Studying other people’s websites

Studying the websites of your competitors is an under-utilised resource, as the usability guru Steve Krug puts it. It’s an easy and cost-effective way to get excellent feedback and input for your own strategy before you build anything.

Think about it: those websites have already been built to solve similar problems – examples of other designers’ best attempts at creating a solution. And it needn’t be a competitor – it could be any website with similar functionality that you are planning. As Jared Spool from UIE says in his article Taking Time to Tour; Another place we could look are to sites that have to be good to survive – sites where a bad design will kill the business. He suggests studying companies like as Amazon, eBay and Dell that get most of their revenue from the Web. Examples closer to home would be Kalahari, Yuppie Chef and Netflorist.

What you can learn from benchmarking

By studying other websites you can:

  • Confirm your strategy
  • Look for alternative solutions to problems you’ve already come up with
  • Come up with innovative ideas to improve on what’s out there
  • Compare content ideas and labelling – see what others call their pages and menu items. For good usability, consistency on the Web is very important

Benchmarking can be more than a find-and-compare exercise, you could also conduct usability tests on other people’s websites to see how they fare.

Let us help you with a benchmarking exercise.

Contact us to find out more