From CS 160 User Interfaces Sp10
Restatement of Idea
Our application helps singers practice songs with music and harmony/backup without having to physically be with the rest of the group.
List of Competitors
- Voice Band http://www.wavemachinelabs.com/voiceband/
- Perfect Pitch Free http://www.orangedriver.info/
- Singer's Friend http://singersfriendapp.tumblr.com/
- GigBaby! http://www.iometics.info/GigBaby/GigBaby.html
- Karaoke Anywhere http://www.karaokeanywhere.net/
- Kelly Clarkson Open Mic http://www.kellyofficial.com/us/home
- myKaraoke http://concreterosellc.net/jdk.html
- Pitch Pipe http://www.gengarstudios.com/
- iSingCanU http://www.isingcanu.com/
- StudioApp http://www.krasidy.com/studioapp.php
- Voice Band: The target user group for this application is singers who'd like to create a song with only their voice. This application allows you to sing into the iPhone's microphone and "transforms your voice into 10 intruments in real time". The purpose of this app is to be able to create a legit-sounding song by taking your voice and adding synthesized tracks/beats. There are a lot of things that the user can adjust, such as the pitch, tone, volume, distortin, etc. By simply looking at the pictures on iTunes, there seems to be a lot of functionality in this app. However, I think this app suffers from too much exposure--all the functions are on only a few pages, making this app resemble the TV remotes with too many buttons. Our app differs because it takes a simpler, more straightforward approach. We would only be recording voice and playing it back, layering the vocal track on background music. We want to provide only the functionality that a singer would find useful to practice a certain song, not to create new songs.
- Perfect Pitch Free: The target user group for this app is beginner singers who want to perfect their note reproduction. The app lets you practice your pitch by playing certain pitches and lets the user try to match it. It features a scoring system, and lets you upload scores to a global database to compete against other users of this app. This app is the opposite of the first one: it has only 1 function, looks very simple and intuitive. However, this app might be too simplistic for people who want more of a holistic approach to practice singing. Our app wants to apply vocals to actual songs/background music, so that the user can find out how his/her vocals sound with a group.
- Singer's Friend: The target user group is people who want to practice their scales and/or warm up before singing. This application also has a single function: to play a scale for the user to listen to and sing along with. The app allows the user to choose the type of scale, the range, and the speed of the notes, and plays the scale. However, there is no pitch detection of any kind. The downfall of this app is that beginners who are not necessarily well-trained in pitch will not receive feedback on how their pitch is compared to the actual notes. Users have to rely on their own ear in determining if they are matching the pitch correctly. Our app would take advantage of the ability to take the user's input and give feedback, and I think that would be more effective overall to singers wanting to practice.
- GigBaby!: The target user group is musicians who want to create songs by recording/layering their tracks together. This app is very similar to our proposal. However, not only can you record your voice and layer it with other tracks, there is also a built-in metronome, a setlist, and a file-sharing function. There seems to be a lot of flexibility with this application, but the one thing that is very lacking in this application is the user interface. It is pretty ugly--the color scheme, icons, buttons, and the UI in general just doesn't coordinate with each other. I think that although this app does what we want to do, we could vastly improve on the user interface.
- Karaoke Anywhere: The target user group is karaoke lovers who don't want to spend money on expensive karaoke equipment. The main selling feature of this app is that it supports the industry standard format for karaoke songs (MP3+G), meaning it plays the music video, the mp3, and the lyrics all in sync. The user must buy songs to use in this app, and many people complain about the pricing (something like $12 for 5 songs). The main downfall with this app is that the microphone is not implemented in this app. There is no vocal tracking and your voice is not played back on the device. Therefore, this app, in essence, is just a way to play songs with lyrics displayed on the screen. Our app will most definitely implement the microphone and layer it on background tracks, but I don't think we'd be able to offer the same kind of karaoke support.
- Kelly Clarkson Open Mic: The target user group is people who like Kelly Clarkson and wants to sing along with a few of her songs. This app has 5 songs for you to sing along with, and uses the mic to track your voice. The singing interface is a lot like Rock Band, where there is a bar indicating how high of a pitch you need to sing, and it scores you and puts your score on a scoreboard. I like the idea of this app despite the fact that it is full of promotions for Kelly Clarkson's website and that it has 5 songs. I think this app has the right idea for a game, where people like to see how high of a score they can get by singing the right pitch, but I don't think it would be appropriate for singers wanting to train their voice and create songs. Our app has a different purpose: to allow users to be able to record their voice and see how it sounds with background tracks.
- myKaraoke: The target user group is people who want to sing along with their songs. The app simply lets you choose from a database of songs, and you sing along while the lyrics are displayed on the screen in sync with the song. This is the sole functionality of this app. There is no microphone involved. This app would be more attractive to people who just want to sing for fun, and not necessarily create songs or sing with the perfect pitch. It is more of a leisure app that lets the user sing along with their favorite songs, and thus our application serves a different purpose.
- Pitch Pipe: The target user group is for people in choir or acapella groups. This app lets the user choose between thirteen pitches and plays it back, allowing groups to tune their voices to these pitches. The main drawback is that while it is simple, it is too simple and provides too little functionality. A big downside to this app is that it only spans 1 octave, and again, no mic for pitch detection. There are too many of these apps that play simple pitches and do not take advantage of the fact that you can use the mic to detect pitches and compare them to give feedback to the user.
- iSingCanU: The target user group is both beginner and professional singers who want to fine-tune their pitch and sound against a pre-recorded song. It allows you to choose your song from your iTunes library and play it back, and you can choose to sing along and record while the song is playing. You can then play it back and listen to it so that you can judge how your vocals sound with the actual song. The downside to this app is that there is no way to remove the vocal part of the song, so that your vocals are layered on top of the vocals already in the song. This might interfere with the user trying to judge whether he/she sounds good. Our app will provide similar recording/playback, but also proper layering so that you can play different layers separately or all-together.
- StudioApp: This app is very much like the GigBaby! app. The target user group is musicians who want to create music by recording their own tracks and layering them together. This supports many of the same functionalities as the other app, i.e., importing tracks, recording vocal layers, and exporting them to your computer. This app also lets you choose an image and create an album cover for your creations. This app has a more attractive interface over GigBaby!, and is much more slimmed down. However, there is still much more room for improvement in the user interface. I don't like how the menus have the company watermark ("Krasid") plastered over them some way or another. I feel like the user interface should be clean, attractive, and the minimum the user needs to get the job done efficiently.
While there are a lot of apps that are aimed at singers trying to improve their technique, people who just like to sing, and professional musicians, there are few that offer the same functionality we want to offer. Of those few apps that I have found that do the same things we want to do, they have interfaces that are ugly, clunky, or just inefficient. The basic direction of our app is to allow singers to be able to record their vocal tracks, and layer and harmonize them with background tracks or other vocal tracks. I feel that once we get our basic functionality down, we can easily expand to add additional features that would make our app more robust and unique, such as the ability to save/export single isolated tracks and to combine the tracks into a single mp3 and save/export them to a computer. The main goal of our application is to allow our users specific functionalities, yet be robust at the same time, and have an attractive and intuitive interface.