Design

The Complete Guide to a UX Competitive Analysis

Are you looking for a source to develop new product solutions and make interaction with your customers better? Your competitors can help! Of course, indirectly. That requires looking at them from a professional angle. A tool for that, UX Competitive analysis, will help you define what features to add to your product, what patterns to use for better interaction, and how to benchmark your product. However, this is achievable only if you are ready to spend time and effort on comprehensive research.

"UX Competitive analysis will help you define what features to add to your product, what patterns to use for better interaction, and how to benchmark your product."

Users cannot forgive poor experience with the app and application. 27% of businesses have already improved their customer experience score in 2020. Competitor analysis was one of the techniques used to determine what improvements customers need and how to introduce them most effectively.

Many businesses have already added competitor analysis to the list of processes to perform regularly. Yet, many of them do not conduct it professionally — thus, the analysis results do not help them improve their products.

The matter is that competitive analysis, as well as any other technique, requires a proper approach and expertise.

In this article, we are going to reveal what stands behind this process. Competitors will become your source of inspiration. We will share our own experience of using competitive analysis in our practice and explain how we build the process to achieve the results.

What is UX competitive analysis and its importance in the design process

To some extent, we all have performed competitor research at least once: browsing the websites of our market rivals, using their apps, or reading their mailings. However, to be effective, the research must be systemized and have clearly set goals. 

The UX competitive analysis is based on competitive research, a process of determining competitive product features using the competitors’ experience. We learn their approach to the usability and attractiveness of the product (as well as separate features) and investigate what features are crucial for the business.

"The UX competitive analysis is based on competitive research, a process of determining competitive product features using the competitors’ experience."

All in all, user experience competitor research helps us prevent many problems and understand the market’s real needs.

Among other problems competitor analysis helps to solve, we should mention the following:

  • a company gets a chance to understand the current position of the product on the market

  • it gets possible to define the gaps of existing product

  • all strong and weak sides of other companies become visible

  • all strong and weak sides of your company become visible as well

  • if the product has not been released yet, you can develop a go-to-market strategy that will be more suitable for the current situation

With UX research, we can be sure of any decision regarding the feature list. For example, if the analysis shows us that some feature is no longer in demand, we will delete it from the list of options to develop. If the product has already been released, we consider the option of redesigning it and deleting the features that clients no longer use.

For the design processes, the competitive matrix serves to understand what features have a satisfying implementation — and use this information for our product. If we notice that the implementation of some features is controversial, we also use this to understand how to avoid the same mistakes in our product.

Example of basic competitive analysis for taxi mobile applications.

The product feature list is built on UX competitive analysis. Therefore, it directly influences product and design processes.

Typically, UX competitive analysis is based on 3-4 key competitors. The more competitors you use for analysis, the more complicated it becomes: you get too much information and it’s harder to focus on the goals.

For example, during a competitor analysis, we have defined that our market rival X has 10 main effective features or functionality elements. Our product has only 5 of them. Therefore, we expand our product list to 10 features, define the priority for each of them, and start the development process.

Otherwise, after conducting a competitive analysis, we may notice that 5 out of 10 features from our list are out-of-date. 3 of them can be updated. We get a list of 8 features: 5 remain the same, and 3 require additional attention.

The competitive analysis process frequently involves competitive reviews, competitive testing, and competitive tests on the design:

  • competitive reviews

analysis of a series of related products. During the review, an expert defines strong and weak points of the design, trends, patterns, and differences. You can narrow the review by analysing only one feature, or you can broaden it to analysing the whole website. The swot approach is frequently used for competitive reviews.

Example of the SWOT approach.
  • competitive testing

this is a less popular approach yet very effective. In this case, we invite users to test different products and evaluate the design. A user is given specific tasks, and they have to perform them with the functionality of the product. In competitive testing, you should also include your product in the list.

  • competitive tests on the design

competitive analysis can also be used in the evaluation of the design variants for one product. There’s no need to create a full design, a prototype is enough for evaluation. Conducting usability tests is important for any product, and when you have a list of things to compare, tests become more valuable.

Advantages that UX competitive analysis gives to the product?

When we conduct competitive analysis, we always keep in mind that customer behavior changes rapidly. For example, during the first year of Covid 19, retail apps noticed an increase of time spent in mobile apps by 20%. For businesses, this is the trigger that shows the necessity to make apps more interactive and engaging. Therefore, we believe that it’s important to analyze regularly. It will help to:

Define UX strengths and weaknesses

When we analyze our direct and indirect competitors, we can define their strong and weak sides. What do they use to make the UX of their product more satisfying to a user? How can we use their experience in our practice? These are the questions that we need to answer.

It also helps us to define effective solutions and functions that we can implement in our product. 

Investigating the patterns

UХ analysis methods can easily define user behavior patterns used for different products. Our task is to select most suitable patterns for our product and implement them in our design process.

Discovering new areas for growths

For example, new features of functions that our competitors have never used. In the future, some of them may become selling points of the product.

It’s important to pay attention to the functions and features with the same idea but can be implemented differently. You can list approaches to feature implementation and experiment with your feature list in the future.

