How to Conduct a Successful UX Audit in Simple Steps
What is a UX audit, and why is it important for all businesses? Learn how to conduct a successful audit and keep a constant check on your designs.
The digital world is progressing at a rapid pace. There are so many digital products and services that it is hard to keep track of them. A number of such products get popular for a brief period of time and are then lost forever. One might wonder what goes wrong and how do good designs fade into oblivion out of a sudden? This is a big problem for modern businesses, particularly e-commerce organizations, where the entire business model is dependent on the online presence. It is, therefore, important for business owners and organizations to constantly evaluate the performance of their products and services in the digital environment.
This is where a comprehensive UX audit comes in handy. Conducting a UX audit can appear to be a daunting task, but the value it brings to any design, whether in the physical or digital world, is remarkable. It is extremely important for modern businesses to audit their designs, including websites and mobile applications, on a regular basis. This is essential not only for understanding the changing needs of the target audience but also to gain a competitive edge in the market.
Seeking the services of a UX audit agency can be helpful in this regard. Such agencies not only have expertise in the field but also have access to a number of UX audit tools that can give valuable insights. The practice of UX design audit can leave a positive impact on the design process, both in the short and long term.
In this article, we introduce the concept of UX audit along with a step-by-step guide to conduct a comprehensive UI/UX audit.
- UX audit definition
- Key takeaways to conduct a UX audit
- Website user experience audit
Whether you're an aspiring designer or a UX professional, learning about the concept of UX/UI audit will help you increase your knowledge and get better opportunities in the future.
UX audit definition
To start with the basics, one must answer the simple question: What is a UX audit? A UX audit — also referred to as usability audit, UI audit, and UI/UX audit — involves the evaluation of a digital product or service. It includes a complete understanding of the design goals and the needs of the users. This information is used to analyze the existing interface and aesthetics of a website, mobile application, and any other digital product or service. The process of conducting usability audits is quite structured with some specific goals. These goals may vary based on the nature of an organization and the needs of users, but it is important to understand the overall concept and UX audit process to make the most out of this practice.
What is a UX audit?
A UX audit is a systematic approach to evaluate the experience and interface of a website or mobile application. It is an excellent way to find out the pain points in a design and to devise strategies to overcome the issues.
Generally, UX audit services include UX site audit, the UI audit of an app, and the analysis of the entire user experience related to a product or service. UX audit, just like any other practice in the field of design, requires a holistic approach where the focus is on the entire user journey, and the audience is at the heart of the process.
The need for UX audit
Conducting a UX audit is getting more and more important for a modern organization. It is one of the reasons that the UX audit agency offered is always in demand. Some of the most important factors contributing to the need for UX audit are as follows.
Changing needs of users
One of the reasons for many products to lose their value and thus start to fail after their initial success is that the changing needs of the audience are not given due attention. In the digital world, no product or service can survive without innovation. For example, when the users start interacting with an app or a website, they realize that they want a lot more than this. In other words, while discovering a product, the users discover new needs.
It is important to conduct comprehensive research and analysis to understand these changing needs. This is where UX audit is of great value.
Products and services in the online environment need constant maintenance. If a website or application is not regularly updated and improved, it will lose its value. Frequent updates in browsers and operating systems require that designers keep a close eye on the way these updates impact digital products. Additionally, to make the online information accessible and findable via search engines, regular evaluation is required.
Comprehensive analysis with the help of UX audit tools can help in identifying the areas of improvement. Not only this, but a UX audit can also improve the metrics tracked by search engines such as Google. This improves the overall performance of a website or mobile application.
Conducting a UX audit is also essential from a business perspective. If a product or service is regularly updated and improved, it is going to give a competitive edge in the online world. In the present digital environment, there are so many options available for the end-users that they don’t need an invitation to switch to an alternative. If a product or service is not updated to meet the new needs of the users, it will soon be forgotten.
