Studying other people’s websites
Studying the websites of your competitors is an
under-utilised resource, as the usability guru Steve Krug - external link 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 - external link;
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 - external link, eBay - external link and Dell - external link that get most of their revenue from the Web. Examples closer to home would be Kalahari - external link, Yuppie Chef - external link and Netflorist - external link.
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.