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Conducting a UX competitor analysis for improved user experience

Last updated

14 March 2023

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Dovetail Editorial Team

Reviewed by

Tanya Williams

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Conducting a UX competitor analysis is an extremely valuable tool to improve your website's user experience (UX)

By taking the time to evaluate the strategies used by your competitors, you can gain insight into how their users interact with their websites and what tactics they use to drive engagement. By studying the UX of your competitors, you can learn from their successes and mistakes. Ultimately, this can help you identify improvement areas in your product. 

In this blog post, we'll go over the step-by-step process of conducting a UX competitor analysis, so you can make your website even more user-friendly and engaging.

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What is competitor analysis?

Competitor analysis is a strategy that involves researching major competitors in the industry. This analysis is used by businesses to gain insight into their competitors' products, sales, and marketing tactics.

The insights gained from a competitive analysis can be used to shape a company's marketing plan, implement stronger strategies, and capture market share.

This research of industry trends can ensure that your product consistently meets and exceeds industry standards. 

Competitor analysis templates

Why is competitor analysis important for UX?

Conducting a competitor analysis in UX design enables designers to see competitors' design decisions and identify the latest trends and potential opportunities to stay ahead of the competition. 

By routinely running a competitor analysis, businesses can stay ahead of market shifts and adjust their product or services accordingly. It is also an effective way to find growth opportunities and identify any potential weaknesses in their competitors' strategies and designs. 

Additionally, a competitor analysis can help brands understand how customers perceive their competitors and identify opportunities to differentiate themselves from them.

How to conduct a competitor analysis

The first step to conducting a UX competitor analysis is determining the focus and setting up objectives. Although the end aim of the competitor analysis is to get a clearer view of your competitors' design, UX, and business strategies, setting up smaller goals before beginning is vital. Such goals can involve learning which user experience features your competitors are successful in, identifying weak points of their user experience, or understanding which features are most often utilized.

Identifying your competitors is a critical element of conducting a competitor analysis. Look into the other companies in your market that present similar services or products. This can help you understand the size of the market and how your company fits in the overall scheme. 

Having proper test devices is important to precisely review the user experience. Depending on your industry, there may be different types of devices you need to use. 

If you are assessing websites, you should consider using both a desktop computer and a mobile device. In addition to having the most recent version and software updates, it is essential to use the same devices your competitors are targeting to ensure you have an accurate understanding of their user experience.

After identifying the competitors, you can now begin testing key user journeys. To do this, you must first divide the journey into different stages. Start by recognizing the stages of the journey and mapping out each step. Then go through each step as a user would. Be aware of any areas that could be improved, such as usability or loading times, and make sure to take notes. 

You can also complete competitive usability testing, having participants complete the key tasks with your and your competitor’s products or websites to analyze how users navigate through various parts of the competitor's website or app, looking for any patterns and comparing them.

A SWOT analysis is an important step in conducting a UX competitor analysis. The purpose of the SWOT analysis is to identify areas of strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that can be leveraged or improved upon. 

Strengths

Identify your own strengths. What are you doing better than your competitors? What do you offer that they don't? Identifying your strengths can help you gain an advantage over your competitors. 

Weaknesses

Recognize your weaknesses or areas where your competitors are outperforming you. What features or services do your competitors offer that you don't? Knowing your weaknesses helps you pinpoint areas for improvement.

Opportunities

Discover opportunities available in the marketplace. Are there opportunities for new products or services? What underserved market could benefit from your offerings? 

Threats

Consider any potential threats posed by your competitors. Do they offer unique services or lower prices? Do they have access to a larger customer base? 

With the  SWOT analysis, you can determine which areas need improvement and which ones can be leveraged to gain an edge over your competition.

Once you've completed these steps, you are ready to share your findings. Put together a report or presentation to present to your team or stakeholders. Include any areas of opportunity where your company can improve, as well as the successes of your competitors that can be replicated by your team.

SWOT analysis template

What to look for in a competitor analysis

When conducting a competitor analysis for UX, certain elements should be considered. It's important to look for both strengths and weaknesses in the user experience that can be learned from.

Interface design

Examine how the website or app is laid out, considering how the user navigates through it. Consider the visual design, content organization, ease of use, and overall appeal of the interface.

Journey maps

Create a journey map documenting the user's experience interacting with the site. Try to identify any potential sticking points that may lead to users not achieving their desired task.

Content

Consider how content is presented on the website or app. Is it engaging, relevant, and easy to find? Evaluate how the site organizes content and what calls to action exist. 

