Week 1. Competitive analysis

First, I decided to pivot the planned experiment

  1. Click on google ad
  2. Leave their emails
  • What's the value proposition of the app? How should we try to reach the intended audience?
  • Some visuals to entice and attract people would also be nice.
  • creating crochet charts in Figma wouldn't be that hard,
  • it would allow me to develop many symbols that I'll need eventually for the app itself
  • connecting to designers directly can help me get crucial information about their painpoints.

Second, direct competitors are few and far between. The usability of their apps is sufficient but could be improved significantly.

Image taken from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-gZPE22hG4
The image above is taken from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-gZPE22hG4

Adobe Illustrator

Pros:

  • By far the most flexible solution out there
  • Works on both Windows and Mac
  • Plenty of tutorials on how to become a power user

Cons:

  • Steep learning curve. It's professional graphic software, so not tailored to the needs of Crochet Designers at all
  • While $10/mo price is reasonable, it's pricier than other solutions that I saw
  • One either has to create their own symbols or find a premade library or font, so starting curve can also be steep
Stitchwork software screenshot. Taken from http://stitchworkssoftware.com/
The image above is taken from http://stitchworkssoftware.com/

Stitchworks (prev. Crochet Stitches)

Pros:

  • Designers using the app mention its ease of use.
    I think this is comparative to other solutions I've seen, as it took me good 5 minutes to figure out the basics, let alone produce something worth sharing. And I'm supposed to be tech-savvy! In any case, there are plenty of opportunities for improving usability and reducing the learning curve.
  • The app is free to use
  • Many valuable features already built: library of stitches, various grids, converting visual patterns into written instructions

Cons:

  • It's unclear if the app is still being developed
  • Usability can be improved. For example, the Grid view allows to align all the stitches, but that limits the flexibility. In contrast, the Freeform view gives you a lot of flexibility but harder to make things align.
  • Learnability is mediocre. Some things are apparent (placing stitches), but other things are hard to achieve (alignment)
  • It's a desktop-only app. Currently, you can only download Windows and Linux versions. Supposedly, you can access the Mac app by contacting the developer, but I requested it and couldn't get it yet.
Stitchfiddle screenshot. Taken from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cg41RWYLcAs
The image above is taken from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cg41RWYLcAs

StitchFiddle

Pros:

  • Targets broad audience: not only crocheters but also knitters, cross-stitchers, quilters… It also gives you an option for "other," which I assume can be used by any craft that needs a limited number of symbols + a grid…
  • Many features have already been developed: library of stitches, various grids and freeform charts, colored stitches, a graph from a picture, etc. This makes StitchFiddle easy to get started with.
  • Relatively low learning curve. While getting your patterns perfect might take some time, it's pretty easy to get started.
  • Most features are available for free. Users have to pay for some premium features, but most are open to anyone. The premium subscription is also very inexpensive — you can get started for as low as $30/year ($2.50/mo).
  • It's a web app, which means it's accessible from any device. Although the editor is intended to be used on a desktop, one could still access charts from mobile apps.

Cons:

  • Unclear if the app is still in development and if new features are being introduced
  • Usability can be improved to reduce the learning curve and the quality of the final output.

Honorable mentions

  • Creating patterns on mobile is really hard. usability of both apps I've seen is questionable
  • Generally, these don't have a considerable following (based on the number of downloads)

The next steps

  • What are the value propositions of these apps?
  • What are the "table stakes" features?
  • Understand the needs of a Casual Crocheter. If I can understand their needs and painpoints, maybe I can develop a better way to create patterns? After all, Causal Crochetters are the ones bringing money to this ecosystem.
  • Create a prototype of the "output." What would a finished pattern look like? What is it that I'm advertising?
  • Draft a post on Ravelry to attract Crochet Designers

Read about the next steps:

Have an idea for an experiment or would like to be a part of the project? Or maybe you’re a crochetter yourself? Let me know your thoughts and ideas! I love collaboration!

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UX and Product designer at a startup. I focus on validating product ideas early and often.

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Tamara Didenko

Tamara Didenko

UX and Product designer at a startup. I focus on validating product ideas early and often.

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