What is Competitive Analysis?
A competitive analysis (sometimes also called compartive analysis or benchmarking) is the process of analyzing products which are similar to, or compete with, the product you are designing in order to generate ideas.
Try using similar services or products in order to find out:
- Current trends in the marketplace
- What expectations your users will have
- What to do, what not to do
- Interface conventions
- "Must have" standard features
Sometimes it can even be helpful to have your users test comparable products they currently use or could potentially use in order to understand how these products succeed in or fail to help users achieve their goals.
More on Comparative analysis:
Boxes and Arrows, Competitive Analysis: Understanding the Market Context
IBM: How to conduct a website competitive analysis