It’s no secret that a high-quality UX and UI design directly affects your potential customers’ satisfaction and income if your customers are pleased and purchase your product or services. Once your users’ expectations are not met, you get a low conversion rate and a high bounce rate. When facing such a problem, you need a UX audit to help you identify the problems and weaknesses of your website/application and find solutions.
In this article, we share our concise guide on how to conduct a UX audit in the right way and don’t let your app or website fail.
Who should do a UX audit, and when?
UX audit is performed if you have already released a product. It was used in real-time by users. You noticed that there are problems with usability, high cart abandonment rate, low conversion rate, or many other factors that indicate problems with mobile or web UX design. But if you are only finishing your product design and development and haven’t released it yet, you’d better do usability testing rather than a complete audit.
Here are a few situations when you need a UX audit:
- when you have problems with at least one of the following aspects (low conversion, high churn rate, high cart abandonment rate, high bounce rate, and adaptive interface)
- when your conversion reduced
- when your design is outdated and needs to be updated
- when you often get user complaints
So how can you conduct a UX audit to help your business and increase your income?
Read our article about UX audit and how businesses can benefit from it if you want to learn more about UX auditing.
UX audit process
Step 1: Identify business objectives
The first step to improving your UX is to understand the business goals of the product. The main question of any product owner is what the purpose of its existence is? And what value does it bring to users?
How can an auditor know the business purpose of a product? The easiest way is to conduct a stakeholder survey to help identify the product’s weaknesses and strengths. This survey should collect information about what is going well and work well in the product and the weaknesses and mistakes.
Here is a list of a few questions that can help the auditor to identify business objectives:
- What problem does your product solve, or how can it help users meet their needs?
- What actions do you expect from your users on the site or app?
- How long do customers stay on your site/application?
- What cycle do they go through, and where do they stop?
- What are your main sales channels?
- What are your company’s values, weaknesses, and strengths?
Such questions will help to understand the goals of the business better and conduct a UX audit of the site, which will exactly bring the result.
Step 2: Learn the objectives of your target audience
Customers for any business are the key to success. If the auditor understands what users want from your product and what they expect, it’ll be much easier to understand why users don’t perform the required action and leave. To meet and recognize users, you need to create user personas. These are amused users who help to understand customers better. UX audit should determine users’ knowledge that will then be converted into a series of steps that they will have to take to achieve the desired result. This process should also include a description of possible difficulties if the user suddenly goes the wrong way.
Step 3: Analytics and metrics overview
When you have defined business goals, you have analyzed your user’s behavior and understand what they are, although you can proceed with the analysis and metrics overview. The goal is to see who your users are, what they are looking for, and why they aren’t converting.
Mobile and web analytics
You can’t predict in advance what users will like. Reviews will show the pros and cons of the application after release. An adverse reaction can mean users faced a bug, difficulty in using the app, or, conversely, the lack of the desired functionality. The auditor’s task is to find the specified issue and decide on how to retain the user and improve UX. Analytics allows you to track actions inside the application to make it more convenient.
Here Google Analytics can come to your aid. Analyze page statistics: session duration, number of users and failures, information on devices.
There are a lot of analytics tools. They will show you the heatmaps of interaction with your site, and what your users do before and after visiting your site or application.
Among the useful UX audit tools for analyzing your product problems, we can advise Kissmetrics, Crazy Egg, and Chartbeat.
There are two types of metrics: actionable are statistics that show real results of interaction with your product and tied to the goals of your business (metrics which matter) and vanity – those metrics that don’t help you figure out the efficiency of your product, but only show an imaginary result compared to other products (they usually mean nothing).
We want to talk about actionable metrics, and which of them are significant. What actionable metrics should you consider during the UX audit?
- bounce rate (the percentage of visitors who dropped out of the site or application from the login page or viewed no more than one product page.)
- conversion rate ( is the ratio of the number of visitors who have made the desired action proposed on the target page (filled out the lead form, made a purchase, subscribed to the mailing list, etc.) to the total number of visitors, expressed as a percentage)
- customer lifetime value ( is the value that the customer brings to your product during business activity. It is the sum of the gross profit from all purchases for the individual customer.)
- average order value (an indicator of sales efficiency; calculated by dividing the total amount of purchases made by their number)
These are one of the most critical metrics that will help you accurately track your users’ interaction with your site and more accurately track where places or errors in your product are weak.
Step 4: Learn tendencies and trends
Look at the competitors whose products are thriving in a particular sphere and investigate what makes them successful. To improve your conversion, you should always take competitors into account, not only directly, but also indirectly. This will help the auditor to build a clear picture of user expectations when interacting with the competitors’ website. What is better with competitors and why they are leaving you to them, all these issues need to be taken into account to conduct a quality audit.
