# Secondary research

# Phase: 🔎 Problem seeking
Focus: Landscape


Time commitment: Varying according to scope of research needed, but slightly time-intensive
Difficulty: Easy/medium
Materials needed: Good Google-fu and potentially licenses for similar/competing solutions to yours
Who should participate: User experience designers, project/product owners, anyone
Best for: A first-level investigation into the current state of a problem's landscape and the potential for product-market fit

# About this tool

While direct work with your users themselves should take the fore in your problem-seeking research into the current landscape of solutions (or lack thereof), much can also be gleaned from "desk work": Investigating the overall technical and product landscape to assess direct competitors, related products or services, basic market opportunity, and overall potential for product-market fit for your solution. When combined with primary research conducted directly with users, insights from this secondary research can put you well on the way to understanding the overall landscape of your problem/opportunity and prepare you for digging into user journeys, pain points, ideal states, and other empathetic work.

When conducting secondary research, consider questions such as the following:

  • Are there other players out there already trying to solve the problem you want to solve? To what degree have they succeeded?
  • Are there holes in competitors' approaches that we can exploit — can we take a different approach to deliver something uniquely valuable?
  • Is there a variety of target markets or audiences for your problem, or would you be catering to a narrow niche?
  • Are there already established conventions, methods or protocols for approaching the problem you want to solve? Can you improve on existing best practices?
  • Has your problem been tackled by others in the past, but failed? Why?
  • Are there (even somewhat) analogous problems in other industries that have already been solved? How?
  • Are there innovations in your problem space that were abandoned or never elaborated upon? Can you find (or guess at) the reasons why?