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The what, why, how, and when of competitor analysis in User Experience Design

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A competitor analysis means knowing your product or service like the back of your hand and analyzing it against the competition.  It forms an integral part of user experience design providing strategic insights into the features, functions, flows, and feelings evoked by the design solutions of your competitors. Once you understand these aspects of your competitors’ products, you can strategically design your solution with the goal of providing a superior value proposition.

So how do you know if your product has that competitive edge? 

There are numerous parameters that will give you significant insights on where your product stands viz-a-viz your competitors.

Elements of Comparison Chart

You can also make a comparison table with parameters on ‘x’ axis and ‘number of competitors’ on ‘y’. Fill in all the details to reach a conclusion and identify the gaps and areas of improvement.

Why the Analysis:

At its heart, a competitor analysis feeds you with information to develop your go-to-market strategy and help you solve usability issues besides saving you from reiterations that eventually save time and money.

Also, there are two tenets before performing Competitor Analysis. One, you must know how to research properly and understand exactly what information you are looking for, and second, you have to synthesize that information before acting on your findings.

Steps to do a Competitor Analysis

When should you perform a competitive analysis?

Performing a competitive analysis should be one of the earliest research steps in the UX design process. It should be done prior to starting work on a new project. And, since competitors can emerge at any time or may increase or enhance their offerings, the competitive research should be iterative and continue as long as you are working on that project.

Final Thoughts

No matter how unique or special a product is, it will inevitably compete with something already in the market. With an almost limitless number of competitors vying for attention, the focus is on understanding exactly what you are doing right or maybe wrong to create an effortless user experience and a product that people enjoy using. All these, besides a lot more, can be achieved through a meticulously planned competitor analysis.