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UX Design 7 min read
A Comprehensive Guide to UX Audit
Increasing conversion rates, revenue, user satisfaction, retention, brand loyalty and reducing churn, bounce rate, uninstalls, support requests- are fundamental goals of any organization offering digital products and services.
Potential customers come to your website or app through search, social media, reference, media articles or marketing campaigns. They check out the website, some people might install the app, explore the features and try the service for a while but abandon the product altogether after some time.
Or in some other cases, you have a product that has attracted some users initially. But you don’t see any growth in their numbers or usage. Also you see users leaving your app or website or using it less frequently. Even if you invest a lot in marketing campaigns, you don’t see it reflected in usage or revenue.
One of the key reasons for situations like this could be the poor user experience of your app or website. The stakeholders might have some idea about the bottlenecks of the product but in most cases, they are confused, partially aware or even clueless about what to change, how to change and when to change inside their product or service. This is where a professional UX Audit comes to your rescue.
Let us look into the UX audit in detail.
What is UX Audit?
UX Audit provides recommendations for improvements to boost conversions, increase revenue, improve loyalty, reduce churn rate, bounce rate, cart abandonment, uninstalls, etc by providing users with the best experience.
What does a UX Audit impart?
UX audit will help you answer the most pressing questions like:
- What works, and what doesn’t work in an app or website? And why so?
- What insight does the data provide about user experience and usability?
- Which are the key metrics and KPIs to be monitored continuously?
- Strategies that have already been tried and its impact on metrics.
On top of answering these questions, a UX audit provides evidence-based actionable recommendations and supports strategic design plans. It helps in developing usage metrics that will help better decision-making in the future.
Hypotheses about user behavior are developed and throw insights into how they might behave in the future. Once follow-up actions are taken, user experience audits can help drive conversion rates, return on investment, increase product revenue, user satisfaction, user retention, and brand loyalty.
Why should UX audit be conducted?
UX audit helps in improving the user experience of a product and will in turn increase customer satisfaction as they no longer feel frustrated or confused.
The exercise will help stakeholders in making decisions that are research and data-driven. This will result in reducing customer acquisition and support costs, increasing CLV (customer lifetime value) and retention rates.
Who should do a UX audit?
Organizations which do not have a dedicated UX team are likely to benefit the most from a UX audit. This is because those organizations with an in-house team mostly evaluate the product and the user experience as a continuous process.
For the best outcome, it is advised to have external UX agencies to conduct the audit as the internal team will find it difficult to detach from the product and tends to make biased judgments.
Scenarios where a UX audit is conducted
A UX audit can be conducted at many stages of the product’s life cycle to recognize the performance and usability issues at that time.
- During a redesign of the product – A UX audit will help to evaluate existing user flows, trace problems or distractions that prevent users from completing their goals.
- During development and implementing new features – Conducting a UX audit at this juncture will help to understand how feasible the new features are and how much the users need it.
- Validate new product design before development – UX audit can be conducted on novel product ideas (MVP) even before developing it into a project. This will help to make changes that will not cause significant time and budget losses.
Requirements for a UX audit
For a UX audit to be conducted in the most satisfactory manner, there are a few requirements to be satisfied
- A team of professionals that consists of UX researchers, UX designers, UI designers, Information Architects (content specialists), engineers, product strategists, marketing experts and business managers.
- The goal for the audit should be set beforehand.
- A time duration until which the audit will be conducted should be fixed.
- Decide the resource allocation in terms of workforce, time and money dedicated for the audit
How to conduct UX audit
Even though there is no definite procedure, and each organization or UX professionals approach it differently, depending on the product’s complexity, the scope of work and goals, the general steps are undertaken in the audit and the ultimate goals are often similar.
Let us look into the common steps followed
- Understanding business goals
Understanding the product and the organization’s business objective paves the foundation to conduct UX audit. This knowledge helps in determining the objective for the design audit and usability of the product.
While surveys are conducted among stakeholders of the organization covering every dimension of the product is a common and quick process, interviews with key individuals of the organization like product managers, developers, marketers, salespeople, and customer service representatives etc are likely to give more insights into the product.
