PART 2: Applying Usability Heuristics and Competitor Analysis: Znap Cash Case Study Design Process.

PART 2: Applying Usability Heuristics and Competitor Analysis: Znap Cash Case Study Design Process.

The last time you were here, we discussed how you map your design deliverables with user research and the relevancy of curating a product roadmap. 

In case you missed the first part, here you go!  

In the UX/UI design process, “usability heuristics” are broad characteristics that can help designers and researchers assess how easy an interface is to learn and use. They can go a long way to give you a bit of separation from your project so you can be as objective as possible in figuring out what needs improvement.

In the competitive research phase of Znap Cash - UAE’s No.1 Rewards App, we came across multiple competitors, that seemed to be targeting the same age bracket, with a similar range of products and features; which ideal competitors to evaluate through usability heuristics.

In this article, we’re going to evaluate their usability, and identify some areas of focus that we can address in Znap Cash. We’ll be applying Jakob Nielsen’s “10 Usability Heuristics,” which were written in 1994 but outlined general interface design principles that were so useful that they’re still referenced today.

We’ll also be applying “severity” ratings to each heuristic, on a scale from 0 (not a problem) to 4 (“usability catastrophe”).   

Here’s what we’ll explore,

  • Heuristic analysis: A practical method of solving complex user problems with ease.
  • Competitor analysis: Strategic insights for staying ahead of the game.

To understand the significance of a heuristic and competitor analysis, we will be using Znap Cash as a case study.

Introducing, “Znap Cash”-  UAE’s No.1 Rewards App. 

It is the ultimate destination for your regular retail spends. You can earn cashback on over 350+ Local Businesses that include Dining, Salon & Spa, Opticals, and many more.

Znap reached out to us to help them carry out all stages of product design with the goal of increasing consumer engagement and identifying reasons for the high drop-off rates and no consumer & brand loyalty. 

We did a series of steps including a UX Audit, Discovery, and alignment of future business goals followed up by the UX and eventual visual design.

Starting with, 

  • Heuristic analysis: A practical method of solving complex user problems with ease.

Heuristic analysis is a problem-solving approach that involves using practical techniques to identify and mitigate potential risks. The term "heuristic" refers to a problem-solving technique that uses experience and intuition to find solutions. Heuristic analysis involves systematically evaluating a set of data to uncover hidden patterns, identify potential risks, and develop strategies for addressing these risks.

So, here are Jakob Nielsen's “10 Usability Heuristics” for interaction design. They are called "heuristics" because they are broad rules of thumb and not specific usability guidelines.

  1. Visibility of system status

The design should always keep users informed about what is going on, through appropriate feedback within a reasonable amount of time.

Score: 2

  1. Match between system and the real world

The design should speak the users' language. Use words, phrases, and concepts familiar to the user, rather than internal jargon. Follow real-world conventions, making information appear in a natural and logical order.

Score: 0

  1. User control and freedom

Users often perform actions by mistake. They need a clearly marked "emergency exit" to leave the unwanted action without having to go through an extended process.

Score: 1

  1. Consistency and standards

Users should not have to wonder whether different words, situations, or actions mean the same thing.

Score: 0

  1. Error prevention

Good error messages are important, but the best designs carefully prevent problems from occurring in the first place. Either eliminate error-prone conditions, or check for them and present users with a confirmation option before they commit to the action.

Score: 0

  1. Recognition rather than recall

Minimize the user's memory load by making elements, actions, and options visible. The user should not have to remember information from one part of the interface to another. Information required to use the design (e.g. field labels or menu items) should be visible or easily retrievable when needed.

Score: 1

  1. Flexibility and efficiency of use

Shortcuts — hidden from novice users — may speed up the interaction for the expert user so that the design can cater to both inexperienced and experienced users. Allow users to tailor frequent actions.

Score: 0

  1. Aesthetic and minimalist design

Interfaces should not contain information that is irrelevant or rarely needed. Every extra unit of information in an interface competes with the relevant units of information and diminishes their relative visibility.

Score: 0

  1.  Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors

Error messages should be expressed in plain language (no error codes), precisely indicate the problem, and constructively suggest a solution.

Score: 0

  1. Help and documentation

It’s best if the system doesn’t need any additional explanation. However, it may be necessary to provide documentation to help users understand how to complete their tasks. 

Score: 2

Hence, by focusing on usability, a heuristic analysis is an evaluation method in which one or more experts compare a digital product’s design to a list of predefined design principles (commonly referred to as heuristics) and identify where the product is not following those principles.

For example, User Control & Freedom allows for easy navigation and exit points in a process. Signing up is required to move forward, but users can still exit midway. However, due to limited control and freedom, the principle only scored 1 out of 4.

In Znap Cash’s cases, this is how the usability score looked like- 

It’s also convenient in looking at your competitors and assessing where gaps might lie — that your product can fill. An added bonus: it helps you create a standard vocabulary for design critiques that you can use in your own iterative design process.

  • Competitor analysis: Strategic insights for staying ahead of the game.

In today's competitive business landscape, staying ahead of the competition is essential for success. One of the most effective methods for achieving this is through competitor analysis, a process that involves researching and analyzing your competitors to gain insights into their strategies, strengths, and weaknesses. By using competitor analysis, businesses can make informed decisions, identify areas for improvement, and ultimately outperform their competition.

The process of competitor analysis involves several key steps:

  1. Identify Competitors: The first step in a competitor analysis is to identify your competitors. This may include direct competitors, as well as companies that offer similar products or services.

  1. Gather Information: Once you've identified your competitors, the next step is to gather information. This may involve researching their products or services, marketing strategies, pricing, distribution channels, and more.

  1. Analyze Data: Once you've gathered information, the next step is to analyze the data. This involves looking for patterns and trends, as well as identifying strengths and weaknesses in your competitors' strategies.

  1. Develop Strategies: Based on your analysis, you can develop strategies for improving your competitive positioning. This may involve developing new products or services, improving your marketing tactics, or targeting new customer segments.

By researching and analyzing your competitors, you can gain valuable insights into their strategies and use this information to make informed decisions about your own business. 

Whether you're looking to improve your marketing tactics, develop new products, or improve your competitive positioning, competitor analysis can help you achieve your goals and outperform your competition.

During the competitive research phase for Znap Cash - UAE's top Rewards App, we encountered multiple competitors with similar product offerings and features aimed at the same age demographic. 

Given the similarities, we deemed these competitors as ideal candidates for usability heuristics evaluation. By conducting this evaluation, we could better understand how our competitors were designing and optimizing their user experience and identify areas for improvement to enhance our own app's usability.

To end,

We apply our own experience and knowledge acquired in years of A/B testing and best practices to assess your website in terms of usability. Heuristic research helps us identify possible reasons why users are or aren’t converting.

Competitive analysis is just as important. Understand where you stand compared to similar companies and what your competitors are doing differently. Learn how to leverage this information and gain a competitive edge.

Ready to take the next step and create your new product? 

Well then, make sure to reach us at or just say come "Hi", here! ;)

Also, make sure to be around, we’ll be back soon with a more detailed design process we followed to design Znap Cash. ;) 

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