If you run an online business, you already know that visitors find your business through search engines and then interact with your website to see if they find something they’re looking for. But these visitors may fall out of the sales funnel somewhere along the line and won’t “convert.”
You might not be able to understand the reason behind this. That’s where your business needs to acknowledge how important user experience (UX) is to its existence. It means reducing the complexity of different products and placing product purpose before functionality. But how do you do that? Using UX audit.
A UX audit is basically what you use to test a product’s user experience and how it’ll perform. It helps you identify potential loopholes in a user journey and see what action you can take to improve it through a product.
A great example is for small businesses running an e-commerce store. You might notice that customers aren’t converting. A UX audit helps see what the underlying issue might be. It can be something going wrong on the checkout page, insufficient payment alternatives, or another issue. The UX audit will help pinpoint the exact issue so you can address it easily.
We’ll be looking at what UX audits are, how they can benefit your business, their key components, their relation to usability testing, common issues, and much more.
What Is a UX Audit
A usability audit (UX audit) is an inspection you conduct to identify potential issues in a software product you may be developing, such as a mobile application, a website, or any other web project.
The audit is similar to a financial audit in terms of its objectives, but a UX audit is done for the user design. It mostly uses quantitative data like website analytics and product analytics as inputs to develop a testing model. Along with this, there are also user surveys that are used.
Why Is a UX Audit Important for Your Software Product
Let’s say you develop a software product, but you can’t retain users. Why? Maybe your users find your product hard to use or find the interface challenging to navigate. But you won’t know the issue for certain until you perform a UX audit.
Did you know that a single bad experience on a website makes 88% of the users not want to visit the website again?
So, finding the causes of problems is the main purpose of UX audit. These problems don’t only cause user issues; they’re also a hurdle for your business. For instance, when you have a low customer acquisition, you won’t generate as much revenue and end up not fulfilling your business goals.
Therefore, an overall UX evaluation is great when it comes to dissecting problems and handling each one to see the cause behind them. With a UX audit, you also get to know the recommended actions that should be applied to solve current problems and avoid future issues.
Another great thing about UX research is the flexibility it provides. You wouldn’t have to worry about making massive changes, which is something market research focuses on, but UX research is different. It gives you insights into what small tweaks can be made to the design without changing the core functions.
Need any help with a UX Audit? At Iterators we can help design, build, and maintain custom software solutions for both startups and enterprise businesses.
Schedule a free consultation with Iterators today. We’d be happy to help you find the right software solution to help your company.
Benefits of a UX Audit for Your Business
User experience plays a huge role in client acquisition, retention, and satisfaction, from aesthetic branding elements to loading speeds. So, you should always be on the lookout for improving user experience, and the perfect way to do that is to implement UX auditing.
Just like a financial audit, a UX audit is a technical process that employs empirical testing methods to find ways to enhance your product. It helps ensure your product is user-centric, drives more conversions, and increases profits.
A UX audit benefits your businesses by:
- Enhancing the usability – Businesses can evaluate the usability and navigation of their digital goods using a UX audit. UX audit helps analyze things like click-through rates, user interface, bounce rates, and time spent on each page.
- Identifying user pain points – A website’s or application’s pain points are places where the user might feel irritated, dissatisfied, or perplexed. These points can be identified by examining user input, their behavior, and user testing, and all can be achieved by conducting a UX audit.
- Boosting Customer Loyalty – Users are more likely to use a website if they’re happy and satisfied. A UX audit helps businesses learn important information on user expectations, user preferences, and pain areas. The audit helps to focus on these specific areas and boost customer loyalty.
Key Components of a UX Audit
UX audit must have certain components. Without these, there’s no way to determine whether your product is meeting its goals, objectives, and KPIs. Let’s look at some below:
Clearly Defined Business Goals
A company’s business goals are crucial for facilitating auditors when preparing for a UX audit.
Auditors will start off by looking at the business goals and how explicit they are when it comes to describing a product and whether or not that product meets the company’s expectations.
You need to understand that your product will be ultimately used by the users, and they’re the ones who’ll dictate its fate. User personas are, therefore, an important aspect to have on hand before conducting a UX audit.
