The brand is created by vision, mission, and values that it represents – those
attributes are called brand essence. The fundamental values that represent the
personality of each brand and promises that are given to the user are called value
The brand has its fundamental values, vision, brand promise. It must interact with the
customer on different levels. The relationship between the brand and the user oscillates
between the digital and real world. The set of contact points which allow the client to
integrate with the brand (eg. e-commerce store, website, mobile app) are called Customer
Experience (CX). They help in building a positive emotional bond, and a loyal relation
between the user and the brand. The character of the brand in the digital world includes the interactions between the user and the website, e-mail communication, social media.
The last one is a very effective in building a positive relation with the user.
Standing out from the competition with UX
A very essential role in a brand success is standing out from the competitors not
only in the terms of offered products but the way the brand speaks to the user. UX helps
brands stand out from millions of competitors by playing on the emotions and senses of
the user. A positive User Experience (UX) affects a positive Customer Experience (CX),
what in the end translates into a positive Brand Experience (BX). A positive BX can lead
to many opportunities like brand development and huge profits.
SWOT in competition analysis
SWOT analysis is a traditional marketing method used in strategic business
planning for the purpose of specifying internal and external factors that could influence
the company’s goals. SWOT is divided into four main categories: strengths, weaknesses,
opportunities, and threats.
The first two factors are associated with the internal company resources as finances,
employees, copyright. They also allow the company to develop the strengths and alleviate
the weaknesses. The remaining two are tied to the external factors like demographics,
market trends or regulations. The traditional SWOT analysis is a foundation for the UX
The strengths can refer to a modern and easy to navigate website, weaknesses
to a not responsive on different devises design that in the end lead to poor user experience.
Finding a weak spot at a competitor gives an opportunity to level up the strengths in the
business and to make a better impression among the customers, however the competitors
strengths can become a real weakness on the opponents side of the business.
Traditional competitor analysis in the marketing field concentrates on adjusting
the marketing strategy to the vision of business development by defining the scope and
character of the industry, pointing out the direct and indirect competitors. Compering the
most essential components of the competitors may contribute to a better location, better
prices of goods, services, or comfort of use.
The UX analysis differs from the traditional analysis in terms of general user experience
and meeting the usability standard. The comparison itself is not just about comparing
websites and assessing the diversity of a design, but rather about how the site is used and
whether the user enjoys the interaction. It should be also taken into account a deeper user
interaction with the website, such as participation in the flow of information, filling out
forms, subscribing to newsletters, using chatbots. All these components contribute to the
usability of the website and the impressions associated with using it.
When analyzing a competitor, it may be tempting to directly copy the design and
functionality of a competitor’s website or their strategy. In fact, it is important to strive
for a unique UX, as not every solution that is advantageous for competition will also serve
a different brand.
A typical UX analysis of a competitor includes 2-4 competitors. More of them may
complicate the entire analytical process, which may lead into unreliable results.
- Direct competitors: with the same products, services, or users.
- Indirect competitors: with similar products, services but targeting different users.
The criteria used in UX competitor analysis vary depending on the brand and information
needed. A list of criteria that serves as the basis for any competition UX analysis
- Content – The site must be useful and structured to allow the user to find all the information in an easy way. It applies to arranging pages within the website, layout of the navigation menus, header naming.
- Aesthetics – The aesthetics must be consistent with the brand identity and at the same time be innovative and eye-catching.
- Heuristics- 10 Usability Heuristics for UI by Norman and Nielsen Group – it refersto the key aspects of usability that need to be included and completed during web design.
10 Heuristics developed by Nielsen
One of the methods to help determine which elements should be changed and tested from
the very beginning are the heuristics developed by Jakob Nielsen. They were defined in the 90s’,
so over the years and technological changes, not all of them are currentl y reflected, but it
is worth remembering what influenced the formation of good practices and good user
Visibility of system status.
The system should inform users of what is happening through appropriate feedback within a reasonable timeline.
Match between system and the real world.
The system should use the language and terminology familiar to the user: words, phrases and concepts known to the visitor, and not system messages. Avoiding technical jargon is recommended.
User control and freedom.
Users often make mistakes and will need a clearly marked way out. Supporting the user with the un-do and re-do function is one way of achieving this, along with methods of cancelling an operation.
