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I'm being asked to do a "competitive analysis" for a university website that has communications and brand guidelines/resources. This is meant at as a solo project done in a few days, I don't have many resources at hand at the moment so user testing is out of the question.

The request was very broad and I was thinking of comparing our toolkit against other university's brand toolkits. Taking an initial look, the information architecture & site map could use some work...

What are some UX approaches/considerations I should take into account when reviewing our website and comparing it against other universities?

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You should probably consider design heuristics if you're looking at the website from a usability perspective:

Nielsen

Gerhardt-Powels

This Wikipedia article will give you a nice overview of Usability Heuristics:

Wikipedia

You could compare how each website meets usability heuristics, then perhaps complete a feature/content analysis. You could also consider researching the motivations of users (Students, Perspective students, Staff, Researchers, Potential employees etc) and maybe look at a user task matrix and see how each site meets the user needs. These are only suggestions, there are many more ways to analyse and compare webpages.

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