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Ultimate guide to UX competitor analysis + FREE template


1 September, 2022

Marilyn Wilkinson
Marilyn Wilkinson
ux competitor analysis

A UX competitor analysis is one of the best ways to gain deeper insight into your industry, product, and business. Done right, a UX competitor analysis will:

  • Give you a better understanding of the competitive landscape.

  • Provide actionable insights to guide your product strategy.

  • Help you come up with new ideas on how to optimize your app and keep your customers happy.

52% of users say that a bad mobile experience makes them less likely to engage with a brand. These days, users are spoilt for choice — so, you probably don’t need us to tell you that a seamless user experience is an essential part of business success. But do you know for sure how your app stacks up to the competition?

Here's a quick summary just before you jump in.

How to do a UX Competitor Analysis

  1. Set goals and priorities

  2. Identify your competitors

  3. Prepare your test devices

  4. Test key user journeys

  5. Conduct a SWOT analysis

  6. Share your findings

Read on to know how to perform a UX competitor analysis and grab your FREE copy of our UX competitive analysis template!

What Is a UX Competitor Analysis?

A UX competitor analysis gives you a complete overview of the products, features, and user journeys of your competitors.

For example, let’s say you work for an e-commerce app. You might focus on the main user workflows, like newsletter sign-ups and checkout features like easy re-order or next-day delivery, and special promotions like a free gift when you download the app and place your first order.

Ultimately, the content of the analysis depends on your needs. But the purpose remains the same. By comparing your app with others in your industry, you can identify their respective strengths and weaknesses, see who meets customer needs best and uncover gaps where you need to improve.

How to do mobile app ux competitor research - inline image

Why Do a UX Competitive Analysis?

To put it bluntly, we live in a fast-paced world where new competitors pop up all the time — possibly with hot new features ready to tempt your users away. Figuring out how rival companies meet the customer needs of similar target audiences will give you a ton of insights. But there are many more reasons why it’s beneficial to perform a UX competitor analysis:

  1. To help guide business and product strategy

  2. To solve usability issues

  3. To inform the design process

  4. To understand the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors

  5. To gain a better understanding of your industry

  6. To recognize how to meet user needs better

  7. To set priorities in your A/B testing and optimization strategy

Are There Any Limitations to a Competitor Analysis?

A competitive analysis is a valuable exercise, but carrying out an analysis on your own app and your competitors’ apps won’t solve all your UX and UI issues.

The main limitation is the lack of competitor data available. A UX analysis will give you a solid understanding of the design, features and overall user experience. But it won’t give you specifics like how many users your competitor has, how they engage with the app, and how often. You can speculate, of course — but you won’t have access to competitor data to know for sure.

What Tools Do You Need To Do a UX Competitor Analysis?

Understanding user behavior will help you ask the right questions and set the right priorities — this is where an analytics tool like UXCam comes in, which provides qualitative data instead of just basic numbers like Google Analytics.

If you are using UXCam to monitor your app performance, you will already have a good idea of your own pain points and areas to be improved on. UXCam records all mobile app sessions and captures user gestures, making it possible to identify and investigate UX issues like crashed sessions, rage taps and UI freezes. This information is a helpful basis for a competitor analysis.

That said, you don’t need any specific software to test different apps and compare yourself to the competition.

UXCam heatmap feature hotjar mobile heatmap

How To Do an App UX Competitor Analysis

Let’s go through the process step-by-step, so you know how to approach a UX customer analysis from start to finish.

Set goals and priorities

Every great analysis starts with setting the right objectives and asking the right questions. What are you hoping to achieve? What insights do you need for your overall business and product strategy? Being clear from the start will avoid any confusion later on.

Identify your competitors

Create a shortlist of your main competitors — three to five is enough. Avoid choosing too many. Otherwise, the analysis may become too complex and confusing to produce any concrete results. If there are not so many direct competitors in your space, you can choose indirect competitors to get inspired by their design and user journey. Alternatively, you can simply analyze a lower number of competitor apps.

Prepare your test devices

Install the apps on your test device. To be extra thorough, you may want to test the apps on several devices, including an Apple iPhone, Android smartphone and a tablet. You might also want to check how the apps are working on Wi-Fi compared to mobile internet. Fancy graphics might be great when using a high-speed connection in your office but slow and painful when out and about.

Test key user journeys

What information do you want to include? Your analytical framework will make or break your analysis, so take your time with this part of the process to ensure that you collect all of the data needed. Check out our UX competitor analysis template here for an easy-to-follow guide.

Typically, a UX analysis will cover the key features and user flows of the apps, with a focus on onboarding, overall usability and relevance.

A user’s first impression has a direct impact on usage and retention. The onboarding process — or lack of one — is an important part of your analysis.

For a rideshare app, you might want to check relevant user journeys such as:

  • Entering your location

  • Permission requests to track your location

  • Changing the payment method

  • Taking the same trip again

  • Asking the driver a question

Conduct a SWOT analysis

Once you have gone through the individual features and processes, you need to bring it all together. Conduct a SWOT analysis covering the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of all the apps included in your analysis.

Share your findings

Finished your analysis? Great! Now, it’s time to make sure relevant stakeholders have access to the valuable insights you have found. Put together a presentation of the findings and ensure decision-makers in the senior management, product, development, and marketing teams have access to them. At the end of the day, a UX competitor analysis will only drive business value if you make changes based on the outcome.

UX Competitor Analysis Template - inline image

Common UX Competitor Analysis Pitfalls

Losing Focus

Testing and optimizing your own app is a never-ending story, as there are always more hypotheses to be made and more data to be tested. This is especially true when you are auditing your own app and five others! However, do try to avoid falling down the rabbit hole. Ultimately, the goal is to produce actionable insights — so try to stay on track.

Failing to Eliminate Bias

If Competitor X has a really cool brand and great marketing, you may be expecting their user experience to be astounding as well. Or, you might have preconceptions based on how your app measures up to the others. Try to stay neutral and analyze all of the apps with fresh eyes, as if you were a customer using them for the first time.

All Insights, No Action

Have you spent hours testing competitor apps and going through the data? That’s great, but make sure the product and development teams are aligned and can start optimizing based on your findings.

Ready To Start Your Own UX Competitor Analysis?

We’ve put together a FREE template that makes it easy to get started with your analysis. Our handy template guides you through a two-step process that starts off with onboarding, usability, and relevance. Then, you can dive into the key features, and user flows for your industry — e-commerce, rideshare, food delivery, and banking are all ready to go.

Download the template now to get started with your analysis right away.

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Marilyn Wilkinson
Marilyn Wilkinson

Marilyn Wilkinson is a digital marketing strategist and copywriter who works with a number of B2B tech and SaaS brands, including UXCam. She is passionate about awesome user experience, great content, hiking through the mountains and drinking too much coffee.

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