If you run a business online, you know how difficult it is to get those conversion numbers high. You see a decline in the numbers; you hit the drawing board with your team and try to find out what to fix. But how do you know what exactly is wrong with your website or app?
The best way to keep abreast of how users feel about your product is to gather feedback. But apart from feedback from users and information gathered through data, you and your team can analyze the user experience of your product and see if something can be fixed, which is called conducting a UX audit. Let’s talk a little more about how you can fill in the gaps with a user experience audit.
What is a UX audit?
Just as a company audits finances and employee performances regularly, it is important to audit design standards and user experience of its products too. Every business, at some point in time, finds itself in a sea of problems and needs a way to find solutions for them. UX reports after audits are used to spot imperfections and inadequacies of the website or app.
The best part about user experience audits is that they can be conducted for businesses as small as a startup with an app in the making or as large as a multinational company with several flagship products to showcase.
Some key questions are answered during a UI/UX audit:
- Is there any friction in the user journey? Where are the points of friction?
- Where, on the platform, is the drop-off rate the highest?
- Is the information presented to the users ample enough to help them make decisions?
- Does the interface design follow heuristic principles?
It is essentially a cumulative assessment of the usefulness, usability, aesthetics, value, experience, and user-friendliness of a website or app.
UX audits generally provide a much more in-depth insight into the issues of the product than heuristic evaluations. Not that it has to be said out loud, but the bad user experience is a hole in the money ship for a company. Lately, almost all companies have started investing in user experience in order to increase profits since they understand that bad design does not work well. Such audits or analyses can help strategize and nudge a business in the right direction by solving real user problems.
When should you conduct a UX audit?
An audit could be conducted, usually, at two points in the design process – during the design process, called the formative assessment, and after the product has been developed, called the summative assessment.
It is a good practice to conduct design audits as regularly as possible to sanitize your products and keep the vision on track to success. In an agile environment, usability testing, heuristic evaluations, etc., happen frequently to take into account user pain points and eliminate them at the earliest. In the same way, UX assessments should also be frequent.
Objectives and Outcomes
In order to successfully perform a UX website audit, a prerequisite is to list the goals clearly. For instance, if your website is seeing low conversion rates, your UX audit goals could be analyzing the website to improve metrics like conversion rate, bounce rate, and drop-offs.
Accumulating relevant metrics is not an easy task. All stakeholders involved within the team should put their heads together to find these. Some of the most common metrics are – NPS (net promoter score), task success rate, bounce rate, user engagement rates, time on task, conversion rate, CSAT (customer satisfaction), and SUS (system usability scale).
Some frequently used techniques to collect these metrics are:
Heuristic evaluation: Evaluating or auditing your product’s interface against an industry-standard checklist to empathize with the user and make their experience better. Instead of basing your criteria on your own parameters, it is best to incorporate widely used parameters like Neilsen’s 10 usability heuristics.
Analytics: Heuristic evaluation is more for qualitative assessment. For quantitative assessment of how your product is doing, data speaks volumes, literally. If you track data on your website using tools like Google Analytics, then you will find tons of data points to validate your hypothesis and form assumptions.
Sales figures: Not recommended due to heavy human intervention, but sales figures can sometimes tell you things other techniques cannot, since your sales staff generally stay in touch with the clients a lot more than your design team. They may even conduct surveys and interviews that can inform your decisions.
Previous audits: If your company or team has already conducted audits in the past, you can use that to your advantage. Keeping the metrics similar to the previous audit with a few extra additions from learnings can make it simpler to find issues and fix them.
Deliverables of a website’s UX audit are usually compiled in a properly structured report containing a detailed description of the audit goals, techniques used, results and even suggestions or strategies.
What are the benefits of a UX Audit for business?
With its objectives and outcomes signaling benefits, it’s important that we track down and explore the main advantages. The following points highlight the need for a UX audit and how your business will change once the audit is conducted.
Data backed redesign
A lack of data could be a cause for concern as businesses scramble for solutions. However, UX audit brings in factual data and also advises you on what tools that you need to be using.
It does a complete review of the business and suggests ways that you can improve and raise the rate of conversion. By the end of the user experience audit, you will be aware of what’s holding your business back.
Hence, factual data does change the game for good.
