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One type of research in UX is competitive analysis. The way I define this is visiting related web sites (competitors), visiting unrelated sites that are inspiring or solve a problem differently... and so on.

My question is, how do you organize this information and present it so that you can come up with a thorough analysis of what a competitor's strong areas, gaps, etc. Most of this work is also highly interactive and visual - so I'm wondering how this could be "collected" or analyzed later as far as the approach that several sites seem to be taking and that might be something to consider in the actual site being designed.

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Not sure, but that's a good question. I'd like to know. –  Myrddin Emrys Apr 24 '12 at 17:40
    
Maybe this can partly answer your question: ux.stackexchange.com/questions/17102/… –  greenforest Apr 24 '12 at 18:55
    
@user12999 it doesn't unfortunately, I did look at this question previously but it just doesn't address the core issue of what's the best way to analyze interactions, visual data and make sense of this in a final presentation. Good post nonetheless - but not exactly what I'm looking for. –  firedrawndagger Apr 25 '12 at 0:00
    
I am not sure that competitive analysis is UX research per se. However, conducting user experience research for a lot of different websites and comparing the results might provide additional insight for your design decision making process. However, without understanding the context/rationale applied to competitor websites is a risk you need to factor in when interpreting the results. –  Michael Lai Jun 12 at 6:23

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I would create a document, whatever format is up to you -- whether that be slideshow, word document, PDF -- and organize your content inside of it.

I would say that as far as recording the interactive pieces goes you have a couple of options. Screenshots transformed into flow/interaction diagrams, or recorded video of you walking through the website and its functionality using a program such as SnagIt.

The flow/interaction diagrams can just be as simple as screenshots where you connect a button from the first screenshot to the next screenshot either visually (highlighted button, arrow pointing to screenshot) or verbally.

As far as organizing the overall document, I think it would depend on your analysis. I see mainly two types of groupings for this type of work: either grouping by functionality, or grouping by competitor. So say if you have analysis of a button hover event, you could either include that with all the other information from one of the competitors, or you could group it with all the other examples of button hover behaviors.

So long as the document feels like it flows nicely, you should be good as most of the detail in organization is subjective anyhow.

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That's a good point, I especially like the idea of grouping by functionality a good way to escape the bias of just copying whatever your competition is doing. –  firedrawndagger Apr 24 '12 at 18:48

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