Each interview is conducted with a mission to gather information about the individual’s opinion of the positives and setbacks of the product. The basic steps that should be taken to improve the product and grow the business is established from these individual viewpoints. It is not general business objectives that are derived from these interviews.
These interviews should result in defining the new dimension of the organization’s set goals. These findings are more specific. For example, if the organization has set a goal to increase its sales, it can mean selling more of a specific product or increasing sales across the business, or driving in-store purchases. The UX audit brings out the particulars in the goals defined. These findings are cross-checked with the organization to ensure they agree with the business objectives outlined.
- Understand the users
To know the users better, user personas are created. Some organizations have a very clear idea about their customers which they might have collected from their own research. This information can be used to make user personas that represent the target customers.
The number of people interviewed is not fixed. In most cases, the selected persons for the interview are presented with the product and are asked to share their experience with it. A number of interview protocols are available. These vary in the levels of detail and can be used according to preferences.
- Understand the user’s objectives
The information obtained from the users must be transformed into a user flow.
User goals are defined in different features and functionalities of the product. And the steps that should be taken to reach these goals are also described. This process must also identify areas where the user may encounter difficulties or get stuck.
These user flows should be based on information about user goals gathered from stakeholder interviews, user surveys, and/or user interviews.
Most of the organizations rely upon quantitative data provided by analytics tools like Google Analytics, Mixpanel, Woopra etc. This data provides information about who is interacting with the product and what they are doing there.
It is recommended to supplement the data from analytics with tools that perform different tasks such as heat mapping and other tasks that provide advanced analytics. Whatever tools they use and how the product is used over time could be derived from the data collected.
- Usability heuristics
Usability heuristics are a quick and practical way to solve problems or make decisions. In user experience (UX) design, professional testers use heuristic evaluation to systematically determine the usability of the design/product. As experts, they use standard checklists to find deficiencies missed by the design team.
- Systematize findings and give recommendations
The data collected from the audit should be analyzed, condensed and compiled into a report which clearly communicates the findings to the stakeholders. The report contains practical suggestions that provide specific solutions to the problems found during the audit.
It should be clear how each recommendation can be implemented and what it will do to meet business and user goals. Findings and recommendations should be presented in the most effective way which could be through site maps, wireframes, prototypes, or other visual means. Being overly critical while providing recommendations should be avoided.
Findings of a UX audit
The report that is developed at the last stage of UX audit constitutes different factors that together form the output.
- The report will specify the major goals of the UX audit.
- The audit report gives detailed information about the user behavior. Data from competitive analysis, user interviews, user testing, customer journey mapping, A/B testing, and heuristic evaluation will be included.
- The result of each of the tests will be described in detail. The user’s frustrations and pain points while using the product will be mentioned with recommendations for improvements in potential areas.
- The recommendations and suggestions provided will be listed according to priority to get the best benefit from the UX audit conducted. This helps in quick decision making.
- The format for the UX audit report is not fixed since its content and structure depends upon the complexity and requirements of each project.
With all this information collected, the audit team will make recommendations to improve the User Experience of the product.
Ideally, the recommendations should:
- Emphasise the positives
- Express the annoyance tactfully
- Avoid usability jargons
- Be very specific
The recommendations should be supplemented with examples, rather than just identifying areas for general change.
For example, “in navigation drop-downs, remove images”.
Cost of UX audit
The cost of a UX audit depends mainly on the scope and complexity of the work, the people you work with (whether it is a UX agency or an individual freelancer), and the duration of the audit.
It will cost at least US$3,000 to US$5,000 for a basic UX audit that lists and explains usability issues. This could be typically done in a week or two. For extensive usability reviews with detailed recommendations, which could take 2-4 weeks, established agencies may charge between US$8,000 to US$15,000.
Limitations of UX audit
While UX audit is a boon to resolve many of the UX woes, it doesn’t solve every problem. A UX audit is ineffective if recommendations are not actionable, or not followed up. It also requires a significant investment of time and effort from the stakeholders. If this audit is conducted in-house it can hurt the normal course of other tasks.
Are you looking for someone to help you with your products UX audit? Contact us now