Tips for Successful Research and Analysis.

This is an article by a designer, but his description of the research process is universal. I follow a very similar one when creating wireframes for A/B tests.

If you’ve ever had to come up with a new feature or page for the site or app, you’ve likely had someone say to you something like…

“Here’s what [the market leader] does; let’s just do that.”

…which saved you a ton of time and effort, because you were able just to copy that, skin it for your brand, and call it a day, right?

Well no, of course not. While there are benefits to looking at how competitors solve a problem, and there are probably conventions that should be followed based on user expectations, there are some significant problems with just copying someone else’s solution wholesale — for starters:

You don’t know why the competitor built a feature the way they did, or how it’s performing for their users.
You’re assuming that your users’ needs are identical, and that context doesn’t matter.

Here’s a simple process described in more detail in the article:

– Uncover the user problem
– Define the competition
– Conduct the research
– Put all the findings in one place
– Proceed based on what you need to do

A Designer’s Guide to Competitor Research