What is UX audit?
UX audit, also referred to as usability auditing, is the process of evaluating a company's website or mobile app for ease-of-use. This fail-safe technique is highly effective at identifying usability problems that are prompting your customers to abandon their experience and leave even before they would finish what they started.
With so many products in the market vying for user attention, it can be quite a challenge to stand out from the crowd. But, with some careful research put into UX review you will find yourself equipped with an arsenal of information about how different features are being used (or not), what needs improvement, as well as recommendations on ways to do just that.
All these are steps that you can take in a bid to improve your product’s user experience and in turn, boost conversion rate. Of course, the construction of these steps is an extremely detailed process and the steps will differ from project to project based on factors like the budget and time assigned for it.
What can UX audit do for your product?
UX audit is a great way to receive valuable insights on your product’s weaknesses as well as strengths. Knowing the core problems in your app or website can help you make informed decisions about future updates, more features and improvements that can go on to attract more customers while also improving usability for those already on board.
An audit can help you find answers to some of these burning and potentially nerve-racking questions:
- What are the areas where users face challenges/difficulty while browsing your website or app?
- What are the users' behavior or how do they navigate while on your website or app?
- What are users really looking for?
- What can you do to make your product more user-friendly?
A website or app that does not meet the needs of its users may experience a significant drop in its performance. To improve business performance, it is extremely important that one looks at areas where people are experiencing difficulties with navigation and functionality on your site so you can put forth fixes from there.
Based on the data that the review throws up, you will be able to identify specific areas of difficulty that users encounter while browsing your website or app. Some of these difficulties could be slow page loading, insufficient or incoherent content leading to confusion, vague product descriptions that force users to leave without purchasing anything, broken or missing links between different sections and so on.
Now, these are all the benefits that UX audit can bring in for you and your product. But, do you know when is the best time to conduct one? Let’s find out.
What is the best time to do a usability audit?
I believe it’s already a well-known fact that every business needs to really know their audience in order to perform better and grow more. But that’s also where the challenge rests - knowing the users. Good news is usability audit can tell you exactly how your customers feel about what they're experiencing at any given time.
Startups especially, can gain a lot from an audit since they can position their products better for favorable response. Considering the fact that an audit can throw up present issues even before you launch your product or tell you how you can improve an existing product, there’s really no standard timeframe for when it can be conducted.
For example, have you ever had a website or app that you just never managed to give a design facelift? If you’ve decided to redesign an old site, it is important to take into account not only your own perspective but also user behavior and preferences when evaluating existing functionality.
When developing new features or functionality for your product, on the other hand, it can be difficult to know if they will actually add extra value. Again, UX review can be a great way to find out how users perceive the feature/functionality and whether or not they find it easy enough to use through their experience with navigation.
This may seem like an extra step before you even develop anything, but trust us on this when we tell you that this little task will go a long way to assure that you don’t experience any heartburn moments along the way.
Usability audit will allow you to figure out if your new functionality should be implemented or scrapped before full development. This, in turn, will save valuable time and money. I mean, you wouldn’t want to invest further resources on a product if you find out from the audit that the feature won’t work, would you?
Conducting UX audits at different intervals allows for continuous improvement of your product over time by anticipating what users want even before they know themselves because today’s #1 complaint could become tomorrow's top priority.
Still thinking whether you should invest in a UX audit?
As business owners, I understand the part where most of you will have apprehensions in investing money and time into a practice from which you’re not sure how much you can benefit. A report by Forrester Research revealed that every dollar put into UX yields 100 in return. That’s a crazy amount of ROI if you ask me.
You see, here’s the thing. Usability is pretty much a consistent and universal event in every business scenario today. It goes without saying, therefore, that the future of your business seriously depends on not just providing products and services to your customers, but making it a great user experience as well.
Clean design, intuitive navigation and an enjoyable customer experience are the keys to success for any business. Weave these three elements together with a deep understanding of your customers' wants and needs in order to create products that convert into new leads and generate more average revenue per user (ARPU) or CLV, all the while increasing lifetime value.
What's the point of a business if you don't have grateful customers? A great user experience will make them feel like they've been taken care of. That’s because good UX makes your product easy to use and showcases all its features in an intuitive manner, which increases your company’s loyalty level among said customer base.
How much does a UX audit cost?
The budget for a UX audit depends entirely on the extent and size of the project, the people that you assign the task to and the timeframe that you have in mind. What you expect from the auditing agency or professional and what they expect from you should be realistic and practical to arrive at a cordial agreement.
Whether you decide to do the audit by your own staff in-house or hire an agency to do it for you, it’s best that you set those expectations in stone to avoid disappointments later on. To that end, it’s advisable that you agree on regular milestones all the way to the deadline to fix any issues that crop up along your path.
As for how much an audit would cost - they can go for as little as $1,500 for a brief review of your product's design, which would probably take about two days to conduct. This service will most likely include some design tips and tricks that could help you on your journey to success.
