EX04 - Competitor research

Ignorance isn’t bliss in product design

Awareness of a competitor’s strengths and weaknesses is crucial for your product and ambitions.

Updated April 08, 2020

Part of being a professional modern designer is working through your inadequacies. Strengths and weaknesses be damned – you’ll work on projects that feel entirely over your head.

Often this has little to do with your actual skill. Instead, the issue is rooted in the domain of the work. Whatever your background is in, there will be a project that feels like it is out of left-field, and it will land in your lap.

Since quitting isn’t a very productive option, the next logical thing to do some research.

There are very few things in the world that are entirely novel. That means that virtually every product has a competitor or competitors that do something similar.

In the attached resources, you’ll uncover the methods needed to kick off your research of virtually any concept with the rigor required to study a competitor effectively.

Resources for review

Please use the following items to guide your exercise attempt:

Article Source/Author
Know the competition New Pragmatic
Conducting competitive research O'Reilly


Length: Two-to-three hours to complete.

Using the information provided in the previous exercise, you’ll first generate a list of 5-10 likely competitors of your client, Active Weekends. Narrow your list to four organizations that either are direct competitors to your client or companies that are successful in adjacent industries.

Using the Competitive Matrix provided, complete the fields provided for each company. When finished with your initial research on each company, write a paragraph for each company. Highlight only the most essential information that you would share if given one minute to present your work to the client.

Stretch goal: The Competitive Matrix provided includes a section for Heuristic Testing. While this is an activity focused on interface design, it is a research activity that could generate additional discoveries that will influence your work. If you aren't in a rush, I would suggest spending the time to run Heuristic Testing on the competitor sites you are studying.


Once complete, update your Program Journal with links to any assets produced in this exercise. Post your Journal in the #Feedback-Loop channel for review.


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