UX audits also help you draw comparisons with similar products or services and keep you informed on why they are ahead of you. By also looking at examples and case studies, you can further understand how these comparisons can benefit your business.
With benchmark analysis in place, you can also understand what prompts customers to choose your competitor.
Improved user satisfaction
A complete UX audit brings in product cognitive walkthroughs to help you get closer to a user’s perspective. This analysis helps you compare your product with the goals of users and shows areas where you can improve.
The qualitative and quantitative data that you receive from this analysis further help you examine how your product tracks down user behavior.
The improvement plan that comes with UX audits helps you transition to the redesigning phase and suggests improvements only in fields where you can genuinely increase the value.
UX audits, although they can change the template, they don’t go out of their way to increase costs. In fact, in the past, UX audits are known to help cut costs and thus open the pathway to make more profits.
As your product or service rises in value, people tend to understand it faster, and helps you eliminate all distractions that may stand in the way of conversions. With the product being more intuitive, purchase requests could rise, and thus profits could also go up.
Hence, the development phase will only begin with necessary additions that don’t include changes for problems that can’t be identified. As a result, wrong decisions will be out of the picture and spending will be constrained.
A better user experience can lead to increased conversions, such as more sign-ups, downloads, or sales. This in turn will improve the user experience, and help increase customer retention, increase conversions, such as more sign-ups, downloads, or sales, and reduce churn.
A product with a better user experience can lead to increased engagement, such as longer session times and more interactions.
How does one conduct a UX audit?
A user experience audit can be conducted in phases since there are a lot of moving parts involved.
Before you even begin conducting the analysis, it is important to prepare for it. Gathering relevant metrics as mentioned before, charting out phases, allotting enough time to each phase, and choosing the evaluating team are all part of preparation. Having the right strategy can save time and money while resulting in extremely useful output.
Outlining business objectives
Although all UX designers in a company are advocates for the users, business objectives take the front seat in a UX audit along with user goals. Interviewing stakeholders of all kinds like the sales team, business development team, consumer service team, and design and development team can help you align your UX audit checklist with the company’s business goals.
Familiarisation with users
Never in your entire design process, be it research, designing, or testing, should you not keep in mind your user personas. After all, everything you do as a designer is to make the product better for your users. If you are new to the project, familiarise yourself with the user personas and even conduct some interviews. You will gain a lot of qualitative insight from user interviews.
You may be tempted to drag the interview series for a lot longer due to the active participation of the users, but it is recommended to limit your sessions to 5-10 users and interview them fairly similarly.
Outlining user objectives
At every stage of this audit, you will be able to identify some user stories. These user stories present opportunities and ultimately get converted into user flows that help users successfully complete tasks on your website or app.
You can also add more information to your user personas at this stage too since you will gather a lot of intel from the previous phases. As and when you can, write down user stories and map journeys.
Concrete evidence of bad UX can be found in analytics. As discussed earlier, if you are monitoring data on your website through tools like Google Analytics or Hotjar, you can closely pinpoint areas of improvement.
If the budget permits, a data science team can be coherently used with the design team to keep track of metrics from time to time and make reports. These reports essentially provide trends and patterns of user behavior, which may be used to refine their journey.
Conduct a heuristic evaluation
There’s enough to talk about heuristic evaluations as a whole new blog. In this phase, experts come together with certain parameters or design heuristics to assess the product interface.
Keeping users updated with the system status, engineering for errors, flexibility and efficiency of use, decluttered minimal design, and jargon-less designs are some heuristics to follow. There are some commonly used standard checklists like the aforementioned Neilsen’s 10 usability heuristics and Shneiderman’s 8 golden UI rules.
Even though heuristic evaluation is the assessment of a product’s UI, its objective is to find usability issues and areas of UX improvement. Better usability results in better user engagement, which ultimately results in an increased return on investment.
Compile a report and suggest strategies
The last phase is perhaps the most important in the UX audit process. Once all techniques have been exhausted and enough findings have been collected, a compilation of these findings to be shared with the entire team is an important step.
One thing to be noted here is to compile findings in the most effective way possible, avoiding extremely complex pieces of information. Better ways to convey insights would be through design deliverable pieces like wireframes, prototypes, annotated visual designs, etc.