Creating detailed requirements for the new product

If the product has not been launched yet, we can use the analysis results to create detailed documentation for further development.

It will also be useful if you are planning to improve documentation for already existing products.

When is the right time to perform a UX competitive analysis?

It’s never late to start UX competitive analysis. Yet, we believe that the sooner you start to investigate your competitors, the easier it will be for you to implement changes into your product.

Thus, the best time is at the early stage of product development. In this case, you can easily define the must-have features of your product, write a detailed guide for development, and develop a strategy for further updates and changes. 

There is also an importance of UX competitive analysis on other stages. The matter is that your competitor list will change all the time, as well as the market. It will imply the need to add or remove features and upgrade the product.

A guide to competitive analysis for User Experience design

When creating a guide to competitors` analysis, we’ve used our own experience and best practices of different markets. With the combination of these two aspects, the guide reveals what’s behind the stage of the whole process that frequently involves the whole teamwork on it.

Start with the goals

Use business and product goals as the foundation for defining the goals of the competitive analysis. 

This step is obligatory to answer the most important questions: why you do this and what you are planning to get in the result.

Geography of the analysis

If the product is focused on the local market, you should search for local competitors. But if the product will work on the global market, better to choose another strategy and analyze top global competitors.

The geography of the analysis helps us to set the list of companies that we’re interested in. For example, if you want to create an app for food delivery from one restaurant, we will analyze local competitors. But if you are planning to create an app for food delivery from different restaurants in different regions, you will analyze global competitors, like Uber Eats.

Analysis of direct competitors

When analyzing direct competitors, always pay attention to the following:

  • you must have a common area and functionality. The competitor’s product or service must solve the same problems and satisfy the same needs as your product

  • you must have the same platform. In the analysis of direct competitors, it's impossible to compare mobile and desktop platforms and offline and online businesses. Thus, if you analyze mobile apps, the competitor must use mobile apps as well.

Analysis of indirect competitors 

For this type of analysis, follow these requirements:

  • the products must solve the same problems and satisfy the same needs, but they can be presented on a different platform 

  • indirect competitors can work in another business area

  • indirect competitors may have another target audience, but still, the functionality of their digital product is close to yours

Сhoosing the parameters for comparison

When choosing the parameters for comparison, we always stick to the main idea: the functions should bring value to the users. When these functions are defined, we put them into a comparison table, that will assist in the further works with the materials.

Sorting the comparison table

A comparison table allows us to work with collected data in various ways: we can color the most and the least important information, define trends and tendencies, point out key information, or determine patterns. Also, we can sort information using available data: traffic level or a number of downloads. We can sort it by describing the order of functionality as well.

Example of UX competitive analysis made by Arounda.

We fill in the comparison table to determine and establish competitive features for our product. We conduct detailed analysis for each competitor, which helps us to make successful decisions for our project.

As a result of the UX Competitive analysis, we create a general report and create a feature list.

UX competitive analysis: Klasha Case Study 

Website design created by Arounda for Klasha project.

Competitor analysis of any company has certain patterns, but the results are always different. The matter is that the markets are different, and some of them have many things to compare. 

For Klasha, a fintech product, UX competitive analysis was a challenge: the business area is huge, the number of competitors is impressive. Klasha is a product that simplifies money transactions for local currencies. 

Before we started the competitor research, we UX audited the existing website. In this case, this was an essential step that helped us define gaps and understand the main problems. Using best practices and our expertise in the market, we created a preliminary list of issues we will deal with.

We collected all necessary information about product usability: features customers use, less popular ones, and features with poor implementation. We used the collected information to determine the priority of the problems to fix. For some of the issues, we offered best practice solutions that could be implemented immediately.

The next step was the conduction of competitors' analysis. We started with the geography and defined Klasha’s main competitors in the region. Later, we analyzed direct and indirect competitors. We listed their features in a comparison table. Detailed information helped us to define the best UX solutions for Klasha’s website problems. Also, we defined a list of features to be implemented in a fintech app working with money transactions in different currencies.

How to conduct UX competitive analysis for your product

UX competitive analysis is more than looking through the list of companies that work in your business area and randomly checking their websites or apps. It requires a profound understanding of UX, user behavior patterns, and business best practices. 

Fortunately, there’s no need to conduct competitive analysis on your own. Arounda is here to help you! We will take everything on us: starting with the UX audit of your product and up to creating a strategy for feature implementation. We will support you at any stage of the design process and explain how our solutions will work for your business.

Our team of dedicated UX experts will analyze your competitors and provide you with a full report. You will finally understand why your consumers do not use app features and what they expect from your product.

If you are not sure what business goals you can solve with design, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We will answer your questions and help you with any inquiry!

Lilya Khimchenko
WRITTEN BY
Lilya Khimchenko
CMO
I make sure our clients get the high-quality result from the beginning stage of the idea discovery & strategy to the final digital product.
Lilya Khimchenko
WRITTEN BY
Lilya Khimchenko
CMO
I make sure our clients get the high-quality result from the beginning stage of the idea discovery & strategy to the final digital product.
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