Step 5: Complete a heuristic evaluation
Heuristic evaluation is a heuristic-based method for checking the usability of an application’s interface, site, program, and anything else that helps identify problems of the usability of this interface.
Heuristics is a recommendation. In a sense, usability is a rule that will help find the answer to your question. It suggests what you should pay attention to, but does not indicate an exact solution.
We will tell you briefly about each of the heuristic principles:
1. Display system status
The system should always inform the user about what’s happening – give feedback in real-time, so that, in turn, he is well oriented and understands what is happening.
2. The similarity of the system with the real world
The system should speak the same language with the user, without using specific terminology, but with the use of words, phrases, and concepts familiar to the user in the real world. It is also not necessary to be limited to only one language.
3. Freedom of action and control
The user should be able to correct the absolute error quickly. The system must support the ability to cancel and redo any action.
4. Uniformity and standards
Once the user has understood the principle of the interface, the user must be sure that the system will work on the same algorithms in the future. Always follow the same rules inside the product. The more familiar and understandable for the visitor is the model of interaction with the project, the higher the likelihood that he will be able to solve their problems.
5. Error Prevention
Anticipating and eliminating the possibility of making mistakes in advance is better than coming up with beautiful and meaningful error messages, right? Therefore, use hints and examples in forms.
6. Insight, not memory
Don’t force the user to remember a lot of information, actions, objects, and options. The visitor should not keep in mind the information, moving from one part of the system to another. This applies to both standardized recycling bin icons, deletion, saving, other things, auto-completion tips when entering any information in the search, and much more.
7. Flexibility and usability
Don’t load experienced users with unnecessary information; allow them to perform frequently repeated actions as quickly and efficiently as possible.
8. Aesthetics and minimalism
Don’t overload the screen with unnecessary information. An interface should include only the most necessary and useful element that helps the user solve his problems.
9. Help in recognizing, diagnosing and correcting errors
Everything is simple here: if the user did something wrong – report an error and show how to fix it. When an error can’t be prevented, you need to develop a solution that will help the user quickly fix everything.
10. Help and documentation
Even if the system can be used without documentation, reference information may still be required to work with it. Answers to frequently asked questions, step-by-step guidelines for performing specific actions, and an explanation of unobvious principles make the project friendlier and more convenient for the user.
Let’s look at all the pros and cons of this approach.
- You can quickly and relatively free find interface problems using only the company’s internal resources;
- This process can be used at the beginning of the process design, and testing can be carried out using wave frames;
- This approach can be used in conjunction with other usability testing methods.
- The process requires knowledge and experience for the useful application of heuristics;
- It can be challenging to find people in the company who are at least a little versed in UX;
- The assessment reveals, as a rule, more minor than critical problems.
Step 6: Compile findings and make recommendations
After a clear and in-depth analysis of all issues has been carried out, the task of the UX auditor is to collect all of them in a report and provide the result of what problems they found and what are the recommendations to solve them. At this stage, the design team creates a PDF file with all UX issues and inconsistencies they found and provide a list with recommendations on how to solve these issues.
The following recommendations are usually provided according to their level of severity:
- high-level recommendations (aimed at the productivity and growth of your conversion)
- recommendations of an important level (based on all problems, ways to solve them are provided)
- recommendations of an additional level (those recommendations that will improve the user experience and increase business efficiency)
In the report you will find:
- the research methodology used;
- description of identified interface problems with screenshots for visualization;
- recommendations for troubleshooting;
- determination of the priorities of the upcoming work according to the degree of criticality.
Thus, in the end, you have in your hands a detailed guide on what to do next.
Then, you decide whether to implement the studio’s recommendations from which you ordered an audit or to make it on your own.
Step 7: Make a redesign of the app or website based on the UX audit
Next comes the most important stage – redesign. You should take into account all the recommendations given after the UX audit, correct them, and release an advanced product that will convert and satisfy much better.
Usability audit is a complex, time-consuming process, as a result of which the site’s vulnerabilities and ways to eliminate them are found. Doing a UX audit yourself or hiring a team to do it is just your wish.
Contact our Gapsy team if you want to get a quality UX audit of your product:
- Full immersion in your business processes
- Analysis of site analytics indicators (We study key metrics, target audience, niche, and competitors in detail.)
- Formation of hypotheses (Based on data from analytics and our own experience, we put forward several hypotheses about user interaction problems.)
- Studying the site for errors (Deep immersion in the site’s interface allows us to test hypotheses and find related errors.)
- Drafting a report with a list of recommendations (We outline all the identified interface problems in the report. We give detailed recommendations for resolving them.)
You will receive a detailed report that will help correct your mistakes and remove weaknesses.