Any sort of UX report should be followed with suggestions around how the findings can be put to use in the best way possible to improve the overall experience of the product. Instead of giving the report a negative connotation of things going wrong, it would be better to give it a more positive tone of improving and heading forward. Suggested strategies should also be practical and achievable by the resources at hand, and divided into appropriate priorities.
Tips to perform a successful UX audit
- Recording relevant information
- Suggest recommendations
- Quick evaluations
- Remember your goals and objectives
A UX audit is going to bring out all kinds of information and keep you updated with the latest from the world of user experience. These will contain relevant information and also irrelevant information.
Grouping them and categorizing one into relevant data is not enough because you also need to record said data. In this manner, you create a huge source of information that will benefit you as you move along.
UX audits are bound to come back with suggestions to make minor to massive design improvements. That means there is an added onus upon the agency to keep all stakeholders in the loop. Since time and tide waits for none, you will have to start immediately and take charge of all that needs to be done.
Prioritizing your findings is quite important to help you get on track and match the level of your competitor. By doing so, you can also cut costs and stay away from performing tasks that don’t require one’s attention and tasks that don’t contribute anything of value.
So keep all your stakeholders informed about what needs to be prioritized and what can come later.
The recommendations that come from UX audits need to be evaluated and understood effectively. Merely going through them without having to understand what value comes from them will not help your business achieve your targets.
Moreover, you shouldn’t blindly follow top UI/UX design trends for everyone. That is a crowd mentality and won’t lead to stellar outcomes. A quick yet thorough analysis is needed to complete the auditing process.
With the urge to stay up to date being pivotal, businesses have the urge to quickly conduct UX audits and update everything. Doing so will not yield immediate results because you haven’t aligned these changes with your goals and objectives.
So as a business organization, you should always remember your goals and objectives and then move forward to utilize the results of the UX audit.
This article has been a beginner’s guide to helping you understand what a UX audit is, how to conduct and how it benefits your business. With these steps in mind, you have the right template that goes out to solve all your current problems.
So now that we’ve discussed the UX audit process in depth, it is time for you to conduct your own audit and deliver a world-class experience to your users. If you are in need of expert guidance, contact our team at Pepper Square for a UX and UI audit.
- What is a UX design audit for?
- What is a good UX audit checklist to audit my website?
A UX design audit is a process of informing a business about key areas where their product or service is not being able complete conversions and help them proceed ahead.
The goal of a UX design audit is to identify strengths and weaknesses in the design, functionality, and user interface of the product, and to provide recommendations for improving the overall user experience.
A complete UX audit checklist will include
- A complete review of user objectives and goals
- Conversion metrics
- Inspection of analytics
- A study of current design trends
- Wireframing and prototyping
A UX audit could cost you anywhere between $1,500 to $7,500 depending on who is conducting the audit. While freelancers charge the least, UI/UX design agencies are known to offer an in-depth form of analysis.
Evaluating the user experience or UX for a website involves the following steps
- Understanding the time spent by users on a website
- Measuring task success rate
- Examining task completion time
- Collecting qualitative feedback
- Understanding conversion rate
You can audit user experience on a website by following the steps below
- Examine business and user objectives
- Conduct a complete review of the analytics
- Conduct a heuristic evaluation
- Compile all findings and suggest recommendations
- Analyze website performance
By conducting a thorough UX audit of a website, businesses can identify areas for improvement and make changes that enhance the user experience, leading to increased engagement, customer satisfaction, and ultimately, business success.
In a UX (User Experience) audit, you need to have a comprehensive evaluation of your website or mobile app. A UX audit should include the following key components to determine whether the digital product or survive is meeting user needs and expectations:
- Gather relevant metrics and information
- Outline business and user objectives
- Understand the current needs of the user
- Conduct a heuristic evaluation
- Explore different strategies
A complete checklist for UX review needs to
- Specify business objectives
- Create user personas
- Build user flows
- Analyze data
- Perform heuristic usability evaluation and
- Review suggested inputs
Considering the time spent on research, compiling relevant data, and drafting reports, UX audits are expected to take around 3 to 4 weeks.
A UX audit involves evaluating all interfaces and identifying problems that may be outdated or imperfect. On the other hand, user testing is a process of involving end-users in the design system to test the site or app in real time.
UX audit primarily focuses on auditing a product’s business goals and seeing if it’s up to date. While UX audit does involve UX research, it’s different because the latter involves understanding the aims and objectives of the ones using the product or service.