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SWOT Analysis

The SWOT Analysis reflects internal factors of a project to assess external factors. Here, the areas of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are reflected upon to help teams and individuals to classify and question their (product) concept.
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Many products fail because they don’t solve a real user problem. Without really understanding the user, you aren’t practicing UX; you’re subjectively designing features. To put it simply, without the user, there is no UX. It’s just X. That said, there is more to UX than just the user.

UX is at the center of technology, business, and the user. Without the business, UX can’t exist, at least not as a career. Knowing the business objectives behind a feature is incredibly important. A SWOT analysis gives you detailed insight into a company and its position in the market.

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

Strengths

‍Internal factors that positively impact the company such as knowledge, brand reputation, intellectual property, etc.

Weaknesses

Internal factors that negatively impact the company such as low funding, poor product quality, bad customer service, etc.

Opportunities

External factors that have the potential to positively impact the company such as acquiring competitors, strong market growth predictions, international presence, etc.

Threats

External factors that have the potential to negatively impact the company such as government regulations, new competitors, economic downturns, etc.

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Using Spotify as an example, imagine that in your SWOT analysis you learned that the podcast market is growing, which is a business opportunity. Later on, when you find user pain points, you discover that users are frustrated to have to use competitors’ apps to listen to podcasts. You’ve just found an opportunity worth pursuing.

There are two ways to approach your SWOT analysis:

Either fill in the 4 categories of a SWOT by doing some in-depth research online and create it from scratch yourself. Or, google the company's name followed by “SWOT” to find analyses that have already been conducted.

A SWOT analysis will give you a high-level idea of where the company is headed both internally and externally.

While just a SWOT analysis on its own will not help you to identify a precise problem to solve, it will provide you with valuable context. Performing a SWOT analysis gives you detailed insight into the company you’re targeting and its position in the market.

Use a SWOT analysis to:

  • Understand the business context of a company or product.
  • Identify gaps in the market and potential problems to solve.
  • Uncover market trends that can help you develop your product definition.
  • Understand your company’s internal weaknesses and external threats and how to turn them into opportunities.

Resources

Take a deep dive into SWOT analysis with Interaction Design Foundation’s course Design Thinking: The Ultimate Guide