Competitive Analysis

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Due: before class on February 17, 2009

10 Points



This is an individual assignment that you should complete on your own. You will get an individual grade.

In this assignment you will research and describe existing mobile applications that are most similar to the application your group is proposing. This exercise will give you a sense for the current state of the art and gives you a chance to identify how your application will go beyond it. You will report a list of related applications and then analyze those applications in terms of functionality and usability.


Your writeup should follow the outline below.

  • Restatement of idea: In one sentence, summarize the idea you selected for your group project in the group brainstorm and provide a link to Group Brainstorm submission page.
  • List of competitors: Compile a list of at least 10 closely related applications. For each, provide a URL the most relevant site about the application. Be as thorough as possible. Check the iPhone app store first. There are > 100,000 iPhone applications so chances are high applications with similar goals already exist. If you cannot find 10 related iPhone applications, check other mobile store platforms such as the Android Market, then broaden beyond mobile applications.
  • Analysis Briefly review each identified application along the following topics. As a point of comparison, take the top idea you submitted in your group brainstorm. (1 paragraph per application):
    • Target User Group What is the target user groups of the competitors? How does it match or differ from your group project's target user group?
    • Functionality: What benefits does the application offer to the user? What is the scope of functions offered? How will your proposed idea differ and improve upon the offered functionality?
    • Usability: What are the successes and challenges of the competitor in terms of usability? How will your proposed idea improve upon or avoid potential usability problems in competitors?
  • Summary (1 paragraph): After reviewing the applications individually, summarize your findings. What application aspects are already well covered by the competition? (One way to effectively communicate this information is through a feature comparison matrix, which lists applications as rows and features as columns.) What is the unique value proposition of your group's project? If you find your proposed idea has been covered, suggest how you might adapt your focus to offer unique value.

Sources of Information: To gain the necessary information about target applications, you will ideally run the application and test it. We realize you may not have access to hardware or the applications might be too expensive to purchase. In this case, you have to be resourceful: find application reviews, demo videos of the application, or discussion forums online for the application.

Grading Guidelines

Your assignment be graded using the grading guidelines that follow:

Coverage (3 pts)

Your review should be comprehensive and cover all relevant commercial and free applications.

Analysis (4 pts)

Your analysis should be complete and insightful. The reader should get both a sense of the design space of related applications (through the summary) and detailed insight about invidual applications.

Writing & Presentation (3 pts)

The writing must clearly present the important facts and be terse and concise. Include links to online images and videos where appropriate.


Hand in Printout in Class

Print your assignment and hand it in at the beginning of class on February 17.

Creating a Wiki Page for this assignment

Begin by creating a new wiki page for this assignment. Go to your user page that you created when you made your account. You can get to it by typing the following URL into your browser:

Replace FirstName and LastName with your real first and last names. This will take you to the page you created for yourself when you created your wiki account. If you have trouble accessing this page, please check that you created your wiki account properly.

Edit your user page to add a link to a new wiki page for this assignment. The wiki syntax should look like this:

[[CompetitiveAnalysis-FirstNameLastName|Competitive Analysis]]

Again replace FirstName and LastName with your name. Look at my user page for an example. Then click on the link and enter the information about your assignment. Be sure to clearly address everything mentioned in the writing guidelines above.

Uploading Images

To upload images to the wiki, first create a link for the image of the form [[Image:image_name.jpg]] (replacing image_name.jpg with a unique image name for use by the server). This will create a link you can follow that will then allow you to upload the image. Alternatively, you can use the "Upload file" link in the toolbox to upload the image first, and then subsequently create a link to it on your wiki page.

Add Link to Your Finished Assignment

Once you are finished editing the page, add a link to it here with your full name as the link text. The wiki syntax will look like this: *[[CompetitiveAnalysis-FirstNameLastName|FirstName LastName]]. Hit the edit button for this section to see how I created the link for my name.

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