What every coach in a match does?
Well, every coach gets to know the tactics of the other teams before getting into a match. They make adjustments according to the opposite team and work out playing field positioning. In addition, they learn from other teams’ mistakes.
Wondering why are we talking about coaches and matches here?
This will help you understand the role of competitor analysis for better product design. Competitor analysis is one of the clearest, easy, and accessible means to get your product in-and-out.
What did you think?
· Why should you stalk others?
· You want to focus on your own idea and product instead of others’?
· No time?
· You’re unique and already have creative and great ideas, so you don’t need anything else?
Now, I’m sorry to burst your bubble here:
Its good to be confident, but what’s wrong in staying ahead of your competitors even if you’re way ahead of them.
On the qui vive all the UX Designers – we’re ready to dive into the details of how competitor analysis plays a crucial role in product design.
Shall we begin?
Being a UX designer, you must be aware of the service design cycle. This design cycle has four stages – Discover, Explore, Test, and Listen.
Each and every stage has different research methods, and the competitor’s analysis is a part of the assessment. Here’s a depiction of four steps and the most frequently used methods in these four steps:
Quite often, a five-level design process is followed by UX Designers in their projects:
Do not confuse this 5-stage design procedure with the service design cycle. When all’s said and done, they serve the same purpose in the design thinking process; however, they’re explained in different ways and styles.
Here’s a rundown to a short description of what these 5 stages contain:
This is the first stage, which involves having a clear grasp of the issue you’re trying to resolve from the point of view of the user.
The second stage consists of defining the right and exact statement for the issue that you’re trying to resolve by making use of the knowledge that was gained in the first stage.
This is the third stage and you can generate different ideas and solutions for the problem.
Generally, a prototype is just an attempt or effort to give some form to your solutions so that you can explain it to others. But, for digital products, the prototype could be a set of wireframe made with the use of pen and paper or making use of a tool like a Sketch or Balsamiq, or it could be a sort of visual design prototype crafted by making use of a tool like Adobe XD, InVision, Figma, or Sketch.
This is the last stage involving the validation and evaluation of all the solutions with the end-users.
Now, if you have a question – at which stage can you perform UX research?
The answer is simple:
You can carry out UX research at any stage. Stay tuned to know more about the design process.
The image depicts the most commonly used methods UX professionals use while they explore the stage of the design life-cycle.
As per a survey report of “User Experience Careers” by Nielsen Norman Group, 61 percent of UX designers prefer to carry out competitive analysis for their projects.
But what exactly competitive analysis is?
Simply put, competitive analysis is a method to examine how well your competitors are performing and what do they offer.
However, sometimes, competitive analysis is also referred to as competitive usability evaluation.
Now, that we’ve already discussed so much about Competitive Analysis, let’s get to the point:
Why should you do a competitor analysis?
There are various reasons why UX designers choose to carry out research on their competitors. In actual fact, these are the most common deliverables in the workflow of UX professionals and are thought of as an essential part of their design strategy.
Here’s a rundown to the most common reasons:
To determine your role in the market:
First of all, it is important and helpful that you understand the role of your own product in the market. During the analysis, it gets clear where your ‘innovative’ idea stands set side by side with other players in the market. This proves to be helpful when you’re designing a new product that doesn’t even know its purpose and place.
To get to know the weaknesses of your competitors:
Whoa! This is considered as one of the biggest benefits of UX competitor analysis is gaining the understanding of where the weaknesses and strengths of your competitors lie.
Keeping a sharp vigil on what others in the same niche as yours are doing enables you to recognize their key inadequacies and flaws.
UX competitor analysis opens up an opportunity for you to offer the components that your competitors lack – creating the main competitive advantage.
To get an eyeful of industry trends:
Competitor analysis plays an important role in keeping an eye on industry trends and the common features since this will enable you to design for your target audience.
Quite often than not, your intended set of customers would already be using competitor’s applications that means they have some expectations of flow and certain features.
What’s up with this?
Well, this is your chance where you can explore such elements and make a product, which your target audience can simply navigate.
To earn your keep the future design decisions:
As a UX professional you have to steer clear off ‘I think’ and ‘I guess’ when you already have a back-up for your work. With a comprehensive competitive analysis, you’ll have all the research to keep up your decisions when you take the bull by the horns. This resource will prove to be helpful and you’ll be grateful for this at all the stages of the design process.
Now, here’s more to it.
Which competitors to include?
You know the role of competitive analysis for better product design. Let’s take a glance at the types of competitors and which competitors you should take into consideration.
Basically, there are two different categories of competitors to see while conducting analysis, both of the competitors shining a torch on what compounds to give precedence for your new product and the design process.
Let’s read about both the types of competitors – Direct and Indirect Competitors:
Who are direct competitors?
These competitors are those competitors who offer similar or the same, set of characteristics and features to your existing or future customers.
What does this mean?
This means they’re solving the same set of problems you’re trying to solve for a certain base of customers targeted by you.
Now, what’s with the indirect competitors?
As the name suggests, these competitors are the ones offering a similar set of characteristics and features but the customer segment is different.
Or, indirect competitors target the same set of consumers as yours but offer a different set of features and characteristics.
What does this mean?
This means, this type of competitors solve the same issues but for different consumer base, or solve the same issue but provide different solutions.
What will you learn from Competitor Analysis?
We’re living in a data-driven world, and we must build products, apps, and services basis data, and not our guesswork or intuition.
As UX professionals, you must move out and collect as much data as you can before you build an actual product. This data will aid you to create a rock-solid product, which users would wish to use, instead of some product you want or imagine.
There’s a higher probability that such products perform well and succeed in the market.
Competitive analysis plays an integral and vital role in collecting data and making a user-friendly product.
As a final point, no matter what sort of product you’re creating or research you’re conducting, you must try to understand the users’ needs and preferences every now and then. In this way, you can identify the struggles of the users and eventually deliver the best solution to their problems.
A UX Competitive Analysis is not just a tool, but a mind-set. Every UX professional or designer or the entire UX firm will have a different process.