Competitive analysis is a research method that assesses the strengths and weaknesses of current and potential competitors. Competitive analysis can help you better understand your market, product, and goals by providing strategic insights into your competitors' features, functions, and flows. Understanding these insights enables you to design a better product experience. It is one of the earliest research steps in the UX design process, often completed before starting a new project.
To start, create a short list of comparison criteria. Are you analyzing a particular feature set, ease of use, navigation, speed, or performance? Keep your criteria focused on guiding your research, knowing it will evolve.
Next, identify your competitors. You want to identify 3-5 direct and 3-5 indirect competitors.
Direct competitors are companies doing what you do already. They offer the same product your service as you do, and you likely share or compete for the same customers.
Indirect competitors offer something similar to what you provide, but their feature set is smaller or larger, and their customer base only aligns partially with yours.
Use SWOT to distill the results of your competitive analysis.
SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Using the results of your competitive analysis, categorize your findings based on strengths (what you do well), weaknesses (what could you improve), opportunities (where are the product or market gaps), and threats (what is your competition doing better than you).