Their main purpose is to help you see whether or not the current users match the users you’re targeting.
As an example, let’s say you get a UX audit done, and it suggests making a change in the demographics. UX auditors will then have to apply a renewed design so the new product can also be catered to.
Heuristic product evaluation
Perform a cognitive walkthrough of the product to view it through a customer’s eyes. Jot down observations while attempting user tasks, emphasizing detecting possible challenges.
Remember that your familiarity with the product might pose challenges; adhering to established criteria like Nielsen’s heuristics will aid in maintaining focus.
A UX flow is a diagram that helps visualize the user’s path when using your product from the start point to the finishing stage.
There can be multiple user flows for an angel project, as there are a lot of different goals for a person using your mobile application, service, or website. Some can be directed at a single task, while others can be more complex.
A U audit also conducts user research – a methodical study of target users that includes key demographics, requirements, and pain points. This helps auditors to analyze the details and develop strategies to make the product optimal for your business.
Previous UX Audit Results and Changes
Before auditors move on to solving the next problems, they need to understand whether or not previous ones have been solved.
Analyzing previous audits primarily helps to analyze the history of changes that have been applied and find out how these changes have impacted the user journey.
Product Data and Analytics
Product analytics visualizes, analyzes, and tracks how your users engage with your product. You can use this data to optimize your service or product, such as eliminating common issues or providing clear instructions.
Deliverables and Deadlines
The term deliverables is mostly used to specify the tangible things produced by the project. This can be anything, a new computer program, a new or changed process, or the acquisition of additional resources for accommodating change.
Why Is Usability Testing Important
The main goal of usability testing is to help you understand how real users interact with a product. When you conduct a test at the right time, you have the cushion space to solve the problem without wasting a lot of time or resources. That’s what a usability test does.
It helps to identify problems at every milestone or every step you take and helps you fix the problem right there and then. This ultimately helps build an optimized version of the product that the users find easy to use.
Role of Visual Design Play in a UX Audit
When conducting a UX audit, most auditors focus on visual design as part of the development process, making it an essential part to consider from the very beginning of the project.
There are a few facets to consider when you implement a UX audit:
UI assets comprise brand materials like fonts, logos, videos, and more used online. A UX audit finds inconsistencies in asset presentation across platforms, ensuring updated assets for a cohesive user experience among different team members, from social media to app developers.
Typography mistakes can significantly impact user experience. Typeface choices convey personality and brand tone; using numerous or mismatched fonts confuses users and hinders brand comprehension. Typography’s dual role—evoking emotion and aiding practicality—enhances readability and information hierarchy through headers. A UX audit guides optimal typographical strategies for a seamless user journey and efficient content discovery.
Recent research reveals that 41% of users prioritize simplicity, while 59% appreciate captivating web design. That means cleanliness is the most sought-after element in the design world. A minimal design is impressive and professional and gives users the impression that they’re using an authoritative product. A UX audit shows you how to enhance and make the visual complexity consistent.
Content Evaluation in Assessing User Engagement
Tracking and measuring user engagement is critical to your business’s ROI, but it’s also essential to build on other factors and measure more metrics — and one of those is content evaluation.
Content creation is a top priority for 80% of marketers. This shows how important content marketing is for businesses looking to build an edge in the marketplace.
But to work its magic, your content must have a brand-specific style and tone so that people understand you at first glance. That means you must conduct a content audit, which will be part of the UX audit. This audit will help systematically analyze the content on your website or your application. For instance, you can conduct an audit to evaluate the effectiveness and relevance of your web content or maybe to identify areas for improvement.
Conducting UX Audit
Churn rates keep on skyrocketing, and users rarely convert, but you aren’t able to pinpoint the exact problem. The app might need a small fix, or maybe the problem is a major redesign. So, in a case like that, a UX audit will help you quickly answer where the problem is and fix it in the most affordable manner.
Here are some steps to follow:
1. Identify Goals and Resources
Every project needs a proper set of goals that help to determine what can be achieved and what you need to get things in order.
Conducting an audit just for ticking the box is a bad idea if you don’t plan on taking the initiative and working towards your business objectives.
