Session 4 : Competitive Analysis


  • Recap Workshop
  • Geek Speak: HTML5 [Cheryl], Javascript [Lisa], AJAX [Veronica], CSS [Rachael]
  • Competitive Analysis Discussion

Recap Workshop

  • Review what we accomplished
  • Talk about next workshop (we’ll dig into CSS, plugins and themes –what else?)
  • Get URLs! 
  • Housekeeping: — is there anyone interested? WordPress tutorials (or is the DVD in your book enough), Photoshop – what else?
  • Housekeeping: everyone should have two posts (in addition to Geek Speak — we are at the halfway point!) There is an emphasis on WP tips. 🙂


Design and Competitive Analysis Discussion

From the reading

(1) How many people here use one-click? Who has had an item ship to the wrong address (moi – but it was Zazzle not Amazon)? What are the assumptions that designers have made in developing this widget? How well does that conform with your mental models?

amazon one click

(2) Mental models— In your genre pairs, pick an ecommerce site (not yours!) and describe why people would come to this site (their tasks) and how they would expect things to work. Write a scenario out (jot high points) and then test it.

(3) Scenarios — review the book chapter. How do you write a scenario (a narrative around a use-case)? Pick a task or two and test the government sites.

In this class, the purpose of the competitive analysis is primarily to justify the overall strategy for the design.

  • The competitive analysis is a strategic document but it should acknowledge assumptions (or ‘knowns’) about site users
  • Any comparative analysis must rest on heuristics — rules. In the web world, defined/articulated user tasks are used as a method to determine how well visual design is executed (functional design).
  • Some examples:

RE  your individual portfolios/projects

  • In a generic page hierarchy (as shown in Wroblewski’s article, Boxes&Arrows), which elements should never deviate from this template?
  • Visual hierarchies are common in print — how are they used on the web and how might your use them?
  • What criteria are most important to compare when looking at competing websites?


Before Our Class On Wednesday 2 November

Before Our Class On Wednesday 9 November

Before Our Workshop On Sunday 20 November

  • Read Using WordPress, Chapters 6, 11, 12
  • Read Beginning Web Programming, Chapters 4, 9, 12

About Kathy E. Gill (@kegill)

Digital evangelist, writer, teacher. Webmaster at King County Elections; educator at UW. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill,,

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