How to do a competitive analysis UX?

You're considering a new project, and you need to know what your competitors are doing. It would be best to do a competitive analysis, as it can help you create a better product. Many companies and designers are wondering what does it mean? How to do a competitive analysis UX? And the most important question: why should you care?

What is Competitive Analysis in UX?

A competitive analysis is an in-depth look at your competition. UX designers are always researching the competition. By doing so, they can find out what other companies are doing and how their products are performing in order to stay ahead of the game. To see what features other products offer, which ones are popular with customers, and which features are better than others.

It also offers valuable insights into how your competitors are solving customer problems and what customers value most when it comes to usability and experience. It is a valuable tool for understanding how to improve the design of your product, and it can also be used as an early-stage strategy for SaaS design and development.

The competitive analysis research aims to find out what customers want from your product or service and whether you're meeting those needs well enough to keep them coming back.

A competitive analysis in UX can help you identify gaps between your competitors and what you offer so that you know how to position yourself for success better.

Elisabeth Gudzenko

Benefits of a Competitive Analysis in design

The benefits of conducting a UX competitor analysis can be huge. If you want to get an edge on your competition, you need to understand who your competitors are and what their products are.

The benefits of conducting a UX competitor analysis are that you can use it to:

  • Understand where your competitors are excelling in their products or services;
  • Get unique insights into design;
  • Learn about their design processes and best UI practices;
  • Evaluate the usability of the competing products;
  • Set benchmarks for future product development;
  • It's always good business sense to know what your competitors are up to, especially if they are one of your leading rivals;

The information obtained from this research is then used to make more informed decisions regarding usability, UI design, and user experience.

How to Conduct a Competitive Analysis in UX Step by Step

The main goal of this process is to find out what people are looking for from your competitor and how they're getting it, which will help you build better products.

Step 1 Perform research on your competitors

The first step is to research the current market situation - who are your competitors? What are your competitors doing?

Find the key players in your industry. You need to identify your competitors and those you don't yet know about. You'll want to figure out who the direct competition is and see who else might compete in the same market space.

Create a list of the competitors. Then divide them up into two groups: direct competitors and indirect competitors. Direct competitors are those companies that offer the same product or service as yours; indirect competitors are those who sell a similar product or service but not exactly the same. For example, if you're trying to figure out how to do the competitive analysis for an e-signature SaaS, you might put DocuSign in one group and other similar services in the other group.

Competitor analysis illustration
Competitor analysis illustration

Gather information about them:

  • What are their objectives?
  • What are the products or services they offer?
  • Who are their target markets?
  • What content do they produce?

Define a set of criteria for measuring performance. This should include identifying all the competitors relevant to your business goals and defining clear objectives for the project.  

Step 2 Compare your product with theirs

Startups, aware of how popular SaaS products are because business advantages of SaaS, might want to build theirs. So the competition is high. Determine how your competition is positioned against the competition. Analyze their products. Make sure to understand what they're selling, who they're targeting, and how they're different from your company's product offering. This will give you insights on what to offer customers and where to focus your design.

Then create a list of features, benefits, pricing points, and other relevant information about their competitors to compare it against their product. And measure how each competitor performs against those criteria.

You may have a similar product, but it could be made better by adding features they don't have or taking out features they do. For example, if you're creating a website, review your competitors' websites for any unique features that might not be present on your site. This includes anything from an interactive widget, SaaS UX navigation, something visually appealing on the homepage, or a new layout that we may want to implement.

Step 3 Evaluate the competition

The next step is figuring out what they're doing well and what they are not doing so well. From there, evaluate their strengths and weaknesses against yours so that you have a clear understanding of your position in relation to them, both from an objective standpoint and from the perspective of the customer or end-user.

Step 4 Create a competitive analysis matrix

The SWOT analysis is a simple competitive analysis matrix. You can use it to determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for you and your competitors. Look at what they are doing well, what they could be doing better, and how you can leverage these design insights for your product. You will need to consider the following:

  • What are they doing well?
  • What could they do better?
  • What are their greatest challenges?
  • How can you exploit these challenges?
  • Are there any opportunities that you can take advantage of?
SWOT Analysis template
SWOT Analysis template

Step 5 Analyze the data gathered

Take the information from the previous steps and identify key areas where you need to improve or where you can go into competition with them successfully. Develop a strategy. It will help you overcome their strengths and exploit their weaknesses to achieve market dominance. Identify opportunities to improve your product or service by taking advantage of their weaknesses.

For example, if one competitor has a great website with interesting content but a poor mobile app, you might want to focus on improving your mobile app.

Step 6 Implement competitor analysis in future design

Now that you have completed the previous five steps of competitive analysis, it's time to implement your plan. Monitor performance against these plans regularly to make any necessary adjustments as needed. Keeping an eye on what your competitors do is important since their strategies may change.

UX competitive analysis template

UX designers use a variety of competitive analysis frameworks. They can look at data like Google Trends, Apple's App Store rankings, or usage statistics to understand what users are searching for and interacting with on their product.

The type of competitor analysis method you use will depend on your goals for the project. Want to know what users think about your app's design or usability? Then you would need a qualitative competitive analysis, but if you're trying to find out who your competitors are in terms of market share or revenue generated by similar products/services, then a quantitative study will be your choice.

But the best place to start is the competitors' websites. Many tools can be used to gather information about what their site looks like, how it functions, their products and services offered, etc.

Process competitive analysis
Process competitive analysis

From basic web crawlers like Google's PageRank, which show how many inbound links they have, to more sophisticated tools that provide insights into their search engine optimization strategy.

To sum up, the methods which can be used in the competitive analysis are:

  • Website crawling: This involves automatically visiting websites to gather information about them. You can then use this data to see what's working for your competitors and what you need to change about your website.
  • Competitive intelligence (CI): CI is used when gathering data on competitors through surveys, interviews, or other research activities. It helps you understand their strengths and weaknesses to identify opportunities for growth in your own business.
  • Social media analytics: With the rise of social media, it is possible to listen to feedback from users, including through social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
  • Observing how people use a product and what they like or dislike about it.

Enter the competitor's website as a user would. This will provide you with an understanding of how the user interacts with the site or app, what they see first, where they go next, etc. It also provides insight into how easy it is to find what they want on your competitor's site or app.

Product UX features template
Product UX features template

Social media also provide information about who is talking about you or your competitors on these networks. Another method is by using heatmaps which allow you to see how visitors interact with your site or if they have problems with certain pages.

It's not just a one-off for your UX design

Competitive analysis in UX should be done regularly, not just at the beginning of a project or when there is an issue with sales or profits. It will help you stay ahead of the game and keep up with changes in customer preferences over time.

Sergey Gyluyk

Head of Growth

Head of Growth and Customer Success. I'm interested in design, new tech, fashion, exploring new places and languages. My mission is to make our clients happy.

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