When starting with the UX audit, make sure you define the following:
- Ultimate Goal – Your goals will vary depending on your target metrics that correspond to your business specifics.
- Participants – You’ll also have to determine who’ll be involved in the audit and ensure the participants understand what you expect customers to experience when using the product.
- Budget and Timeline – It’s important to establish and break the timeline into different milestones. It’s also important to be aware of the budget you’ll be spending and keep a proper trace of that.
2. Gather the Data
The previous step outlines the audit goals and helps you understand the information needed to achieve them. The next step is to determine how and where to retrieve the necessary data.
Some of the major information sources that you can refer to during a UX audit include the following:
A quick survey asking general questions about the product’s purpose, problems, and how the management wants to fix them can be a great starting point for business analysis.
This helps better understand the potential users of a product and also gain valuable (and trustworthy) information from stakeholders and business owners.
Who can be better at talking about user experience than the users themselves? So, when doing the UX adult, you should aim to gather as much customer data as possible.
Businesses usually focus on buyer personas, but extracting information about customers from stakeholder interviewers who have a good knowledge of their customers is also helpful.
Analytical tools like heatmap analysis and traffic analytics are insightful data sources for the UX audit.
For instance, Google Analytics provides diagnostic metrics like dwell time and bounce rate, which show how much time users spend on your website. These can be used to analyze how users engage with or abandon your content after landing on the website.
A heatmap analysis is crucial as it represents how users interact with your website. Some heatmaps document cursors’ movements, while others track clicks and scrolls. The goal is to understand user behavior onsite and unveil potential falls in the customer journey.
3. Organize Your Data
It’s important to keep your data in proper hierarchical data. It helps to aggregate findings for further analysis. You can also keep records on cloud platforms and make them accessible to all participants for collaboration.
4. Create a Comprehensive Report
Once the analysis is done, the outcomes should be compiled into a comprehensive report that provides advice on improving user experience. This report can contain the following:
- Quantitative data analysis
- Customer interview recordings
All this data is collected during the UX audit.
5. Implement Your Findings
The last step is to implement all your findings. Whatever valuable insights you get during the UX audit won’t make sense unless those recommendations are properly implemented.
It’s also crucial that all departments agree on the suggested implementations, as user experience is built by effective collaboration.
Common UX Issues and Solutions
During a UX audit, many usability issues come to light. Usability issues that are highlighted include user retention, conversion, and customer loyalty. These can range from minor annoyances to major frustrations that provoke users to abandon the website.
Let’s understand how you can eliminate these issues:
Improve Navigation and User Flow
When building a user flow, you should think like your customer. Try to put yourself in their shoes and think about the problems the customer can face. Customers have different problems, which can give birth to usability issues affecting user retention.
A UX audit helps enhance the user flow by looking at the product from the user’s perspective. By solving the user’s requirements through the findings in the UX audit, you can refine the navigation for your software product.
Build a User Journey
A customer journey is a way to understand the experience of your website from a visitor’s perspective. In other words, you’ll be putting yourself in your potential customer’s shoes and going through the entire website.
This journey map is like a visually diagrammed map of the path visitors will take when using our website – from the homepage to the main menu to the subsections – to find what they’re looking for. The problems that the user might face along the way can be clearly identified by a UX audit. The findings can be exceptionally helpful in refining your website design.
Improve Visual Design and Aesthetics
A user will form an impression of the product within 50 milliseconds. That means the user’s first impression or instinct of reaction to a design is deeply emotional. If they don’t like what they see, they’ll click back. The UXX audit helps to give more insights on how to enhance the visual design and aesthetics that match your audience.
It can be easy to get carried away with design, so wireframing is an important part of the visual design process. A wireframe is a framework that helps create a website layout. This will give the product its structure.
The next important step is to create a mockup, a visual representation of a product. A mockup is a practical implementation of what the product will look like. During this stage, you can experiment with the visual side of the product to see what works best.
Optimize Content to Enhance User Engagement
Content optimization should be done for humans and not bots, so it becomes search engine friendly and more potential customers can land on your website. This optimization, driven by a UX audit, directs relevant traffic to your site and enhances user engagement.
