You’re already subscribed to Design Shack and UX Booth. You’ve read Usability Geek’s How To Do A UX Competitor Analysis: A Step By Step Guide. And Matt Isherwood’s Competitor Analysis. You’re building your designs around actual user research. But you need more information. You need to know how your competitors stack up to your UX. Where do you stand? Are you missing out on opportunities in your industry? If you’re doing competitive analysis you’re already on the right track. Here are 5 tips to give you a little boost.

Always go back to your user research

You spent all this time (and resources!) putting together journey maps and user personas, why would you just toss it out the window because you found a feature that you like? Remember: at the end of the day, UX is about solving problems and building an experience for the user. What’s right for [Apple/Google/other] might not be right for you.

Don’t be afraid to analyze other industries

To that point, what is right for anothermay be right for you. That’s why we do competitive analysis and benchmarking. We want to see how we measure up to other companies in terms of usability. With that said, don’t forget that a user = a user = a user. Of course different industries will have different needs, you could find an inspiring solution to a problem in your industry be looking at how someone else has solved it. Is your B2B tech software highly customizable? Could you find solutions from a B2C automotive site? Why not?

Categorize your findings with standards

It’s easy to measure things like Cost per Lead or Click Through Rate, but how do you measure the things that you like about other sites?The Nielsen Norman Group has some great suggestions on quality metrics including success rate, time to complete the task, and error rate. But don’t shy away from more qualitative metrics. Your team can get a lot out of in-house evaluation on a 1-7 scale. Just be sure that you’re measuring using the same yardstick.

Know/explore your limits

In comparing the usability of your site to other sites, you have to be clear about the data that you can actually glean from a UX competitive analysis. There is some information that is simply not available. This kind of information would include everything from the why of your competitor (Why did they include this/that feature?) to the specific information about traffic (to evaluate if a specific call-to-action is getting the desired conversion). Building a site that works for your user is important. You have to keep testing. And while you won’t necessarily know what is working for your competitor, you can deduce that if it’s been on their site for a while, it’s working.

Dedicate sufficient time

Competitive analysis can be super time consuming. Especially if you don’t have tools that will automate parts of the process for you. Taking screenshots and compiling them into a collection of meaning observations for your team could take anywhere from a few days to a few months. It just depends on how thorough the audit is.