Mastering UX Competitive Analysis for Superior User Experience Design

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User experience (UX) design is an integral part of the success of product development. Without conducting a thorough competitive analysis as part of the UX process, it can be hard to make sure that you're developing the best product on the market.

This article provides a comprehensive guide to mastering UX competitive analysis to ensure that you create superior user experiences. We'll discuss the benefits of UX competitive analysis, how to identify who you should analyze, and how to evaluate their design solutions. 

What is UX competitive analysis?

UX competitive analysis is the process of researching and evaluating how a competitor's digital interface, product experience, or service design compares to yours. It usually involves obtaining information about the user interface, user journeys, user experience, and user feedback on their product or service and using that data to inform and enhance your own product's experience.

You can learn from your competitors' successes and failures, identify areas of critical innovation, and gain insights into the latest trends in your industry. This type of analysis can help you identify gaps in your product or service and help you create a better user experience.

Why is it important to conduct a UX competitive analysis?

Conducting a competitive analysis (UX research) is important because it helps to identify opportunities for improvement in a given product’s user experience. By the way, 88% of consumers won’t return to a website with bad UX. That’s why user experience is extremely important for businesses.

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By looking at the competition, a business can learn what features or experiences their competition offers that have been successful in delighting their users, as well as any areas of their user experience that are weaker and ripe for improvement at the prototyping stage.

Additionally, a competitive analysis allows a business to gain further insight into their target customers and market dynamics, for example, what solutions the competition offers and what customer pains and desires they focus their efforts on satisfying. Overall, understanding what’s out there in the market and how it relates to the user experience of a given product can prove invaluable in helping to ensure a better experience for the user.

Most UX specialists use competitive analysis to:

  • Understand the strengths of the competition, including their design decisions.
  • Identify opportunities where you can differentiate against the competition. 
  • Gain insight into market trends, user behaviors, & current solutions. 
  • Identify potential design partners and sources of inspiration.
  • Inform features & design decisions within your own product. 
  • Understand users’ existing mental models of the problem. 
  • Avoid re-inventing the wheel.

How do you identify competitors for UX competitive analysis?

If you have been building your product for some time, you probably already know at least some of your direct and indirect competitors. If you're just starting out or need more insight into your competitors, here are some tips for you.

  1. Research industry trends: Research industry news and stay on top of the latest UX industry trends in order to identify competitors who are active in the space. 
  2. Analyze competitors' websites: Look for competitors whose web products and services appear to overlap with yours. Analyze their entire user experience, including visual design, usability, features, navigation structure, and user flow. 
  3. Monitor App Store: Keep an eye on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for competitors. Consider their average star ratings, user ratings, frequency of updates, and other relevant metrics. 
  4. Use keyword tools: Leverage keyword search tools to identify competitors, especially those who target the same market or demographic as your website. 
  5. Focus on user feedback: Read through customer feedback and reviews of your competitors’ products and services to gain a better understanding of what users actually think about them. This can also provide useful insights and ideas on how to differentiate your own UX design.

What types of data should be gathered in a UX competitive analysis?

When conducting a UX research competitive analysis, you need to collect quantitative data that you can then process, summarize, and study with the product designer and other team members. Here are a few metrics you should pay particular attention to:

  • User demographics: Understand who the target user is, including basic information like gender, age group, and location. 
  • Design elements: Analyze how competitors' websites and apps look, feel, and function, including site navigation, page layouts, content structure, user interfaces, typography, and color palette. 
  • User experience: Collect data about user flows, usability, responsiveness, feedback options, and other aspects of the user experience. 
  • Content: Take note of what types of content competitors are focusing on, including blog posts, videos, photos, and social media posts. 
  • Features: Look at specific features that other apps and websites offer, such as customer accounts, search functions, payment options, and so on. 
  • Performance metrics: Consider factors such as site or page loading speed, task times, bounce rate, retention, user engagement, and customer satisfaction.

How do researchers analyze data in a UX competitive analysis?

Here’s a short guide to analyzing the data you’ve collected on the initial stages of your UX competitive analysis.

1. Group similar products: Create a spreadsheet or document to organize the data. First, group the collected data by product features, competitors, and then sort the results into various buckets such as design, user experience, usability, performance, and pricing. 

2. Compare features: Once you’ve grouped the collected data into the various buckets, look for trends and compare features and prices or other relevant differences between products. 

