How to research and learn from your competitors to find your right opportunities and build a killer experience for your users

From identifying problems and possible solutions to defining market opportunities and how to structure your overall strategy, competitive analysis is one of the first tools user experience researchers need to master. It is widely suggested to perform competitive analysis after having defined a rough problem statement, in order to identify more clearly things like problem space and ideal competitors. There are pretty extensive guides online focusing on how to write an effective problem statement and why it’s important for your design process. If you’re unfamiliar with the topic, this blog article offers comprehensive explanation and guidelines:


How archetypical interactions, usability testing, and user onboarding can help to build better products.

Two pink boxing gloves shaped as human brains.
Two pink boxing gloves shaped as human brains.
Photo by Morning Brew on Unsplash

User experience research implies an interdisciplinary synergy between psychological and neuroscientific competences and mathematical and statistical mindsets. This holistic approach represents the ideal toolkit that every UX researcher should have and master in order not to fall into unconscious biases as much as he or she can. In other words, interdisciplinarity is a prerequisite to save researchers from themselves.

I like to picture user experience research as a swing that is only pushed once when the research starts, and it never stops oscillating during the entire product life-cycle. The swing moves back and forth between tangible data points and observational findings. By nature, it strives to find a steady state, but the researcher sitting on it keeps pushing with legs and feet to get more and more information. …


Ideas for a hypothetical new feature for the app Ada Health.

In the following post I’m showing you the results of a mixed methods research that allowed me to collect and analyse both quantitative and qualitative data for a hypothetical new feature to integrate in the app Ada Health. This experiment is part of my professional journey to develop product and UX research competences, focusing in particular on companies that strive to make an impact on people’s lives through technology and innovation. I chose Ada Health because it is a company whose vision and mission I particularly resonate with.

The image shows three screens welcoming and onboarding the user.
The image shows three screens welcoming and onboarding the user.
Three of the first screens the user interacts with when using Ada Health for the first time.

The company.

“Ada Health provides a personal health companion app that uses AI and machine learning to help people to understand and manage their health. Developed by doctors and scientists, the app knows thousands of symptoms and conditions, from a common cold to rare diseases. The Company builds a detailed picture of a person’s personal health over time. At its core lies a medical reasoning engine that also supports doctors by providing earlier health information and informing clinical decision making.” …


Practical tips for how to test a brand campaign before launching it and measure its potential success

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Photo by Charles 🇵🇭 on Unsplash

In the era of performance-based advertising, the biggest concern when it comes to start a brand campaign, as well as the branding or re-branding of a company, is how to measure their success. The reason behind this concern is to be traced in the seemingly intangible nature of brands. The consequence — understandably — is that no one is willing to invest time and money in an effort that won’t show clear results in terms of Return on Investment (ROI).

That said, there are dozens of ways to plan and execute a brand campaign for different channels and through the use of different types of media — the Internet is full of them and a rapid search on Google will provide you with tons of examples —, but there’s only a bunch of tools and practical tips that can help you track its performances with a certain accuracy, just by using your laptop. …


Why user experience matters to marketing once more

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Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash

In 2013, the German duo behind the name CHUNDERKSEN — film-makers and communication designers based in Hamburg and Essen — launched an interesting project called Conserve the Sound: an online collection of “vanishing and endangered sounds” from the 20th Century.

Aiming to preserve every possible clicking noise and imperceptible rustle from 1910s postal scales, going through typewriters, hand-held cameras, electric shavers, and so on—name it and I’m sure you’ll find it there — Conserve the Sound is for all intents and purposes a museum.

Browsing this wunderkammer of pictures and sounds, my sensory memory got easily triggered and I couldn’t help but recall the feeling of touching and smelling those objects, even though I never used, nor saw, most of them in real life. But that’s how brains work sometimes: they suspect the smell of those wooden cases or the touch of a plastic key of an old typewriter. …


Repeat after me: It’s not about me, it’s not about me…

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Photo by Karim MANJRA on Unsplash

It was the late Seventies, when the word resilience started making its first steps in the psychological debate to understand and explain people’s adaptation abilities and processes to cope with adversities.

Over the decades, the concept of resilience became popular in other fields, such as ecology — especially when it comes to Anthropocene and climate change — and it managed to carve out a special place for itself in the technology debate, thus becoming of interest for business development.

Everyone — probably right now, in your workplace too — is talking about building resilience, and organisations started investing more and more time and money to teach their employees how to face adversity, how to manage stress and deal with challenges, in order not to burn down. …


And why it should be the first thing you do for your customer

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Photo by Alexander Andrews on Unsplash

In the previous post, I mentioned the idea of how shifting the attention from transactions to relationships would help marketing teams in delivering value both to the customers and the company. I’m sure it is nothing new for many of you, but I understand that others may find this transition pointless, complicated, and ultimately discouraging. That’s why I suggested to start small by making the hierarchy of roles and responsibilities in Marketing more flat and open, and by replacing a certain waterfall approach with a more collaborative flow of work, the planning of which could involve the entire team.

Changing abruptly is never a good idea. So, instead of knocking this new approach over the heads of your coworkers, you’ll have to start small. For instance, it’s better to be careful with branded terms, like “agile”, “lean”, or “kanban.” After all, no one likes to be taught from above by another team member. People want advice, not lessons. …


…and what we can do about it.

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Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

There’s no point in denying it any longer. The way Marketing has been intended and designed so far is flawed, and the cause can be traced, for the most part, to one fundamental problem: transaction anxiety.

It all started with an honest mistake.

Since increasing transactions, aka making money, is every companies’ goal, marketing departments have begun to think that this objective should be theirs as well. But are things really like that? Let’s go back to basics.


Come to think of it — wouldn’t that be a leap of modern selfishness?

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Photo by Jens Johnsson on Unsplash

Recently, while loitering around LinkedIn in search for new job opportunities — things you do on an ordinary Tuesday night — I came across a post written by the Founder and CEO of a well-known company who shall remain nameless.

The topic of it revolved around the importance of unplugging from technology, in order to foster the relationship with the inner self. When I stumble on to it, the post had received 3,657 likes and hundreds of comments in agreement — which, for a social media platform like LinkedIn is a big deal.

In no more than 100 words, it focused on how hard it became for us to do without devices in the everyday life, and how “unplugging and recharging is essential if you’re truly going to ‘Know Thyself’.” A subject that is becoming increasingly present and popular in the technology debate. …

About

Emanuele Nicolotti

UX and Marketing. If you can’t find me here, I’m probably somewhere out there hiking, or at the bookstore. behance.net/emanuelnicolot

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