UX Audit vs Competitive Audit: Two of the most important aspects of the UX research process

Why do we need research in design? This is a question that begs to be answered. After all, UX is an art within the confines of science. In the following minutes, the reader would understand why research is the foundation of UX design.

So, what is UX research?

UX research is the study of identifying the needs and desires of a system’s or product’s end users, then utilizing those findings to improve the design process for products, services, and software.

To put it simply, “UX research means knowing your user.”

A breakdown of UX research methods:

A breakdown of the UX Research Methods
UX Research Methods by Marina Vorontsova

Now, let’s get to the point of this article:

Competitive Audit

Competitive auditing or analysis is a technique used by UX researchers to understand the competitors’ design solutions, features, functions, and processes. You can develop your solution strategically with the goals of creating a better product, improving user experience, and increasing business value.

UX Audit

A user experience audit is the process of reviewing an existing digital product to identify potential usability issues based on established heuristics, to ensure compliance with user experience, accessibility, and business standards.

Where do either of these come in?

An image delineating when to do a competitive audit or a UX audit
Photo by Joseph Brendan

Framework for Competitive audit

Frame work for competitive audit by Joseph Brendan

Read more on the framework for competitive audit by Joseph Brendan here

Framework for UX audit

UX audits adhere to heuristic guidelines, with Jacob Nielson’s Usability as the most commonly used heuristic method.

The steps are as follows:

  1. Define object of study
  2. Define goal of audit
  3. Define audit method(i.e the 10 Jacob Nielson’s Heuristics Usability)
  4. Introduce your audit method
  5. Outline your key maps/severity levels
  6. Create a summary table
  7. Starting the audit
  8. Add a competitive research

Read more on the framework for UX audit by Joseph Brendan here

In conclusion, UX audit is used for an existing product and competitive audit is utilized while creating a new product. However, both of these are crucial to the product research roadmap to help you determine how to better satisfy the needs of your users, as well as how to direct your company and product strategy.

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