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Competitive Analysis

Overview

When I joined the Sluff team, development of the MVP was well underway, and a primary focus of the company was to get funding from investors. I conducted a competitive analysis to confirm and demonstrate that we were in fact solving a user problem in a way that added value above and beyond what competitors were offering. This involved an extensive feature analysis to understand where (if anywhere) we were differentiating ourselves from competitors, and synthesizing that information for a quick pitch.

Process

Step 1:

Find competitors that people were using to perform the overall function of what Sluff offers–facilitating group activities.

Step 2:

Evaluate the competitors for user-base, reviews, business model, and market share, answering the question of "who do we really have to worry about?" and "what are they doing well and where are they falling short?"

Step 3:

Perform a feature analysis, prioritizing what we thought were our primary differentiators, to understand who was offering what and if we were indeed providing a competitive edge.

Step 4:

Synthesize results for impact. With the analysis done, we now had proof that there is room for improvement in the problem space and that we offer a product that can provide some of those solutions. We were also able to show that our business model provides a unique advantage in terms of scaling.

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Reflections

This was my first UX research internship, and I learned two valuable lessons from it:

1) Company size and culture around research will affect the research process–as a UXR, I want to perform the highest quality research possible, but business goals and demands can shift priorities, and it is my job to adapt accordingly to do the best work I can within constraints (and to keep track of the constraints and what it means for validity of the research). Ideally I would have generated a data-driven persona to validate our assumptions around who our users would be and what their needs and pain-points are before development. User research had taken place before I got there, but I would have preferred a higher degree of validation before moving forward.

2) It is always my responsibility as a UX researcher to advocate for sound research practices and call-out shortcomings in result validity.

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