Have you heard of a user experience audit (UX audit)? Imagine you run a popular online store, drawing potential customers through search and social media.
Customers browse your products and may add items to their shopping cart but then ultimately abandon them without making a purchase.
As the number of abandoned carts rises, you start to worry about the future of your website. This is where a UX audit can help you improve your online sales.
A UX audit consists of a series of processes that need to be completed by professionals at certain points in time. It’s a way to catch usability issues and look for areas of improvement across the UX journey. Let’s take a deeper look at what a UX audit entails, how to do one, and what makes one effective.
Insights Into a UX Audit: Definition, Components, and Impact
So, what exactly is a UX audit, and what effect does it have on the user experience?
What is a UX audit?
The main idea of a UX audit, also known as a UX review, is all about unravelling the customer experience throughout the entire user journey when navigating a website, application, or other digital product. It uncovers the main obstacles users face and looks at any potential roadblocks to achieving key business goals, such as boosting sales.
For entrepreneurs, product owners, marketers, and designers, a UX audit is valuable for enhancing and refining a product or service. Rather than making assumptions, the process relies on real data from user surveys to assess its strengths and weaknesses. It’s a great tool to help strengthen your connections with users by learning about their expectations and needs.
Components of a UX Audit
A typical UX audit involves four main stages, including:
- Definition: The first phase involves examining (or clarifying) the business goals, primary user profiles, and the goals you’re looking to accomplish through the website or app.
- Usability Evaluation: Within this in-depth examination, the goal is to look at the digital user interface design, supporting code, and content to identify any usability issues. This includes closely examining all major interface elements and components, applying usability heuristics, and conducting a detailed accessibility check to ensure compliance with the latest Web Content Accessibility Standards (WCAG).
- Usability Testing: After the evaluation, the next stage involves a series of usability testing sessions involving real users of your website or app. This is then followed by compilation and sharing of the insights gained from these sessions.
- Solution: Finally, an extensive report is made, and recommendations are made to help businesses plan for any necessary changes.
Benefits of a User Experience Audit
After conducting a UX audit, businesses often see a significant improvement in user satisfaction and engagement, leading to an array of potential benefits for business growth. Below are a few examples.
Recognize User Pain Points
UX auditing is the most effective way to reveal problem areas and develop immediate strategies that can fix these issues. It can highlight the reasons for low conversion rates, possible improvements for the onboarding stage, and why retention rates might be declining.
Understand User Personas
Getting to know your users is the best way to grow your business, and that begins through increased empathy toward their needs and concerns. Understanding their needs can help you make better, informed decisions in the future.
Gain Fresh Perspectives
Approaching the product from the eyes of a new user helps you spot weaknesses and user experience issues. Using QA testing and stress testing can give an in-depth comprehension of your product.
Provide an Unbiased Evaluation
Conducting the audit early helps to preserve impartiality and minimizes biases that may come from being overly involved with the product. Objectivity is important to getting more accurate and relevant insights.
Gain Awareness of Design & Technical Debt
As UX audits Improve your entire organization’s awareness of design and technical debt, various teams can make more streamlined and informed decisions, ultimately contributing to greater success.
Offer Strong Proof Based on Real Data
A UX audit can help you hone in on your mission by revealing where you might have slipped away from the company’s main goals and identifying gaps between the desired course of action and actual implementation.
When to Perform a UX Audit Report
While UX audits have proven to be useful, knowing when exactly to conduct a UX audit is just as important. This type of report is particularly useful under these circumstances:
- When you’re introducing new features, making substantial updates, or making transformative changes to your offering.
- When you want to take a step forward in your design aspects and find opportunities for improvement.
- When SEO and digital marketing experts need an audit to boost the effectiveness of their strategies.
- If you’ve noticed a decline in user satisfaction or engagement with your offering.
Mobile UX Best Practices
All mobile apps and websites depend on good mobile user experience design. Whether it’s a simple app or a sophisticated website, the way users engage with the mobile interface matters.
Designing for mobile devices is a complex skill that continues to evolve as designers are trying to stay up to date with the latest trends. With phones no longer just for calls, delivering the best possible mobile user experience is essential for all businesses. So, what best practices should businesses follow?
Develop a minimalistic app design
When it comes to app design, your business should centre your approach around the goals of your users. If they face obstacles or encounter unnecessary features, they may become frustrated or waste time trying to navigate the app or site, detracting from their experience.
Minimalism in design isn’t about dullness, simplicity, or monotony – it’s about striking a balance that optimizes user engagement by:
- Reducing cognitive load
- Embracing simplicity in both actions and design
- Minimizing actions
- Maximizing usability
- Including logical actions
Keep things brief. Why? Well, to put it simply, mobile users are usually in a hurry.
Smaller screens make text twice as difficult to read compared to desktops. No thanks to short-term memory, the more users have to remember once something disappears from the screen, the more likely they’ll forget about it.
Deciding what to cut down is quite nuanced and depends on your specific content needs and goals. However, whenever you make significant changes to an experience, gathering user feedback is a good idea to ensure you haven’t altered meaning or caused any confusion.
