Design Best Practices

UX Design Process: Competitor Audit

UX Design Process Competitor Audit

Table of Contents

Competitor Audit in UX Design Process

By making empathy maps, personas, user stories, and user journey maps, you can get to know your users and find out what negatively impacts them. Next, we figure out what the problem is and how to fix it. One way to find out is by looking at what other competitor of yours are doing, that includes knowing the successes and failures of your competition can help influence your design decisions; the detective game.

  1. For whom is it for? What are their needs?
  2. What problem is there? How to solve it?

An effective competitive audit should:

  • Identify your key competitors
  • Review the products that your competitors offer
  • Understand how your competitors position themselves in the market
  • Examine what your competition does well and what they could do better
  • Consider how your competitors describe themselves

An effective competitive audit can help:

  • Inform your design process
  • Solve usability and accessibility problems
  • Reveal gaps in the market 
  • Provide reliable evidence about whether designs work or not 
  • Save time, money, and energy

Insights from your competitive audit will later be used to inform your own designs, help you solve usability problems, reveals gaps in the market, provides reliable evidence and with these finding you can learn how to improve your product, outperform competitors, be able to save time, money and energy. More resources: A Product Designer’s Guide to Competitive Analysis from Toptal and How to Conduct and Prepare a Competitive Analysis from Edward Lowe Foundation. The limitation for using competitive audits is not all designs work in all use cases which also depend on how well you interpret the findings that could restrict creative development.

  1. Outline your competitive audit goals
  2. Identifying your key competitors. Create a spreadsheet and list atleast 10 competitiors. Include direct competitors (offers the same products and focus on the same audience) and indirect competitors (have similar set of offerings but focus on a different audience or it could be the other way round). Call out the aspects (desktop/mobile experience sucess and drawbacks) you want to compare.
  3. Researching and reviewing the products that your competitors offer.
  4. Understanding how your competitors position themselves in the market.
  5. Examining what your competition does well and what they could do better.
  6. Considering how your competitors talk about themselves. (First impressions, Interaction, Visual design, Content)
  7. Summarize a report of your findings. After you’ve done research, gathered data, and analyzed your results, write a report that sums up your work. What you put in your report and how you present your findings will depend on the goals you set for the audit at the beginning. For example, if your audit is mostly about comparing the audiences of your competitors, you might want to include a few graphics with numbers and statistics. Or, if your audit is mostly about how things look, you might want to include screenshots of your competitors’ websites with different parts highlighted. 

Summarize your findings in a report

To create your competitive audit report, you’ll present the insights from your audit in narrative form. Consider the themes and trends you uncovered during your audit while writing your report. There are nine sections in the report template, to be filled out as follows:

  1. Competitive audit goal(s). Enter the goal(s) from the top of your audit spreadsheet.
  2. Who are your key competitors? Consult your research and the General information section of your audit and describe each competitor in 1-2 sentences. Be sure to note whether they are direct or indirect competitors.
  3. What are the type and quality of competitors’ products? Describe what each competitor offers, making note of what they do well and what they could do better. Your answers should be complete, but relatively brief—no more than a short paragraph (2-5 sentences) for each competitor. 
  4. How do competitors position themselves in the market? Describe each competitor’s target audience in a few sentences. Be specific about characteristics of their ideal customers (e.g., age, location, income, spending habits, etc.).
  5. How do competitors talk about themselves? Consider each company’s value proposition. Summarize what they claim is unique about their offerings in 2-3 sentences.
  6. Competitors’ strengths. List 2-4 things each competitor does particularly well.
  7. Competitors’ weaknesses. List 2-4 things each competitor could do better.
  8. Gaps. Consider what your competitors fail to do. Identify 2-3 gaps in the market that they do not fill (e.g., design or product features, customization, etc.). 
  9. Opportunities. Consider ways you might address the market gaps you identified. List 2-3 opportunities for your product to stand out from its competitors.

 

Reflect on the completion of this activity: Does your competitive audit spreadsheet and final report:

  • Identify three to six key competitors, complete with “direct” and “indirect” designations?
  • Include clear competitive audit goals at the top?
  • Review the products that the competitors have to offer? 
  • Include three to six features for comparing the businesses that are based on the competitive audit goal? 
  • Include an analysis of trends among competitors? 
  • Comment on how your competitors position themselves in the market? 
  • Examine what the competition does well and what they could do better?
  • Consider how the competitors describe themselves?
  • Describe the competitors’ strengths and weaknesses? 
  • Highlight gaps in the competitors’ products? 
  • Identify opportunities where your product can stand out and make itself unique? 

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