/ by Natashia Tjandra

By knowing who is using your competitors’ products, how much they use them, and what they use them for, you can avoid your competitors’ mistakes and capitalize on their strengths.

Mike Kuniavsky “Universal Tools: Recruiting and Interviewing.” Observing the user experience: a practitioner’s guide to user research. (p.441)

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That’s a great strategy and advice the author wrote. It’s something that all of us should remember. Competitive analysis goes hand in hand with research, it’s part of research in fact. The information we learnt, value adds the data collected from research and is useful.

Having said that, however from doing all the research and readings in “Observing the user…,” I realized how the design choices, app functions, even right down to the gestures; is highly dependent on your research findings.

I have a very difficult time reconciling this, with (perhaps) my grand illusions of the role of a designer. Sure, our primary job as designers is to make something that sells. In app design, there’s almost a set “template” or very strict rules of what we can or can’t do in designing functionality and visual looks. There’s so much science that I’d never associate to the profession of design, specifically interaction/UX designer. 

The problem I think stems from the fact that everything that is created in the Internet age/digital form, is in beta. The flexibility of these apps to be updated or changed is higher than something in printed form. As someone who’s been doing print and in advertising, where everything you produce is in its finished form (a print ad or a book), I’m finding it hard to accept this. Perhaps the changing design environment, demands the change in designers’ mindsets, to keep up with the changing behaviors of our target audience. Perhaps there isn’t anything wrong with designing to cater to the research findings.