Performance

Analyze the loading speed and responsiveness of the site or app. Test the site across different browsers and devices. 

Features

Assess the features offered by the competitor's site or app, such as social media integration, customer support, payment options, etc. Identify any unique features that could give them an advantage. 

Branding

Analyze how competitors present their brands. How do they communicate with customers? How do they differentiate themselves from other competitors in their space?

Key performance indicators

These are measurable values that help track progress toward a desired goal. UX design includes metrics such as time on site or page views per session. Product or website reviews can also be analyzed—one-star reviews can say a lot about what could be improved. Understanding these metrics is important to understand how they impact the user experience. 

When should you perform a competitive analysis?

A competitive analysis should be conducted before starting a UX project or creating a new product to understand the strategies employed by competitors. It is also important to regularly review competitor strategies throughout the project and after launching the product to ensure it remains ahead of the competition and provides the best user experience. The frequency of analysis depends on the product and the competition.

Comparing the advantages and disadvantages of UX competitor analysis

Benefits of UX competitor analysis

Conducting a UX competitor analysis can help you gain valuable insights into your competitors' approaches to UX design and analyze their techniques, successes, and failures. This will help you create better experiences for your own users.

A UX competitor analysis can also help you identify opportunities in the market that you may not have considered. By understanding what your competitors are doing, you can find ways to differentiate yourself and stand out from the competition. This could include unique features or services your competitors don't offer or simply creating a more personalized user experience.

Limitations of UX competitor analysis

While studying competitors can help you make informed decisions, it's important to make sure that resources are focused on creating unique products and experiences. Since competitor analysis requires constant monitoring and data collection, it can be time-consuming and resource-intensive. This means it might not be suitable for smaller businesses that are short on time and resources. 

UX competitor analysis requires resources in terms of time, money, and staff. Companies must pay attention to the competition, review competitor products, and analyze them. This process often requires hiring external services and consultants and dedicating internal resources to monitoring the competition.

Another disadvantage is that it can be difficult to identify meaningful insights from competitor analysis. For example, it can be difficult to understand why certain features or experiences have been successful for a competitor, which means it can be hard to replicate those results. 

Additionally, even if insights are identified, there's no guarantee that they'll work for your own product or experience. It's important to remember that the data collected during a competitor analysis can be subject to bias, as it may not be an accurate representation of your competition. 

For example, if you only look at a small number of competitors' analytics, you could be missing out on important trends or strategies that could help you improve your own UX. Additionally, competitor analysis doesn't always provide insight into the customer's journey, meaning you may miss out on customer feedback and other valuable data points. 

Overall, while a competitor analysis can provide valuable insight into your user experience, there are some limitations to consider before you begin. Ensure you have enough resources and time to dedicate to collecting data and analyzing the results, and be mindful of any potential biases in the data you collect. With the right approach and attention to detail, however, a competitor analysis can be invaluable in improving your UX. 

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Models and tools for competitive analysis

When conducting a competitor analysis, it's important to have the right tools and models to gather the right data.

Models for analyzing data

There are many different models available to help you analyze your competitors' UX design, including:

The four C's model

This model is based on four key areas—competence, cost, convenience, and communication—that comprise UX design's foundation. Analyzing your competitors' success in these areas can give you an idea of how to improve your UX design. 

Personas

Understanding your target audience and their needs is key to creating a great user experience. Creating user personas for your competitors can help you understand how their customers think and behave, which can give you ideas for improving your own UX design

Heuristic evaluations

A heuristic evaluation is a type of usability testing in which experts evaluate a product according to established usability criteria. By doing this for your competitors' products, you can identify common usability issues and gain insight into what works well (or doesn't) with their UX design. 

Best tools for competitive analysis

Many tools are available to help gather valuable information when conducting a competitive analysis. 

Analytics tools

Analytics tools like Google Analytics can provide valuable insights into how people interact with your competitors' websites. By understanding user behavior, you can better understand how they interact with their products. 

Usability testing tools

Usability testing tools like UserTesting can help you see how people interact with your competitors' products in real time. You can observe their actions, hear their comments, and gain valuable feedback from the tests. 

There are also tools for locating competitor content on the internet, like Copyscape for checking for plagiarism and Buzzsumo for finding content related to your competitors.

Conducting a UX competitor analysis can be a powerful tool to improve user experience and gain an edge over your competitors. By carefully analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of competing websites, you can ensure that your website stands out and provides customers with the best possible experience.

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