Beginning the research
First a little about myself: my name is Nathan Krischer and I just recently began a summer internship here with Fuzzy Math. I’m an undergraduate student at the Savannah College of Art and Design, majoring in their new service design program. One of my first tasks after joining Fuzzy Math for the summer was to continue some of the competitive research and analysis they had already begun. They had already assembled a list of 21 competitors, many of which are in the Chicagoland area. My first task was to rough out site maps of the competitor sites to start gaining an understanding about what competitors are putting on their site, what they’re talking about, and what they’re offering, and more importantly, how they’re presenting all this information.
Visualizing the visualization
My next step was to display the findings in some meaningful way. Sure, I had the 21 site maps, but looking at 21 different diagrams to try to discern their meaning as a whole is not very To qualify for special enrollment you must have previously had affordablehealth.info or become eligible to be insured within the past 60 days. effective. Part of my education in service design is creating information graphics and data visualizations. Simply put, data visualization is representing data or information visually that not only conveys the data itself, but the greater meaning of the data as a whole and the relationships within. Its not a boring list, its a cool graphic representation of otherwise dry and possibly difficult-to-understand data (to see some very cool data visualizations, check out www.visualcomplexity.com). It wasn’t really what specific competitors were doing on their site that was important, but what the competition in general was doing, represented in a single diagram.
I had to decide exactly what it was I wanted to show. I came to the conclusion that the best thing to do was to see what kind of information are competitor sites and their home pages linking to? Since I had 21 sites I was working with, and there was a lot of overlap in some cases, I decided to show “what is the likelihood a competitor site will link to a certain page?” This way you can quickly see what the most common pages are, such as Contact and About pages, which are (unsurprisingly) the most often linked to pages from the home page, and that only some link to their team from their About page.
This diagram does not get into super fine detail, nor did the site maps. The goal was not to map out the site to the point you could build it, but to get a general understanding of what type of information is on the competitor sites and how are they structuring it. The purpose of this diagram is merely to inform, it is up to the viewer to draw their own conclusions.