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Competitive Analysis: Strategic UX Spy Games - Lyle Kantrovich


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A Competitive Analysis is a great way UX teams can benchmark, generate ideas, learn about users, and stretch their thinking about design and UX strategy. A UX-centric competitive analysis is very different than what you’ll find outlined in any business book. This presentation outlines an approach for conducting competitive analysis even if your company or product “has no competitors”. This session will show you what a competitive analysis is, why it’s useful, when to do one, how to do it, and what the deliverable should include. You’ll also learn how a competitive analysis can help reinvigorate your organization’s focus on UX.

Published in: Design

Competitive Analysis: Strategic UX Spy Games - Lyle Kantrovich

  1. 1. #UXPA2015 Lyle Kantrovich @Lkantrov June 24, 2015 COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS: Strategic UX Spy Games
  2. 2. #UXPA2015 The UX of Wrenches Consider the UX of a wrench. What would usability testing find? Heuristic evaluation? Contextual Inquiry? Focus groups? Surveys?
  3. 3. #UXPA2015 The UX of Wrenches Consider re-designing a wrench. What would you change?
  4. 4. #UXPA2015 The Wrench Competition Consider analyzing the competition of your wrench. • Combination wrenches • Torque wrenches • Impact wrenches • Strap wrenches • Pliers • Vise grips • Nut drivers
  5. 5. #UXPA2015 The UX of Wrenches Consider re-designing a wrench. What would you change? • Materials • Size • Range of use • Adjustability • Precision • Comfort • Ergonomics • Speed • Strength • Durability • Cleanability • Rust resistance • Visual appeal • Leverage Competitive Analysis quickly deepens our understanding of a problem space and the range of design options.
  6. 6. #UXPA2015 NO OTHER UX METHOD DELIVERS MORE VARIED DESIGN IDEAS FASTER UX Competitive Analysis expands our thinking.
  7. 7. #UXPA2015 Scenario: Health Insurance “Find a Doctor” = Top task / feature for web users Usability Test Results  Design by Committee  Complicated UI Request: “Make it better.”
  8. 8. #UXPA2015 835 Health Insurers in the U.S.
  9. 9. #UXPA2015 Why start from scratch?
  10. 10. #UXPA2015 Comparison of design details: search filters
  11. 11. #UXPA2015 Task / Screen Flow Comparison Site A: The Massive Search Form Approach Site B: Fast Results with Filters
  12. 12. #UXPA2015 UX Competitive Analysis Approach – Find a Doctor • Review other design approaches in “the wild” • Look for patterns – Flows – Form patterns – Result patterns • Feature comparisons (e.g., “accepting new patients”) • Discuss patterns within team & decide on options to explore • Mock up prototypes of alternatives • Decide on options to usability test • Test & refine • Launch new design Final design was unique from, but inspired by “best of breed”
  14. 14. #UXPA2015 UX Innovation comes from ideas • Competitors = easy source of ideas – Shift team’s effort from generating ideas to evaluating ideas – CA can super-charge your ideas – leapfrog & hybrid – Find good fixes to easier problems faster…focus on harder problems that need novel solutions • Understand user expectations – Mental models – Labels / terminology – Inform research plans Design innovation comes from design ideas.
  15. 15. #UXPA2015 Usability testing: more than just watching users use your design Both involve skill and technique UX Competitive Analysis: More than just “checking out the competition”
  16. 16. #UXPA2015 Competitive Analysis is… The comparison of other offerings in the marketplace as a source of ideas and insights. UX Competitive Analysis can provide input to… • Strategy • Product roadmaps • Research • Content strategy • Technology • Metrics • Design • Information architecture • Branding • Pricing • Positioning • Messaging
  17. 17. #UXPA2015 How to do a UX competitive analysis 1. Decide on scope of comparison 2. Identify competitors / comparators 3. Research & Review 4. Report Key Insights
  18. 18. #UXPA2015 • Niche feature only (e.g. Search, Live Chat) • Product or service (e.g. Online Invoicing application) • “Enterprise” experience / solutions 1. Decide on scope of comparison
  19. 19. #UXPA2015 1. Scope of Comparison • Based on a specific organization or team’s need • Strategic – Should we build our own or integrate with existing solutions? – Should we improve our core offering or add new supporting products? – Are new start-up offerings a threat to our market share? • Tactical – How could we improve feature X to reduce customer confusion and support calls? – What are new ways for presenting product information in responsive designs on small screens? • UX Competitive Analysis needs to be focused to get value – like any other UX method
  20. 20. #UXPA2015 • Limit to 3-6 • More breadth = Less depth • Get stakeholder input & approval 2. Identify competitors & comparators
