Competitor Analysis for redesigning the ContentPicker in SN7

As part of the expert review of our product, we decided to run a competitor review to map the UX strategies of our peers. This way, we can ensure we implement the best UXD (user experience design), that allows us to set up the right development strategy in the light of the competitors' products.

The use of competitive analysis

As a start, we needed to find out where our product is positioned compared to others in the same domain. Then, we had to understand how our main competitors are handling usability. This way we could collect ideas about solving usability issues. Moreover, it helped us in figuring out how we could acquire competitive advantage with improved usability. It was obvious we  needed to include this research in our development process, since it hasn’t been run on SN7, which is considered as a new product, given that this is one of the most important redesign tasks we performed on our ECM since it exists. We plan on repeating this approximately every second year, to keep our eye on industry's UI trends. In this early phase of planning SN7 product development, this enables us to design the most efficient project lifecycle, and define the goals for the different iterations.

Beside the bunch of advantages, we are also calculated with the limitations of this research method: it only shows us the expectations that have already been addressed by our competitors; the time-consuming, innovative work of figuring out how to streamline our solution even further remains ours.

Selected competitors

We identified our 5 major competitors and compared their solutions with ours. We examined their past and present development strategies and identified the trends they are following. We took into consideration the products that offer a real alternative to Sense/Net ECM for our users. We defined the assessment criteria by our users' feedback, reviews and preferences related to our product, in the scope.

Review

After examining the competitors' products, we also investigated the integrated content-picker solutions in them, used for copying or moving files, for selecting items as references, portlets, or CTDs. The most relevant ones to construe were the solutions by Sharepoint, Alfresco, Umbraco, Joomla, and DotNetNuke. We started the reviews with comparing them to our costumers' needs: we wanted to learn, how our competitors solve the task of moving, copying and selecting files or documents in their different picker solutions. In our comparison chart, we noted how easy it was to find a certain file in the grid, how intuitive was the UI and which operating system it resembles the most.

For the purpose of comparison, we examined the following features and functions:

  • split window: showing tree on the left side and contents on the right side
  • searchable contents
  • selectable root
  • selectable view (list, thumbnail)
  • create folder
  • delete folder
  • upload file (drag&drop)
  • rename while saving content
  • selectable actions
  • selectable metadata (versioning, permissions, authors and dates)

Other important functions we missed from competitor products:

  • responsive window size (adaptable layout relative to window size)
  • device-aware UI (show or hide functions depending on the kind of device used)
  • clean meta-data structure (not to overload the UI with unnecessary information)

Results

SN7 Content-Picker wireframes

Considering what we learned from the competitor analysis, we created wireframes for our new content picker. Based on functionality, we designed three different pickers, each bearing the appropriate functionality.

Content Picker for COPY / MOVE actions on desktop

Allows user to:

  • select root of the displayed tree
  • add or delete folder on selected node
  • type-ahead-search even selected by content-type
  • modify filename by saving
  • save selected metadata with file

Contentpicker for Copy/Move actions

Reference Picker or Portlet Picker

  • displays tree by selected root (except Portlet Picker)
  • displays items by selected view: list or thumbnail
  • type-ahead-search even selected by content-type

Reference picker

Portlet view, Page template or Skin Picker and CTD Picker

Enables user to select view-related contents by their thumbnail or icon, that - in case it has an individual preview - will help in selecting the requisite view by the thumbnail preview.

CTD picker

By implementing the above, we are confident that SN7 will offer a comprehensive and intuitive experience which will prove to be state of the art in the market.  
 

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