Assume you’re the owner of an online store. You’re aware that people find you through search engines and engage with your homepage. They even begin the checkout procedure. However, they do not convert at some time. And you have no idea why. It’s possible that the information hierarchy has to be updated. Alternatively, the user flows. But how can you tell what needs to be rearranged and what doesn’t?
A User Experience Audit (UX Audit) is a method of identifying aspects of a digital product that are less than ideal, indicating which elements of a site or app are giving customers pain and stymieing conversions. A UX audit, like a financial audit, employs empirical methodologies to expand on a current condition and provide heuristics-based recommendations for changes, in this instance, user-centric upgrades. Finally, a UX audit should show you how to increase conversions by making it simpler for consumers to accomplish their objectives on your website or product.
This beginners’ guide to the UX audit aims to equip teams with the basics to conduct their audit, or to better understand the benefits and limits of an external audit.
What Happens in a User Experience (UX) Audit?
First and foremost, there are the major questions. What happens during a user experience audit, and how does it relate to usability testing? An auditor will use a range of approaches, tools, and measurements during a UX audit to determine where a product is going wrong (or right):
- Review of business and user objectives
- Conversion metrics
- Customer care data
- Sales data
- Compliance with UX standards
- Usability heuristics
- Mental modeling
- Wireframing & Prototyping
- UX Best Practices
The distinction between usability testing and a UX audit lies in the direction of information flow: an audit infers issues from a set of predetermined standards or goals, whereas testing infers problems from user behaviors. If an auditor does not have access to the core metrics, they may do usability testing during the audit, but they will combine the results with data gathered over time and compare them to industry standards and product goals.
What can you learn from a UX Audit, and what are its limitations?
It’s vital to note that a UX audit isn’t a cure-all for all of a website’s UX issues. If the advice isn’t actionable or isn’t followed up on, it’s ineffective. When the internal team conducts the audit, it also necessitates a large commitment of time and labor, to the harm (or at least delay) of other activities.
While a UX audit won’t be able to cure all of a website’s or app’s problems, it can help to answer several important questions:
- What works, and what doesn’t?
- Which metrics are currently being gathered and which should be?
- What does the data reveal about user requirements?
- What has been attempted before, and how has it affected metrics?
A well-executed UX audit reaps several benefits for a product. It offers practical follow-up activities based on data rather than guesswork. It aids in the development of strategic design plans. It generates measurements that may be used to make future adjustments. It also aids in the formation of hypotheses about why users behave the way they do and how they could behave in the future. Most importantly, it helps to increase conversions and ROI after follow-up action is made.
When and who should do a UX audit?
In the early stages of a website, web application, dedicated app, or similar redesign effort, an audit should be performed. The word ‘redesign’ is important here; audits are often performed on a product or service that has been in use for a while and has a large amount of data to review. Usability testing, rather than a comprehensive audit, is more likely to put new features and products to the test.
Companies without a dedicated UX team, on the other hand, will gain the most from a UX audit; those with an in-house team will be more likely to assess the product and change the experience on a regular basis.
If cash flow permits, it is preferable to have the audit performed by outside parties: internal teams find it difficult to separate themselves from the product, and subconscious prejudices will sabotage the process.
If your budget does not allow for an external audit, all is not lost: you can audit your product internally using an objective methodology, a range of accessible tools, and (if you haven’t previously) become familiar with UX best practices and standards.
Let’s take a look at everything you’ll need to get your UX audit underway.
What Are the Requirements for a UX Audit?
Designers, developers, product strategists, and business managers should all be included in the process. Nominating an audit lead, who will make choices about the process and timeline, is also beneficial.
The following must be agreed upon from the start, just like any other project:
- Objectives of the audit (conversion, ROI, etc.)
- A time limit is necessary since you could possibly audit indefinitely.
- How much time, manpower, and money are you willing to devote to the audit?