Before you start working on design prototypes for your own product, assess the current state of the market with a Competitive Analysis (also known as a Competitor Analysis). Compare the features, navigation, content, visuals, taxonomy, and/or usability of your competitors to see what consumers might expect from your product, and how your product can contribute to the market in a way others have not.
SCHEDULE TIME & GATHER MATERIALS
Preparation: 1 – 2 Days
Analysis: Up to 3 Hours
Presentation software (PowerPoint, Keynote, etc.)
Paper or a text editor for notes
CARRY OUT THIS METHOD
Determine the competitive sites or apps you want to evaluate by searching for your product’s keywords on multiple search engines and seeing what comes up most often. A product manager can help you determine the validity of a possible competitor if you are uncertain.
Write up a list of tasks users can complete with competitor products. These should be tasks you expect your own users to complete regularly.
As you complete your tasks with each competing product, take screenshots at every step for documentation and presentation. Take notes on wait times, difficulties, useful features, and poorly implemented features. Note the terminology used by competitors.
Find commonalities between competitors to determine what users will expect from your product.
Find user reviews for these products to determine which commonalities users are happy with, and which could be improved upon. Your design team should avoid deviating from commonalities that users are accustomed to and are happy with. Unfavorable commonalities, however, present an opportunity.
Prepare a presentation of your analysis so stakeholders and team members can see the issues and opportunities you have uncovered. Include a walkthrough of particularly enlightening tasks, and highlight anything that users found particularly delightful or problematic.
Schedule a presentation of your findings. A walkthrough of each task should take mere minutes, but a half-day meeting allows you time to answer questions and discuss your findings in depth.
TIPS AND RESOURCES
Try these tips
If you have the expertise to create an unbiased and effective market research survey, you can gain a better understanding of which competitors are generally liked or disliked, and why. Survey responses can help supplement your analysis.