UI/UX Design

A Guide to UX Competitors’ Analysis for User Research

25 Jan. 2021

7 mins read


What is the UX Competitors’ Analysis for User Research?

UX competitor analysis is a valuable user research method that focuses on understanding your products’ competitors, 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, and 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 evaluates your competitors’ marketing and product design strategies 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. It helps you understand what initiatives to take (such as the above examples about the benefits). 

However, UX competitive analysis is not a one-time process. Instead, companies should consider continuing their competitive research throughout their product development, as competitors 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 in the UX competitors’ analysis is identifying your competitors. Your competitors can be grouped 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 it 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, and 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, and 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 testing, consider taking screenshots or screen recording 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 the identified competitors have not targeted?
  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 you’ve identified that the competitors have not addressed? 
  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, include actionable insights so your clients or business can act on those insights

Presenting your findings can be delivered on a PowerPoint presentation. Do not add all your conclusions; instead, focus on the 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, not just one. 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 and duplicating existing solutions. Instead, focus on today’s user problems. 
  3. Avoid not researching your competitors. It’s understandable to avoid copying your competitors, but knowing their strengths and weaknesses is essential 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 essential for our user research method. This method especially proves helpful when working with clients’ products that have not been on the market. Boost your brand awareness and product knowledge by conducting your own UX competitors’ analysis.

What’s Next

Idea Theorem is a Toronto-based UI UX Agency. We create simple and usable products for web and mobile. Our human-centered 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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