Consistency and standards.
The user should not wonder if different phrases or actions mean the same thing. Following the same convention throughout the product is essential to not misguide the user – same style of CTA buttons, same style of expression throughout the site.
Better than a good error message is a neat design that prevents the problem from occurring in the first place. Eliminating error-prone conditions is beneficial.
Recognition rather than recall.
To maximize usability, reducing the load on memory and recall. Avoiding hiding important actions behind menus, and instead present options in a prominent way so users don’t have to remember where they are.
Flexibility and efficiency of use.
Accelerators – invisible to novice users, they can speed up the interaction in the case of an expert, so that the system can satisfy both inexperienced and experienced recipients. Accommodating both novice and advanced users.
Aesthetic and minimalist design.
Avoiding overwhelming the user by displaying unnecessary and irrelevant information. Keeping screens and dialogues focused and minimal to maximize visibility and clarity.
Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors.
Error messages should be explained in simple, plain language, pinpoint the problem accurately, and constructively propose a solution.
Help and documentation.
Even if the system itself can be used without instruction, it may be necessary to provide help and documentation. Not making users struggle to find help, and where possible presenting the information contextually as needed, in plain, clear language.
These principles go a bit beyond the user experience by entering the world of user interface.
This is what reality is, neither does UX work without UI, nor vice versa. These two areas
complement each other.
One of the factors that may disrupt the results of UX analysis is delegating it to an
inexperienced person that does not know the brand or market. More than one person to
conduct the evaluation allows to consider different points of view and avoid biased
outcomes. It is also worth considering that the industries are developing their brands
constantly and improving their products and services, they come up with newer and newer
ways to promote themselves, starting another advertising campaign and so on. Competitor
UX analysis should be conducted on a regular basis to gather most up-to-date information.
Creating an emotional bond with the user
Building a relationship with the user creates a set of positive emotions. The
purpose of building relationships on an emotional level is to create the right mood and
emotion. This is because both positive and negative emotions inform of what the
surrounding situation looks like. If user suffers negative emotions, the situation is usually
not right and needs to be changed.
The visitor focuses on the causes and sources of this
undesirable state and tries to eliminate them. In the case of a positive mood, a person feels
that the situation is safe and does not need to change anything. Depending on the mood,
a visitor also makes judgments of his surroundings. In the case of feeling positive
emotions, people are willing to judge reality better, while experiencing negative
emotions, give worse ratings. In business, this fact does not go unnoticed and taking care
of creating a positive emotion and pleasant mood during communication is obligatory.
The user as a human must be able to relate with another person, brand or
technology on an equal footing to establish an emotional relationship. Through the right
design, companies can control how the user perceives the brand and establish an
emotional relationship with it.
The mapping of human personality characteristics in the digital space is used to
construct a digital personality with which the user can form a personal relationship. The
content is often an ignored element, which makes the user bored or irritated while using
the website. Content is seen as a secondary element to the overall design and character of
the project. This is one of the main factors that negatively affect the emotional bond with
The website must be structured in a way to facilitate the search of information and
it must have substantive value and contribute something positive to the user’s journey
through the page. Providing useful and valuable content to which the access is quite
default irritates the user. The user must have clearly defined what he must do to proceed
to the next step. The content must be valuable, but also its tone should suit the user. If the
targeted user is between 18-30, the content should be informal and humorous in order to
maintain a meaningful emotional bond. The way the content is written determines the
personality of the website and gives it humanity, thus enhancing emotional reactions.
Personalization in communicating with the user is indispensable, and an individual
approach is a great opportunity to establish a conversation with the user and develop an
Predicting user’s behavior
Design anticipating the user’s behavior focuses on the use of business logic
comparing with the previous user behavior on the website. Cognitive load is a
psychological term that describes the mental effort an individual has to go through in
order to complete a certain task. If the functionality and design of a website does not
reduce the cognitive load, it means that the user was not provided with an accessible and
pleasant UX. The auto-complete function in search engines uses business logic to provide
the user with available options in an appropriate context and forecasts the user’s future
searches based on previous ones. Geolocation is used to check the user’s location based
on the IP address and data in the GPS of the mobile device, it allows to provide content
corresponding to his location, such as a list of restaurants, events or any other information
the user is looking for at the moment.