A Guide to UX Competitors’ Analysis for User Research

By: it-developer
25 January 2021
8 min read

What is the UX Competitors’ Analysis for User Research?

UX competitor analysis is a useful user research method that focuses on understanding your products’ competitors, essentially helping you better understand your market and goals. Idea Theorem™ has worked with many clients that required a UX competitor analysis to get actionable insights about their competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, mistakes to avoid and know what they are doing right. This article explores the benefits of the UX competitor analysis method for user research and how to conduct your research to help make your products’ user experience more effortless and enjoyable.

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Benefits of Competitive Analysis 

Again, UX competitors’ analysis is essentially evaluating your competitors’ strategies in marketing and product design to identify strengths and weaknesses that you can utilize or avoid. Additional benefits include the following:

  1. Compare your product’s positioning, design and solution (and more) against competitors. 
  2. Identify market gaps that your competitors’ aren’t targeting, such as a new feature. 
  3. Understand the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. 
  4. Help you inform and make better design decisions. 

When to Conduct a UX Competitive Analysis 

Consider conducting a UX competitive analysis during the user research phase (also known as the empathy phase™). The earlier you conduct a competitive analysis before designing your product, the better it is as it essentially helps you know what initiatives to take (such as the examples explained above about the benefits). 

However, UX competitive analysis is not a one-time process. Instead, companies should consider continuing their competitive research throughout their product, as a competitor can change their offerings or new competitors may emerge. Stay up-to-date within your market by taking advantage of the UX competitive analysis. 

How to Conduct a Competitive Analysis

Identify your Competitors

The first step into the UX competitors’ analysis is to identify your competitors. Your competitors can be group into the following categories:

  1. Direct Competitors: Companies that solve the same problem as your product or service. Their value proposition is similar to yours, with the same target audience.
  2. Indirect Competitors: Companies with a similar value proposition but targeting a different target audience. Or can be the same target audience, but with a different value proposition. 

Collect the Data 

After identifying your competitors, your next task is to collect data about them. Consider organizing your data into a spreadsheet (either Excel or Google Sheets) to make it more easily manageable. Part of the data collection includes:

  1. Basic information such as the company name, URL (direct or indirect).
  2. Value proposition.
  3. Target audience (user demographics).
  4. The advantages of the product, such as useful key features or solutions to the product. 
  5. Design details that work or do not work. 
  6. The disadvantages of the product, such as usability issues, missing features. Consider reading customer reviews to get that insight. 
  7. Identify the revenue streams (recurring revenue, transaction-based revenue, project revenue, or service revenue) and the marketing channels that they utilize. 
  8. Consider collecting the number of website visitors (even if these numbers are not accurate, you can still use those numbers as insights), app downloads, social media presence (followers, posts, etc.) and pricing. 
  9. Testing the companies’ products yourself. When test yourself, screen grab or screen record your journeys.
  10. The visual design of their product.
  11. Checking their websites or app store page to see how they promote their products (marketing tactics).
  12. Wait and load times of their products or website.

Analyze the Data Collected 

After identifying your competitors and collecting all the information you can capture, your next step is to analyze that information. We recommend first to start scanning through all the information to answer the questions:

  1. Are there any market gaps that have not been targeted by the identified competitors?
  2. Are there any solutions that can be combined that are not done yet?
  3. What are the product strategies? What are the marketing strategies? Why are the other competitors behind those excelling companies? 
  4. Are there any problems that you’ve identified the competitors have not addressed that? 
  5. Have you identified valuable insights that can be used on your targeted audience? 
  6. Are there any ideas or solutions that have not been done from the market?

Presenting your Data

Now that you have analyzed your information, your next task is to present your clients’ findings or business. When presenting your findings, keep in mind include actionable insights so your clients or business can act on those insights.

Presenting your findings can be presented on a PowerPoint presentation. Do not add all your conclusions; instead, focus on these following areas:

  1. Key insights backed with evidence, avoiding general findings. 
  2. Provide actionable insights that will impact and transform the business.

Avoiding Common Pitfalls 

Although UX competitors’ analysis is beneficial, it may lead to your user research pitfalls if done incorrectly. Here are some key areas to avoid when conducting your research:

  1. Avoid copying one competitor. UX competitors’ analysis requires you to look at several competitors and not just one competitor. By studying one competitor, you may potentially copy their entire product and market strategies. Also, you will miss opportunities to learn more from other competitors. 
  2. Avoid matching with competitors. Don’t duplicate existing solutions, which are the past solution, instead focus on today’s user problems. 
  3. Avoid not researching your competitors. It’s understandable to avoid copying your competitors, but it is essential to know their strengths and weaknesses when building your product. So that you can be a master plan to position yourself in the market. 
  4. Avoid studying irrelevant products and websites. Do not study websites because they’re big players or because you like them. Focus on competitors that are the right inspiration for your research, identify the proper competitor, and read the section to avoid identifying your competitors. 

Our Takeaways 

UX competitors’ analysis has been an essential method for our user research method. This method especially proves useful when working with clients’ products that have not been out in the market. Boost your brand awareness and product knowledge by conducting your own UX competitors’ analysis.

What Next

Idea Theorem™ is a Toronto based UI UX Agency. We create simple and usable products for web and mobile. Our human-centred design approach lets us understand your customers, identify their pain points & deliver solutions that enhance their experience with your brand. Contact Us if you have any questions and we will be happy to help you.

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