Guiding principles for UX audit
UX audit is a systematic process, and it needs to be conducted with great care. It is true that the nature of an audit and the end goals may vary because of the type of business and the target audience. However, there are certain principles that a UI/UX designer must always keep in mind before, during, and after the UX audit is conducted. Some of the important guiding principles for a usability audit are as follows.
Focus on the users’ needs
The first and most important thing, as in the case of any design practice, is to focus on the users and their needs. Remember, the audit will not be helpful if it does not end up helping the users and improving their experience. It is, therefore, extremely important to keep the end-users at the heart of the UX audit. This means that designers will always have to be mindful of the needs of the audience and make sure that the audit is designed and conducted in a way that the pain points of the users are given due consideration. A designer, when conducting a UX audit, must leave his/her biases aside and be as neutral toward the design as possible.
Gather authentic data
A successful UX design audit is one that is based on authentic data. This means that the data gathered for the UX audit is collected with care and is gathered via credible sources. When interacting with the users, for example, it is important to design the questions in a way that they are not leading anywhere but are asking the users to share their experiences. Similarly, when gathering data for websites and applications, it is always important to use quality tools and make sure that the right metrics are being recorded. If the data is not credible or is not gathered in a careful manner, the results of the audit can be highly misleading.
This will then result in designers making decisions on bad quality data, having drastic consequences for the product or service under consideration.
Keep an eye on the long-term benefits
When planning and conducting a UX audit, it is important to consider long-term benefits for the product or service. This means that the solutions reached after the audit should be made flexible so that all future updates are easy to manage. One great benefit of planning ahead is that it helps with creating innovative solutions.
Key takeaways to conduct a UX audit
UX audit is a structured way of evaluating the design of any product or service. Although there is no standard UX audit checklist, there are certain elements that every design audit includes. When a design agency is providing a UX audit service, they generally go through a series of steps — or a user experience audit checklist — to make sure that all the important aspects are covered. These steps start from audience or user research and lead up to the point where designers can provide specific recommendations for improvement.
How do you conduct a UX audit?
Here are the steps to conduct a successful UX audit:
- Conduct an audience analysis or user research
- Identify the goals and objectives of your business
- Define the goals of the UX audit
- Understand the behavior of users
- Gather data using UX audit tools
- Analyze the results
- Discuss results and devise a strategy
- Make recommendations for improvement
The following steps make a standard UX design review checklist.
1. Conduct an audience analysis
The first step in the UI audit checklist is to get a better understanding of the audience. This is where the target audience — or groups of the audience — are identified and categorized based on their shared interests and goals. Creating user personas is an extremely helpful strategy when conducting audience analysis.
This step is extremely important as it makes the end-users an active part of the design process, thus adhering to the basic principles of UI/UX design. The data gathered through this step is one of those elements that can help in designing a successful UX audit.
2. Identify the goals of your business
Once a good amount of data is gathered about the audience, and there is a good understanding of their pain points, the next step is to identify the goals of the business, product, and/or service under consideration. This is another important step in laying the foundation for a successful audit.
When highlighting the goals, it is important to be specific about them. The clearer the goals, the easier it is to identify the areas of improvement. Another important aspect to consider in this step is that the goals should be differentiated based on their short and long-term impacts. This can help in creating an effective strategy for the future.
3. Define the goals of the UX audit
After clarifying the vision, it is now time to focus solely on the task at hand, i.e., the UX audit. The design team, or the UI/UX designer, uses the information from steps 1 and 2 to clarify the goals of the audit being conducted.
Here, again, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of the goals. For example, the design team, in collaboration with other teams (such as marketing and communication), should have an idea of the important concerns such as the timeline, UX audit cost, and the major concerns at hand. This helps in defining realistic goals for the audit that can then be met with the help of a successful audit.
4. Understand the behavior of users
Before going to the UX audit tools and analytical software, it is important to get some feedback from the users. A designer has to get a good idea about the users where he/she interacts with the users, observes their behavior when they interact with the product or service, and understands their pain points.