If you don’t optimize your content, your site or precut will get lost in the Google vortex. You might have the best product out there in the market, but without optimization, you won’t be able to find the right audience.
Here are a few tips you can use to optimize content:
- Use keywords that have low competition but the high search volume
- Cover the topic in detail and be consistent in your format
- Give the entire piece of content a coherent heading structure so search engine bots can make sense of your content
Benefits of a UX Audit
UX audit is a systematic evaluation that helps you make smarter and more strategic decisions so you can improve user experience. It helps to analyze your software product, mobile application, or any other technical product.
The valuable data gathered helps to make improvements and troubleshoot issues so everything is user-centric and works according to what the user expects.
Let’s take a look at how UX audit benefits your company in more detail:
Improves User Satisfaction
User satisfaction is key when you’re focusing on a UX audit. That’s because the ultimate goal of your product is to meet the expectations and needs of its users. If it fails to do so, it’s not fulfilling its role.
For instance, if you’ve browsed a website and noticed that one of the links doesn’t direct you to the intended page, you are most likely to abandon ship and leave the website. Users might even share their disappointment and discourage other potential users from using the website.
Does this have any consequences? Yes. The website is likely going to end up with lower customer retention rates, a poor reputation, and do badly when it comes to sales. UX audit helps you understand these issues and eliminate them, increasing user satisfaction.
For instance, Scandiweb, a digital strategy and web development company, conducted a UX audit based on a Jugular online store analysis. They created a customer journey map for the comprehensive user experience analysis and worked on recommendations based on the insights they received.
Accessibility takes center stage when it comes to optimizing a user design. When you’re designing a layout, it’s important to ensure that the application creates an inclusive experience that caters to different, diverse users.
A comprehensive UX audit helps to focus more on ease of navigation, color contrasts, keyboard accessibility, visual hierarchy, and typography and improves the overall aesthetic appeal. All these features help to facilitate equal access to users with both neurodiverse conditions and physical disabilities.
Leads to Potential Cost Savings
Cost savings and the time invested are two major concerns for most businesses, particularly when a business is focusing on growth. With an expanding client base comes an increased workload, and that brings higher staff volumes.
This is also a major point where UX audit benefits a business. It helps to prevent the need for expensive remedial actions in the future by detecting and addressing those potential issues early on.
Taking proactive action allows for the timely resolution of potential problems, ultimately leading to reduced expenses that may be required to rectify those problems later on.
Helps to Identify User Pain Points
Most UX designers focus on user pain points that might disrupt user journeys. Whether you’re a B2B or B2C business, you must eliminate any design flaws that may prevent a potential customer from engaging with your website.
When you retrace a user’s steps to see what might’ve prevented them from converting, you can uncover and fix underlying issues. The problem can be anywhere – broken CTA links, broken forms, or any keyword linked to the wrong page.
Leverages Competitor Advantage
Staying ahead of the competition is important for your business to thrive. There may be thousands of businesses in the same niche as yours, but you can make your business stand out by conducting UX audits and leveraging every insight to make fruitful improvements.
According to Zendesk, 61% of customers will likely switch to a competitor’s website after just one bad experience. So, to avoid that, it’s important to utilize UX audits and work closely on UX personas.
These personas uncover the demographics of your target audience, so you know what kind of audience is searching for a product like yours, their pain points, what they are looking for, what age group they fall into, and then realign your strategy to target these points.
UX audit can transform your product — and your profits — or it can be a waste of effort if you don’t take the right steps.
A UX audit helps move in the right direction and gives a new product perspective. It helps you increase customer acquisition, loyalty, or CTR rates on your product, but it also helps compare your product with competitive solutions. Ultimately, you’ll increase your profits by reducing costs and improve your value proposition by helping customers understand your product faster.
So, it’s essential to understand how to use the information from these audits and apply them in reality. Without application, there’s no use for audits, and without audits, you won’t be able to identify problems in your product and see where things can be improved.
Thus, an effective UX audit can turn around your business and significantly improve your product – backed with data-driven strategies that ultimately increase your ROI and impact your business fruitfully.