Boosting website conversion rate, increasing software engagement or improving the overall user experience are top of mind when it comes to digital products. Identifying areas for improvement to achieve these can be a daunting task without the right process. Fortunately, conducting a UX audit can be the perfect way to pinpoint those areas and get actionable insights.
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What is a UX audit?
A UX audit or UX review is a process used to identify areas of improvement when it comes to usability, visual design, content, performance, user engagement as well as accessibility of any digital product, and provide recommendations to enhance the overall user experience.
Benefits from a UX audit
Conducting a UX audit can have a host of benefits to the overall user experience of your app, software or website.
Here are the main ones:
- Identifying usability issues
By conducting a UX review, you are able to pinpoint usability issues that are affecting the user experience. Identifying those issues early means that you can take action to resolve them, before they have an impact on the overall performance of your website or app.
- Improving overall user satisfaction and engagement
By addressing any usability issues, you will contribute towards improving the overall user satisfaction and engagement. This can have an immense effect on reducing your operational costs when it comes to customer care and consequently have a positive impact on your revenue.
- Increasing conversion rate
The software conversion rate is one of the most important metrics when it comes to how your website or app performs. It is a great indicator of the overall health of your product. By doing a comprehensive UX review you can come up with actionable insights on how to boost conversions and lower bounce rates.
- Reducing churn rate
By UX auditing your software you have an unmissable opportunity to reduce your churn rate. Churn rate refers to the percentage of users that stop using your digital product. A lower churn rate means more happy repeated costumers and ultimately higher revenue.
- Reducing development costs
UX reviews especially when they are conducted early in the product life cycle can hugely reduce development costs. Testing your software early on can course-correct the product development and put you on the right path.
- Enhancing overall business performance
Both the design and the functionality of a digital product, can play an integral role in the overall business success. How? Apart from boosting the key success metrics for the overall health of your website or your app, it can also lead to enhanced customer loyalty and brand reputation.
When to do a UX audit?
A UX audit can and should be conducted at various stages of the product life cycle.
Auditing your digital product before launch, can be a great way to pinpoint areas that cause friction in the user experience and take action before real users interact with your product. Conducting a UX audit at this stage will also greatly contribute to reducing development costs.
Launching new features can also alter the user experience, so this is another stage where conducting a UX review can prove to be very beneficial. UX audits are also conducted as a part of the major product update or redesign process.
As a rule of thumb, UX audits can be conducted at regular intervals in the framework of continuous improvement.
At this stage, it’s worth mentioning that UX audits are not to be confused with competitive UX audits. You can learn more about how to conduct a competitive UX audit in this article.
UX audit checklist
Taking a structured approach to your UX audit is key. Before even starting your UX audit it is important to have a think and pin down the following:
1. Do you understand the business goals?
Understanding and defining the goals of the business and setting your product success metrics, based on either previous performance or industry benchmarks, is an essential step to a successful UX audit. These will be the metrics based on which you will understand the areas that are underperforming. At this stage, you will pinpoint the desired outcomes of your UX audit.
2. Have you defined the user personas?
Knowing your audience and who your users are is another key step to this process. By defining your user personas, you can empathise with your user, step into their shoes and find the best design solution that fits their needs, not yours.
3. Have you gathered any available product data and analytics?
When it comes to products that have been in the market for a little while, it is essential to gather data from any available sources, including analytics tools or session recording tools like UXtweak. This way you can get a feel for those instances where the product underperforms. For example, using such data you can notice where in the user journey people are dropping out, or identify a particular point in time where the conversation rate started to decrease.
4.) Have you reviewed the results of previous UX audits?
Another good place to start with your UX audit is by checking previous UX audit reports that might have been conducted. These will give you great insights on what type of issues were identified in the past and how your predecessors tried to solve those.
UX audit: step-by-step guide
UX audits can be a very effective tool given that you follow a structured approach. Following the below steps will guarantee its success.
1. Perform a heuristic usability evaluation
The number one stop of every UX audit is conducting a thorough heuristic evaluation.
You can conduct a heuristic evaluation by evaluating your digital product against Jakob Nielsen’s 10 general principles for interaction design. According to Nielsen Norman Group, these are called ‘heuristics’ as they refer to general rules of thumb and not specific guidelines.
Upon completion, you will have surfaced any usability issues that might be blocking the product performance. Examples of these can be a confusing label on a menu item, poor navigation or expecting the user to perform an action that is again an established mental model.
2. Test the user experience
The next step of your UX audit is to test the user experience with real users. This is where having defined your user personas, in advance, will come in handy. In this process, it is essential to recruit participants that share the characteristics and demographics of your ideal persona.
There are various UX research tools and methods to test the user experience of your product, for example conducting a usability test. By giving participants tasks and watching them interact with your product you’re able to pinpoint what works and what doesn’t, spot potential roadblocks, design and usability issues.
Here’s a quick example of how usability testing can help you uncover hidden issues in the process of UX audit:
3. Evaluate the accessibility
Equally important is accessing how accessible your digital product is. You can evaluate accessibility by checking that it adheres to established accessibility guidelines, like for instance the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). According to the Web Accessibility Initiative, these are 13 guidelines that fall under 4 general principles: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust.
4. Analyse your findings and create actionable next steps
Once the evaluation has been completed, the final step of the UX audit is to analyze the data and create actionable next steps. This may include synthesising the data using an affinity diagram to uncover common themes and patterns. Using a prioritisation matrix, you can then work on how you can tackle the issues and implement solutions.
UX audit template
Here are some industry-approved UX Audit templates that you can use:
- Figma’s community provides a simple-to-follow template on how to conduct a successful UX audit. This template is free and you can use it by simply making a copy and adding it to your own project in Figma. Bonus points for the edgy design.
- Factory Pattern’s template is another great resource to get started on your first UX audit. This template gets extra points for being comprehensive as well as for including a checklist, where you can tick off the items that you have resolved. It’s great for auditing e-commerce websites but can also be used for UX audits in general.
- Hubspot has put together a highly detailed and easy-to-use UX audit report template. This template goes the extra mile as upon completion, you have a readily available report to share with your stakeholders. You can use it to organize and present your audit’s insights in a clear and structured way. This template is great for making sense of all the information you’ll obtain.
The gist of it
UX audits are a powerful tool to pinpoint areas for improvement and come up with actionable insights to enhance the overall user experience. Conducting a UX audit can have a wealth of advantages, including increasing the software conversion rate and enhancing the overall business performance.
Whether you are a seasoned UX Researcher or a start-up founder, it’s integral to continuously improve your products and a UX audit is the most comprehensive way to achieve this.
Register for your free account at UXtweak, the all-in-one UX research platform, to conduct your UX audit today!