This step helps designers in getting rid of their biases when conducting the audit. This is highly important, especially when the design team is conducting an audit of a product that they previously worked on. Acknowledging that the users are struggling with something is the first step toward improving the design.
5. Gather data
When conducting a UX audit, it is important to have a toolbox at the ready. There are multiple tools and services out there that can help in gathering key metrics about a website or mobile application. These metrics give a great idea about the performance of a digital product or service.
Google Analytics, for example, is an excellent tool for analyzing the performance of a website. Similarly, Hotjar and other UX heatmap tools can help in understanding the behavior of users as they interact with online content. There are several other tools that can be used to gather valuable data for a UX audit. When selecting a tool, however, it is important to keep an eye on the UX audit price. If things are going out of the budget, looking for alternatives is a good idea.
6. Analyze the results
All the data gathered in the last step is then analyzed, with the help of both quantitative and qualitative methods, to get insights into the performance of a website or mobile application. Analysis of the results is a time-consuming process and can be overwhelming at times. It is also possible that a designer may not be able to conduct a holistic analysis. This is where collaboration with other teams, especially marketing and engineering teams, can be of great help.
When analyzing the results, it is essential to keep the goals of the audit and the long-term goals of the business in mind. This way, the process of analyzing the data can be made more specific to the problem at hand.
7. Devise a strategy
After conducting a thorough analysis of the results, the next important step is to devise a strategy for the future. This strategy is actually a workflow that can be used to address the important concerns highlighted in the UX audit.
When devising a strategy for improvement, the designers should always consider certain limitations. For example, the limitations of time, budget, tools, and personnel can greatly influence the way a problem is resolved.
8. Make recommendations
The last step of a successful UX design audit is to provide specific recommendations to improve the online presence of a product, service, or business. A UI/UX designer needs to be specific about the recommendations and also ensure that these recommendations are backed by credible data gathered during the audit.
While providing recommendations, it is also important to leave personal biases aside. Even if a designer has certain attachments with a product or service, it is imperative that those attachments do not affect the quality and nature of recommendations.
Website user experience audit
A website can serve as one of the best UX audit examples. Conducting the UX analysis of websites on a regular basis is important for all modern businesses, especially for those relying on e-commerce. A website UX audit helps in improving the user experience as well as the performance of a website, thus bringing more business and reputation to the organization.
Why should designers care about website UX audit?
The online presence of any product or service is an essential part of modern businesses. UX or usability audit for a website helps in improving the online presence. UI/UX designers often come across projects where a website is to be audited and redesigned.
Important metrics for website UX
Data collection and analysis can be a little complicated when working with websites. When selecting the metrics for measurement and evaluation, it is important to focus on the ones that are critical for a website and also highlight the needs of users.
Some of the most important metrics for website UX audit are as follows.
Engagement and conversion
The first thing that every website cares about is the engagement from users and the conversion rate. It is important to measure the way users are interacting with the website by performing acts such as scrolling all the way down, clicking on different pages and products, and making purchases.
Bounce rate and abandonment
The second metric to look for is the bounce rate and the time spent by users on the website. If a user leaves the website in a few seconds and does not interact with any content, this means that there is something wrong and the audience is not getting the information they are looking for.
Session length and time spent on webpages
The time spent on each web page is also an important metric for websites. If a user spends more time, it generally means that they like the content on the website and are interested in more. This metric, however, can be misleading. For example, it may mean that a user is spending more time because he/she does not understand or is confused about how to accomplish a certain task. Designers, therefore, have to be careful when looking at such metrics.
UX audit is an essential part of any design process. It is something that every product or service needs on a regular basis. UI/UX designers, when equipped with the knowledge of successful strategies for conducting an audit, can make a huge difference in the online presence and performance of a website, mobile application, or any other digital service.