Combine Icons and Text
Pairing text labels with symbols simplifies things tremendously. When you use text labels with menu symbols, users often find it easier to grasp and choose from a range of options. This approach is especially valuable for more extensive menus, where customers can effortlessly scan and locate what they need quickly.
Considering User Routines and Gestures
Designing a mobile app goes beyond aesthetics and also involves understanding how users interact with their smartphones. The way people hold their phones and the tasks they do on them demand different engagement approaches. One prevalent trend backed by user behaviour research is bottom navigation.
With people commonly using three fingers while holding a smartphone, businesses should take into account these routines and incorporate familiar swiping gestures for navigation, for example. The pinch-to-zoom and 3D touch actions are also a common staple in many apps.
Depending on your target demographic and app goals, incorporating these routines and gestures related to user behaviours and gamification elements can make the app entertaining and user-friendly.
Proven Strategies For a Successful UX Audit
If you’re ready to conduct your own UX audit to enhance your user experiences, be sure to use these essential strategies for better success.
Explore Business Goals and Objectives
Having crystal clear objectives is crucial to any successful business. To make sure you keep your business on the right track, establish the right goals and use the S.M.A.R.T. model to set your objectives.
Start by outlining your website’s main goals and the particular functions of each landing page. Let’s say you want to increase sales by 30% over the next quarter. You’ll need to adopt several approaches, such as upselling, cross-selling to existing customers, and executing promotional campaigns such as a “buy one, get one free” deal.
Depending on the goals of your website, a conversion can take different forms. For example, a conversion from an email list might be a visitor providing their name and other contact details. Conversions on other product landing pages may include adding items to the shopping cart or making a successful payment.
Understanding what actions users will take on each landing page will allow you to concentrate on improving your content and successfully encouraging the right call to action.
Get to Know Users and Their Needs
Consider what goals your present users have in mind. Why did they choose your business? What actions are they likely to take?
If you are unsure about these elements, returning to the research step is best to get the essential data that identifies your users and the exact goals you want them to achieve.
Also, assess if your current users are reflective of your planned audience. If there is a mismatch, try to figure out why. As a start, do you have a well-defined target audience? It’s equally important to clearly understand whether your current users relate to your targeted user profile.
Additionally, plan for an inflow of new customers that do not fit into these groups. Regardless of where you currently stand with your user base and target audience, you should always maintain a clear vision of your desired outcomes.
Analyze Data and Metrics
Within UX audits, data is the only trustworthy source of information, supporting assumptions and validating findings from user interviews.
The combination of qualitative data from user interviews with quantitative data from Google Analytics can provide a holistic insight into how users engage and interact with your product.
Leveraging data analytics can assist you in identifying problem areas, such as issues with certain device types, user pathways, site speed, and drop-off rates. On the other hand, heuristic evaluation, along with the positive behaviours and drawbacks, can help you craft recommendations.
Conduct a Product Assessment
When closely involved with a product, it can be difficult to notice its strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement, making a UX audit a logical choice.
During the course of the evaluation, you’ll actively engage with the product and benchmark it to industry standards and usability criteria.
Consider what you’ve learned in previous phases to design a guide that emphasizes specific areas of focus and include a design and technical expert in the review. Don’t forget to test the product on various devices, as the user experience may vary significantly.
Highlight Insights and Recommended Steps
Combining the results of a UX audit using graphics, user flows, prototypes, and statistics can enhance the presentation of these findings and lend credibility to your analysis. A vital component of your report lies in its recommendations to fix any UX shortcomings.
Avoid excessively harsh criticism and focus on specific initiatives that can genuinely make a difference in achieving your primary goals. After introducing these suggestions, regularly monitor your analytics to confirm that the changes are making the desired impact.
How do you conduct a UX audit?
A UX audit is a thorough analysis that looks to reveal the underlying causes of potential issues impacting website performance. It’s a tool that can help enhance usability and the overall user experience.
The process involves several key steps that start with the analysis of business objectives to align the audit with your company’s goals. It also involves recognizing user behaviours and objectives, diving into valuable insights provided by website analytics data, and conducting heuristic evaluations. After all these efforts, businesses can systematically organize their findings and generate some improvement recommendations to benefit the company.
What is needed for a UX audit?
Conducting an effective UX audit relies on several elements, including access to the product or website, understanding the project’s goals, understanding users’ needs and behaviours, collecting relevant information, comparing outcomes to competitors, listening to user feedback, collaborating with the design team, and keeping an eye on project fees like any website building costs.
What is the goal of a UX audit?
A UX audit serves to help improve digital products or services. It evaluates the user experience and consequently paves the way for improved user satisfaction and the opportunity to turn them into loyal customers. In turn, businesses can ultimately boost business revenue and unleash their full potential.
What are the different types of UX audits?
There are several typical types of UX audits, including web app UX audits, mobile app UX audits, IoT app UX audits, desktop app UX audits, and e-commerce website UX audits. All these types of audits cater to specific needs in the digital landscape.