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A Competitive Analysis in typically gets performed during the concept stage when designing a new website or during a re-design of the current website.

How Do We Conduct a Competitive Analysis?

Because a Competitive Analysis is a methodology for conducting research and gathering data, we need to have a plan for conducting the study as well as gathering and reporting the data.

1) Objectives for Analysis

The first thing to consider, is what are our objectives for conducting a competitive analysis.

Some objectives may be to:

  1. Gather data to inform our redesign decisions
  2. Identify frustrations users might face
  3. Identify common elements to adopt or discard

2) Questions to be Answered by Analysis

Most research is lead by a desire to answer a question or test a hypothesis.

Example: Research Plan: Understanding the Effect of “Writing for the Web” on Comprehension and Retention Rates | Mike Sinkula

Some questions that you may seek answers for may be:

  1. How fast do pages load?
  2. What is the message they are conveying?
  3. What is the overall feel?
  4. Do they have the appropriate features? What are they?

3) Assesment Criteria of Analysis

The second thing to we need to consider is what assessment criteria is this study going to concentrate on.

Some assessment criteria we might concentrate on might be:

  1. Labels & Taxonomy
  2. Visuals (photos, graphics)
  3. Features & Functionality
  4. Ratings (User Feedback)
  5. Usability Evaluation
Competitive Analysis Inventory

Competitive Analysis Inventory

 4) Findings & Results of the Analysis

Once we have figured out the direction of the study, we need to conduct the study and report our findings in a clear manner.

According to , “The results section is not for interpreting the results in any way; that belongs strictly in the discussion section. You should aim to narrate your findings without trying to interpret or evaluate them, other than to provide a link to the discussion section.”

See Also: Writing a Results Section | Explorable

For a Competitive Analysis, you may use screenshots to aid you in discussing your findings.

Example: Project Plan for Doebay.com Website Redesign (pp.7-14) | Rebecca Destello

5) Recommendations

Once you and your team have presented your findings, you may or may not need to create a list of recommendations.

Example: Design Recommendations for SugarSync | Mike Sinkula, Christina Ntouniaoglou, Shubha Sastry, Ruby Kuo & Jake Sparling

 

This portion of the Premium Design Works website is written by Mike Sinkula for the Web Design & Development students at Seattle Central College and the Human Centered Design & Engineering students at the University of Washington.

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