3. Look for customer insights: Conduct additional research to gain a better understanding of customer opinions about the products and related experiences. 

4. Identify strengths and weaknesses: After collecting and analyzing the data, determine the strengths and weaknesses of competitive products. 

5. Adjust product strategy: Utilize the insights from the competitive analysis to inform product strategy and decisions. If a feature or quality of a product stands out amongst its competitors, suggest strategies for incorporating this feature and quality into your own product.

These stages may be changed according to your industry’s specific and your business needs (i.e. specific features you want to analyze, period, product group, etc.). Also, you may use the SWOT analysis. The technique of the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis can be utilized by companies both internally and against their competition. It can be applied to an entire industry, market, competitor, product range, or a single product. The four attributes that the analysis peruses are: 

  • Strengths: Where a competitor is the most powerful and makes it most difficult to contend with. 
  • Weaknesses: Areas a competitor doesn't offer or do well. Opportunities: Opportunities the competition can take advantage of that haven't been used yet, such as a feature like one-click checkouts for an eCommerce brand, etc. 
  • Threats: Factors outside the competition that could potentially hurt their business, like other competitors, legislation, politics, technology, etc. 

What is the best method to present findings from a UX competitive analysis?

The best way to present findings from a UX competitive analysis is to strongly emphasize the potential areas of improvement that distinguish the client’s product or web experience from their competitors. The presentation should focus on the areas where the client’s UX offers advantages over the competitors, highlighting elements such as user-friendliness, effectiveness, and intuitiveness.

It is also helpful to use visuals to present the analysis in a succinct and understandable way. Visuals, such as heat maps to compare user engagement or annotated screenshots to provide an objective evaluation of the competitors’ websites, can help the audience understand the pros and cons of each product in a clear way. Additionally, explain the implications of the findings – how the UX can be improved and the implications that it might have on customer acquisition and retention. With a well-executed competitive UX analysis, the audience should walk away confident in the ability of the client's UX to reach new benchmarks.

How can UX competitive analysis improve the design process?

UX competitive analysis is a process of researching and examining products or services that compete with the intentions of understanding user expectations, uncovering best practices, informing strategy, and directing design decisions to differentiate and optimize the user experience. A UX competitive analysis can identify hidden drivers of user satisfaction and have a significant impact on the prototype design process. 

The competitive analysis provides a window into how other people have solved similar problems that your team is facing and helps inform the design process. By investing time in competitive analysis, your team can understand the strengths and weaknesses of competitors in the market and capitalize on opportunities that are presented.

Additionally, by understanding user expectations of a product or service, your team can discover ways to design a unique and differentiated experience that meets the needs of users. Knowing what has been done in the past can also help inform future design decisions and suggest new directions that the team can take with their own product. Comparative research also offers quantifiable insights into the user experience that can be used to refine design decisions and ultimately create superior user experiences.

How does UX competitive analysis tie into the customer journey?

UX competitive analysis focuses on comparing a company's user experience against similar products or services in the market. This means analyzing not only a company's existing design elements and user experience but also those of its competitors. By studying their competitors' designs and user experiences, companies can gain valuable insights into the design strategies their competitors are using that are resonating with consumers. This information can help inform a company's decisions about how to design their own product or service. 

The customer journey can be improved with competitive UX analysis. Knowing what is working well for competitors can help companies design user experiences that guide customers in the right direction. Companies can use competitive UX analysis to gain insight into how companies have implemented navigation structures, voice and tone, or onboarding processes, and how those implementations have been received by customers. This advanced understanding gives companies the tools they need to design and optimize experiences that better fit customer needs and guide customers to the outcomes they expect.


What is competitive analysis in UX?
What is competitive analysis in UX?

Competitive analysis in UX is the process of comparing a product's user experience to that of its competitor's. It involves identifying similarities and differences between products to determine which product has a more favorable user experience for a specific task. This is used to make informed design decisions that prioritize user experience.

Why is UX competitive analysis important?
Why is UX competitive analysis important?

UX competitive analysis is important because it helps inform decisions around product features, user experience design, and overall design elements that differentiate your product from competitors. By studying competitor apps, websites, or services, UX professionals can quickly identify best practices and gain insight into what's working or not working for them, helping to craft a better experience for users.

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