Competitive User Experience Intelligence: A Primer

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Analyzing your competition can be quite informative and motivating. Brands compare themselves based on strategies, market share, and feature sets, but what about the user experience? This presentation discusses the unique characteristics of competitive analysis from a UX perspective, ways to think about “the competition” beyond the obvious, and methods for competitive analysis. As a bonus, it also includes frameworks for going beyond basic usability comparisons, and common pitfalls to avoid.

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Competitive User Experience Intelligence: A Primer

  1. 1. Competitive UX Intelligence: A Primer Beverly Freeman bfreeman@ebay.com | @HungryBeverly UXPA 2013
  2. 2. “Nicely, please?”
  3. 3. Competitive UX Intelligence Why? Methods Frameworks Competition = ? Traps
  4. 4. Product lens
  5. 5. Strategy lens
  6. 6. Brand lens
  7. 7. UX lens abstract concrete user defined company defined STRATEGY BRAND PRODUCT UX
  8. 8. How the UX lens enriches the story PlotCharacters
  9. 9. Types of UX competitors [start] [end] upstream downstream direct companion analogous
  10. 10. Upstream competitor Someone or something that makes people choose not to use your product because of what they have to deal with before using your product [start] [end] upstream
  11. 11. Downstream competitor Someone or something that makes people choose not to use your product because of what they have to deal with after using your product [start] [end] downstream
  12. 12. Companion competitor Someone or something that makes people choose not to use your product because of what they have to deal with while using your product [start] [end] companion
  13. 13. Analogous competitor Someone or something in a different domain that provides inspiration for or impacts people’s expectations of your product [start] [end] analogous
  14. 14. Transparency
  15. 15. “Do it for me”
  16. 16. Interaction paradigms
  17. 17. Engagement in unexpected places
  18. 18. Types of UX competitors [start] [end] upstream downstream direct companion analogous
  19. 19. 3 sample methods light heavy Usability add-ons Mental model diagrams Competitive benchmarking
  20. 20. Usability add-ons Add tasks on competitor products to your existing studies • Cheap and easy! • Learn about the baggage and expectationsusers bring with them • “Free prototypes” means more learning from alternative approaches
  21. 21. Mental model diagramming Courtesy Vince Frantz, Sprokets Add a competitor layer to a visualization of users’ thoughts, feelings, and behaviors • Map competitorofferings to users’ mental spaces • Highlight opportunitiesfor integrations,partnerships, or acquisitions
  22. 22. Competitive benchmarking Compare yourself to the competition in an apples-to- apples manner • Effective wake-up call to decision makers • Blind studies + large samples = $$$
  23. 23. Us vs. the competition… based on what?
  24. 24. Usability metrics e.g. successrates, time on task, errors, satisfaction
  25. 25. The four elements of user experience “While usabilityis an important aspect of product design, it is certainly not the most critical when it comes to driving business success. There are many products that have good usability,but do not enjoy success in the marketplace.” -- Frank Guo
  26. 26. The Golden Circle “People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it. When a company clearly communicates their WHY, what they believe,and we believe what they believe,then we will sometimesgo to extraordinary lengths to include those products or brands in our lives.” -- Simon Sinek
  27. 27. Starting with the wrong goal “The real goal of competitive user experience research is to figure out how to creatively differentiateyour product from the competition - not just fix other people’smistakes.”
  28. 28. Not isolating the impact of the UX Competitor A Competitor B Competitor C Competitor D Pre-to-post lift Initial perception “How likely are you to use [product] in the future?” (Top2 box) Woohoo! Invest in marketing Invest in UX @#$%?!
  29. 29. Being too competitor-focused “Companies that study their competitorsin hopes of adding the features and benefits that will make their products ‘better’ are only working to entrench the companyin WHAT it does. Companies with a clear sense of WHY tend to ignore their competition, whereas those with a fuzzy sense of WHY are obsessed with what others are doing.”
  30. 30. In summary… • Your product doesn’t exist in a vacuum • The UX lens reveals interesting “competitors” • You may find an ally in your competitor’s upstream/downstream/companioncompetitors • Competitive UX research can be lightweight (and it can go beyond usability) • User-focused > competitor-focused
  31. 31. Thank you! (and “Nicely, please?”) bfreeman@ebay.com | @HungryBeverly

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