Consider this: You run an eCommerce store where you sell bespoke sneakers and hoodies. Every day, thousands of potential customers browse your website and/or app. They complete the customization steps and add the items to their cart, proceed to the checkout page, and then poof! They’ve abandoned the cart.
Obviously, you would be wondering why. Was there anything missing or too confusing? You are unsure whether your app/website needs a complete overhaul or a few tweaks will fix the problem.
This is only one of the challenges faced by website/app owners. But, instead of dwelling on the problem, you need to figure out what is the problem and how can it be fixed. And, this is where UX audit comes in.
UX Audit: The What and Why of It
A UX audit refers to an expert assessment of the performance of your app/website in terms of usability and user experience. The process analyses and rates the current user journeys to reveal the areas of improvement.
An enterprise product stands to gain a lot from a UX audit exercise because the actionable recommendations or follow-up activities are all based on empirical data and not on random guesses.
Now that you’ve got an idea of what UX audit is, let’s delve deeper into why SMEs need it.
Typically, SMEs and entrepreneurs start with the basic structuring of their website/app. This includes branding, structure, the platform flow, and messaging for a user to experience on the online platform. And a majority of it is based on assumptions over layouts, designs, and messages existing across digital platforms. Also, it is worth mentioning that many businesses get aggressively inspired from competitors and attempt to emulate the same – thinking, if it worked for them, it should work for us.
While this assumption might be true, but what if it isn’t? Shareholders are breathing down your necks and investors threatening to pull out because your website/app just isn’t bringing any ROI. This is why businesses need to slow down and analyze what’s working and what’s not. This is where UX audit kicks in. And once you know what’s broken and you make the necessary fixes, you can boost customer satisfaction and increase your conversions.
Furthermore, Forester’s research revealed that every dollar invested in UX is likely to bring 100 dollars in return.
What Can a UX Audit Reveal?
UX audit might not be the panacea for all the woes that your website/app is facing because it is ineffective if the recommendations are not actionable or if you decide to not follow up on the audit. However, the audit will still answer the following profound questions:
A. What is working and what’s not?
B. What does the data reveal regarding user needs?
C. Which metrics are already being collected and which ones should be collected?
D. What strategies have already been tried and what impact did they have on the metrics?
When to Do a UX Audit?
If you wish to learn more about your target audience and grow your business; then, you’ll benefit significantly from a UX audit. Startups wanting to validate their MVPs will also find UX audits extremely useful.
You can consider a user experience audit as a health check that can be conducted at any time during a product’s life cycle to assess current performance issues and find areas for improvement.
Thinking of redesigning your app/website? It’ll be a good time to undertake a holistic design audit so that you can detect problems, analyze the present user flows and identify bottlenecks or distractions. This will help you in revamping your digital products using the right data.
A UX audit can also be conducted if you are planning to implement new functionality and wish to know whether it’ll be a valuable addition to your product.
Also, it is important to point out that a UX audit is not only meant for an existing app/website. The same process can be applied to validate the design of a new app/website before development.
What Does the Process Entail?
1. Website/mobile analytics
Analytic tools offer quantitative data on traffic flows, traffic flows, and trends. It can also reveal user flows within the app/website, what users are doing before and after visiting your website, conversion hotspots, and so on. You can even get to see the churn rates and heat maps. You can use this data to make relevant changes and plan a design revamp.
2. Heuristic product evaluation
While analytics offer quantitative data, heuristic evaluations offer qualitative data. It allows you to see things from the POV of the users. You can take notes as you attempt to achieve user goals and also focus on identifying obstacles. To stay focused, follow Nielson’s heuristics.
3. Sales figures/conversion rates
Sales or number of downloads is important because this is will give you an idea of whether your product is catering to the user pain points. If the number is low, you’ll have the data to make the necessary changes. A UX audit will reveal why conversion rates, sales figures, and download numbers are low.
5. User surveys/stakeholder interviews
You cannot avoid getting user feedback or talking to stakeholders when conducting a UX audit. You need to get their insight as to what challenges they’re facing, what’s missing, and what they want. This is why questioning and interviewing stakeholders and conducting user surveys is a crucial part of a UX audit.
A UX audit concludes with the handover of a list of recommendations that cover the strategies that ought to be followed, along with actionable suggestions.
A UX audit is comprehensive and detail-oriented. It requires significant investment in terms of human resources and time. If you’re planning to do it internally, make sure that you have experienced UX auditors on your team. If not, it would be a good idea to outsource it to professionals like Divami. Because you cannot take a UX audit lightly. It is only through the audit process that you’ll learn of the drawbacks and areas of improvement of your app/website. The audit report will help you to make data-driven changes so that both ROI and user satisfaction can be achieved.