  21. 21. #UXPA2015 2. Identify competitors & comparators • Direct competitors are working with similar users & challenges • No competitors or “fastest tortoise” – What products set user expectations? – What companies / products do you aspire to be more like? – What companies are working on similar issues in another context? • Avoid the Google / Amazon / Apple pitfall (GAAP) • Get stakeholder input if you want them to value your output • Market maturity impacts comparator options – Industry maturity – UX maturity in industry
  22. 22. #UXPA2015 • Competitor UX Overview • Site / App Organization & Navigation • Content / Functionality • Branding & Design 3. Research & review
  23. 23. #UXPA2015 3. Research & review: profile = design context Comparator Profile: Goldman Sachs Headquarters New York, NY Site URL # of Employees 32,400 Sector / Industry Financial Services Investment Banking Currency, Commodity & Futures Trading Fixed-Income Trading Notes #68 in Fortune 500 #103 in FT Global 500 Focus: Thought Leadership
  24. 24. #UXPA2015 3. Research & review: branding & visual design Colors: • White • Blue • Black • Gray Photos: • Many photos • Often feature people • Experts Notes: • “Boxy” • Lots of gradients • Strong font usage • Confusing secondary navigation within sections • Inconsistent link colors
  25. 25. #UXPA2015 3. Research & review: Content & Information Architecture Goldman Sachs Site IA: 4 Main Sections: • Who We Are • What We Do • Our Thinking • Citizenship Additional Sections / Features • Careers • Investor Relations • Media Relations • Worldwide • Lots of videos • Search Focus: Thought Leadership Impacted: Visual Design, Content Strategy, IA, Content Style Guide
  26. 26. #UXPA2015 3. Research & review Site A: The Massive Search Form Approach Site B: Fast Results with Filters
  27. 27. #UXPA2015 3. Research & review Matrices: great for high-level comparisons Corporate site comparison within an industry – focus on content / features Timing: Strategy development, pre-redesign
  28. 28. #UXPA2015 3. Research & review Matrices: great for high-level comparisons Corporate on-site search feature comparison
  29. 29. #UXPA2015 3. Research & review • Combine UX methods with Competitive Analysis – Comparative Usability Testing – Comparative Expert Reviews – Surveys – Task Analysis – Journey Mapping • Data Sources – Online reviews – Product history (e.g. Wayback Machine) – Annual reports – – Sales & Marketing materials – Patent applications – Press releases
  30. 30. #UXPA2015 • Deliverables communicate value • Keep it relevant • Sometimes there is no “eureka!” 4. Report key insights
  31. 31. #UXPA2015 ‘Isn’t it a shame that with the tremendous amount of work you have done you haven’t been able to get any results?’ - Walter S. Mallory
  32. 32. #UXPA2015 ‘Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results! I know several thousand things that won’t work.’ - Thomas Edison
  33. 33. #UXPA2015 4. Reporting insights: Structure • If few, highly related comparisons… – Presentation with “profile” of each competitor – Demographics (size, location, etc.) – Screenshots – Opportunities & threats – Recent changes / developments • If aspirational comparisons… – Look for UX themes, values, opportunities • If feature or low-level design specific comparisons… – Identify design patterns to test or implement – Source is less important than the idea
  34. 34. #UXPA2015 4. Reporting insights: Patterns Multi-National Enterprise Approaches to Globalization/Localization Globalized Model Users select a language to view content. All company products are accessible through one site. Used by companies with global business but no global location presence (e.g. online retailers) Localized Model Users select a country before viewing content. Content is tailored for local markets; products are accessed via local sites. Used by companies with key regional market differences or marketing needs (e.g. trend-based or youth retailers). Hybrid Model Users select a language to view global content and a country to visit local sites and content. Content that applies to all businesses lives at global level (e.g. About Us). Used by companies with both global and regional products or marketing needs.
  35. 35. #UXPA2015 4. Reporting Insights • Avoid Scorecards – Insights = ideas, not numbers – Scorecard numbers punish or reward – Focus on generating discussion about design, not validating or disproving existing thinking – Even market leaders can improve – find the opportunities • Be a UX leader – Competitor hiring UX talent? – Competitor following your company’s lead? – Start-up hammering on your product’s weaknesses?
  36. 36. #UXPA2015 A few words of caution • Respect patents and copyrights – You want inspiration, not infringement – Ignoring competition doesn’t prevent infringement – be informed • Be prepared to deal with egos – Not Invented Here Syndrome – Gold Star Seekers – Good ideas can come from bad products/companies
  37. 37. #UXPA2015 Unique Value of Competitive Analysis to UX • Different focus than testing & expert reviews – More generative than evaluative • When new to an industry/product, a great way to learn a lot quickly – Industry – Jargon – Positioning of many companies / products – Users / customers
  38. 38. #UXPA2015 Competitive Analysis: Another Great Tool for UXers Consider your next re-design opportunity. Questions?
  39. 39. #UXPA2015#UXPAMN Twitter: @Lkantrov Email: LinkedIn: Lyle Kantrovich thank you