However if you want deeper insights and actionable strategies that extend beyond the surface level, be ready to shell out anything between $7,000 and $15,000, which would take a couple to a few weeks for the job.
But, whoever you hire for the audit, it's important to make sure that you hire an auditor who is not only qualified in design standards and practices (such as ISO 9000), but also one with experience designing organizations or processes from scratch. This will provide better insights into how your business operates today so you'll be able to predict what changes might need to happen tomorrow!
Steps involved in a UX audit
Generally speaking, there are six steps that make up a complete usability audit. Let’s go through each of these in detail.
1. Analyzing and identifying business goals
UX auditing is a process that needs to start with understanding a business's primary goals. This may be different for every client and will depend largely on what they want from the auditing agency as well.
For an in-house UX team member, this should come quite naturally since they would be much better positioned to understand those goals from firsthand experience. But on the off chance that they are not sure, it would be good to organize meetings or interviews with them to ask these questions:
- What do they hope for the users to experience through the product?
- How could this product help them accomplish something important?
- What are the pain points that users go through?
- What kind of improvements do the users expect in the product?
Now, you may have heard this one before, but the most effective way to understand business goals is to conduct interviews with key influencers and stakeholders in the company. The ones that should be on that list are product managers, developers and marketers, people who can provide valuable insight on the makings of a successful product.
Getting into the specifics of these business goals is important so these key influencers can see how their efforts contribute towards this goal. By interviewing stakeholders, companies will be able clarify what they want out of different aspects such as sales or marketing and help figure out if they’re achievable while having a positive effect on other parts of their business plan.
Once the results of these interviews are collected, a joint agreement between the auditor and the client on a common business goal based on the results should be drawn. This’ll make it clear for everyone what the real parameters are that will put the audit into action.
2. Understanding the users
Understanding the users is a key step in a UX audit. This is generally undertaken by developing what we call user personas to represent mock users that you want the product or service geared toward. This step will help the UX team understand user needs at a deeper level so they know what features would best suit them in any new project.
In case you’re not sure how to do that, here’s a good read on how to create user personas and it’s not very difficult either. This process helps make sure all voice channels (marketing materials) speak as one by avoiding "us" vs. "them."
Conducting interviews with end users of a product is one way to dig deeper into its user experience. Best restricted to just a handful of interviewees per session, it’s important that consistency is maintained during each session through near identical pattern per person per session throughout the process.
3. Decoding user goals
The more we understand our users, the better designs are made. Understanding user goals and using this understanding to influence design decisions is essential for good UX designers.
To do so requires a deep knowledge of what the information needs to be conveyed in order that it can be useful as well as how people want their tasks to feel when they undertake them. Failing at these aspects will result in your work being nothing but an uninteresting interface with no connection between you and your target audience.
As a product owner, whether it’s a website or an app, it falls on you to find out what path the users will follow when using it, including facing hurdles or getting lost during navigation. This will help you decode and understand user goals at an intimate level to introduce the required improvements.
4. Measure your product’s performance
One particularly important aspect that can prove highly beneficial during the UX audit of your website or app is its analytics report. Web analytics can tell you exactly how your website or app is performing, which in turn can provide valuable data.
Google Analytics is the most popular analytics tool used by all kinds of businesses, although there are several other names that can make the cut for you. Depending on your business size and needs, you can choose from basic to more advanced features offered on these tools.
5. Measure your product’s usability
One of the most reliable ways to assess an interface before it's made available for public use, heuristic evaluation is a process that combines the power of expert insights and established usability guidelines to ensure product development starts on as solid footing as possible.
Evaluators generally use the 10 principles of usability heuristics as given by Jakob Nielsen during independent walkthroughs where they can report issues with user interfaces early in development so designers have time to make changes before it's too late.
The insights revealed from this process have proven invaluable time and again since many issues found early enough don't actually happen when users get their hands on them later down development cycle. Here’s a quick read on how to conduct heuristic evaluation for your product’s user interface.
6. Data analysis and reporting
This will be the final step of your product’s UX audit, where the data collected so far will be analyzed so necessary suggestions can be added to the report. In other words, it involves gathering data from all the steps and then producing a concise document that contains insights into how your product is being used as well as where users are having difficulties.
This should be followed by practical suggestions that can be acted upon for what needs to happen next in order to meet business objectives while also providing an enjoyable experience for customers. The findings and suggestions document should be shared with everyone involved in the UX audit, and preferably even other members as well so they are on the same page as you about your business objectives.
If you’re looking for a reliable design agency that can conduct a detailed and invaluable UX audit for your product, rest assured you can count on our 10+ years of experience to come to your rescue. We take great pride in being able to really understand our clients and their business objectives to provide the best solutions in record time at the most reasonable costs. Write to us so we can work together to maximize the potential of your product.