Competitive Analysis

Goal: Perform a comparative analysis of the Annuities main page.

Overview:

  • I included 10 leading companies who offer Annuities. 
  • Only direct competitors were included for this project. Indirect competitors were not included.
  • Both big and small competitors were included.
  • If USAA customers could meet this needs at another company, the business was included in the analysis.

What we wanted to learn:

  • How are competitors addressing value propositions and features?
  • Which call to actions are most used?
  • How are they presenting information?
  • Which methods competitors were using for contacting a representative?
  • How are competitors addressing value propositions and features?
  • What type of tools and resources do they provide members with?
  • How do competitors compare different types of annuities products?
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A competitive analysis is the process of categorizing and evaluating your competitors strengths, weakness, patterns and risks in comparison to your own. Performing a competitive analysis is one of the earliest research steps in the UX design process. You can uncover a lot of information about how your site’s UX performance compares to the competition.

In this case study, I will be describing a competitive analysis I performed a competitive analysis of the USAA Annuities Main page to provide strategic insights into the features, functions, flows, and feelings evoked by the design solutions of our competitors. 

By understanding these facets of competitors’ products, we could strategically design our solution with the goal of making a superior product and/or experience.

While performing the comparative analysis, I had to make sure we aligned on the definition of the term and where it stands among the line of products we have. Also, bringing multidisciplinary teams on the same page, getting everyone’s opinion and having everyone on board was important to me.

So, I created a map of all the products we had to establish the definition of where and under what umbrella will the product and the page we will be designing reside.

Creating a page structure was important to understand how our app and the website actually worked from the user’s perspective, and I needed to organize that information into a readable, legible format.

There were two major requirements I needed to consider for actually constructing this structure: organizing it through a visual hierarchy (that is, a hierarchy of features, functions, and behavior) and creating a legend for displaying different types of features, interactions, and flows. In other words, the most important factors to building this structure were where individual components of the architecture are placed (hierarchically), and how they’re labeled and displayed.

For our product to succeed, it must be helpful, practical, and easy to navigate. So I decided to conduct a user experience audit—an in-depth, data-driven assessment of the experience our app and website provides to users. This helped me evaluate our product methodically, so we could find new ways to improve it. Since our goal was to redesign this page, I kept my analysis limited to the website and mobile page of our product. 

Themes, CTAs (call to action), links to resources, user education and comparison between the website and mobile page was done to get an updated idea about the existing features, education, options and experience our website and mobile site was providing our users. 

Once the main competitors had been identified by the team, I conducted a heuristic evaluation of the competitor’s end-to-end user experience. I had to keep in mind our product’s goals, how we want users to feel about using our product, and why users would prefer using our product over the competitors. 

Here are some common user experiences that I was able to evaluate:

  • Sign up & Login
  • Ease of account creation
  • Initiating the main task
  • Performing the main task
  • Successful completion of the main task

Some of my analysis showed up themes and similar patterns while educating the users. Here are few of these: 

  • Top of the page
  • Benefits
  • Methods of contacting a representative
  • Email Subscriptions
  • Calculator tools
  • Additional resources and education tools
  • Financial ratings
  • Company Value Prop
  • Predetermined scenarios
  • Legal Disclosures
  • FAQs
  • Product Comparison
  • Bottom of the page
  • Mobile Experience
  • CTA Analysis – (eg. primary CTA or placement of CTA)
  • Understanding common trends
  • Recommendations 

A CTA Analysis was done to understand what call to actions our competitors were emphasizing, their placement, the number of CTAs on the page, the first and the last CTA of the page and what was the most important action the competitor wanted the user to perform.

Prior to proposing our recommendations I wanted to share my recommendations to the design team. The recommendations that I proposed to the design team were as below.  

  • Presenting information, benefits, pre determined scenarios and a value prop for users to read through and allow them to make an educated decision.
  • It would be helpful to perform Glassbox analysis and click rates/user interactions with the elements on the current page to understand what content members are responding to and engaging with (CTAs, Videos, Content engagement).
  • Recommend to highlight the phone number and/or contact representative and/or CTA for digital acquisition in the closing banner to reinforce the idea of the user taking action to 1 step further in to the acquisition funnel. 
  • Adding in photos could improve the visual interest of the page while also giving the member a feeling of connection to the brand and marketing. 
  • Recommend on adding in calculator Lins at the hub level to help members with additional resources further up in the funnel. 
  • In past workshops, we have had mentions about exposing the opportunity of having our members subscribe to email subscriptions. 
  • If possible be legal, we recommend to display disclosures in a alternate way (eg. Modal) if the legal discourse needs to be in close proximity to the banner. 
  • Recommend building trust in the members by adding personal CTAs and providing representative based on the members zip code and have the ability to contact the same representative (eg. Meet with your advisor).

Conclusion

  • A competitive analysis allows you to leverage your findings to differentiate your solution from the competition. 
  • Understanding the landscape of competitors not only helps inform your design decisions but it also helps inform the overall product strategy. 
  • A UX competitive analysis uncovers valuable opportunities to create a superior product and stand out from the competition.