What is a UX Audit and how to do it?
A UX Audit is a complete review of a website to determine its level of satisfaction and friendliness with the user. The ultimate goal is to identify usability issues and generate recommendations to correct them.
Imagine you have a successful eCommerce and for a couple of years, you have a constant flow of views generating enough sales to maintain your company's profitability. But at some point, the traffic to your website decreases or remains at the usual average but generates a lower volume of sales.
When you notice that sales are declining, you review with your team to try to figure out what's going on and make small adjustments to your application or website, but the changes applied do not improve conversions.
Something smells fishy but no matter how many changes you make, you can't figure out why your users stopped being interested in interacting with your website! How do you know what to do to keep the ship afloat and continue growing?
STOP RIGHT THERE!
It's time to stop tinkering with the design and do a UX audit so that a third party can give you a hand to see things that you and your team are overlooking.
What is a UX Audit?
The term UX stands for User Experience and refers to evaluating how a user feels while using a digital or physical product or service.
A UX audit is a thorough review of a website to determine the level of satisfaction and friendliness for the user. The ultimate goal is to identify usability issues and generate recommendations to correct them.
A UX audit helps answer the following questions:
What works and what doesn't on our website?
Where is the user experiencing excessive friction?
Where do users frequently abandon their path?
What causes frustration that leads users to abandon the site?
What is the nature of the frustration? Did they not like something, or was there a lack of information?
What metrics are we collecting on our website, and which important ones are we forgetting to collect?
What do the data we collect on our website tell us about our users' needs?
When implementing suggested solutions, are the results similar to or better than those of other websites in the same industry?
What measures have been implemented, and what impact did they have on the metrics?
Is a UX Audit the same as Usability Testing?
Many times it is believed that a UX audit is only about conducting usability tests.
However, that is not entirely true. Usability testing is just a small part of what a UX audit involves. Through usability testing, we analyze user behavior based on their navigation, but that is all.
A UX audit, on the other hand, involves analyzing other aspects of user behavior, combining the results of those analyses with others obtained from online and offline sources (such as surveys and questionnaires, expert reviews, in addition to usability testing). Manuals are also established with the steps to follow to improve the user experience, among other aspects that we will detail below.
The UX audit will reveal, among other things, the level of satisfaction and ease of use that the website has for the users who access and interact with it.
Advantages of a UX Audit
The great advantage of a UX audit is that it provides objective data rather than assumptions or hunches, explaining why users may face problems on a website that limit interaction with it. The main advantages are:
Knowing where customers face the greatest friction in their product and why they abandon the app or website
Design improvements based on data analysis and surveys, not assumptions
Clarity on the steps to follow to solve the problems detected
Obtaining new perspectives on user behavior and what customers value most about your product
With an improved design system and user interface, development costs will be reduced
Improving customer retention, activation, happiness, and success
Increasing product profitability
Behind a UX audit is the desire to improve customer satisfaction and, as a result, reduce development costs and increase product profitability.
When should a UX audit be conducted?
It is recommended to carry out a complete audit when the UX of our product or service has never been thoroughly analyzed and we have very little or no information about what aspects may be problematic.
It is also recommended whenever we detect that something may not be working correctly. This does not mean that usability testing should not be performed on an ongoing basis.
Who performs UX Audits?
If a company has the infrastructure and resources to have an in-house team of application and website developers, a UX audit can be carried out by the internal team. However, it is still recommended to consider an external agency because the perspective of third parties is valuable and can reveal data that your team may be overlooking.
The team that carries out the UX audit should involve people from the following areas: Development, Design, Sales, and Marketing. Developers are a key part of the team that performs a UX audit, but people from areas such as Sales and Marketing should also be included.
What are the steps to perform a UX Audit?
Any UX audit should include six consecutive phases, which are:
1. Interviews with various areas of the company to establish clear and measurable objectives
Before conducting the audit, we must understand the purpose and objectives.
To obtain this information, interviews are conducted with the people in charge of the company and product direction. The objectives must be clear, achievable, and measurable.
For example, instead of a generic objective like "increase sales or newsletter subscriptions," it should be a measurable one such as "increase sales by 20% or obtain 1,000 new newsletter subscribers." The objectives are established in conjunction with the client to verify their feasibility.
2. Interviews with end-users of your product to understand the real target
To fulfill this step, it is necessary to have interviews with real end users of our services to create a description that clearly portrays the user profile we are targeting.
We need to understand the age range, gender, occupation, and interests of our users. If we don't understand who our users are, it's impossible to understand what type of website model is appropriate.
3. Analysis to understand user navigation behavior
Navigation flow analysis allows us to know how much time users spend on our website, which sections they are most interested in, which information they skip, why they omit or skip information, when they feel frustration, and when they leave the site.
4. Quantitative analysis of our website's metrics
At a technical level, we have various web analytics tools that can help us collect information about our users' experience on our website. The main tools for carrying out this analysis are:
Google Analytics: to know valuable and detailed information about our users at a quantitative level, such as the number of visits, clicks, CTR (number of clicks compared to the number of impressions), bounce rate (people who do not interact with the website), as well as allowing us to carry out A/B tests.
Hotjar or CrazyEgg: record user screen recordings of our website or heat maps.
Kissmetrics: provides us with information about real and identified users and not anonymously like Google Analytics.
5. Perform a Heuristic Evaluation
The Heuristic Evaluation is basically a walkthrough that a UX Expert does on the website as an average user would while taking note of each situation that could represent obstacles or unanswered questions, ensuring that the user experience meets the set goals.
Throughout the process, we will take notes and screenshots that detail each and every challenge or pain point found. We must use checklists based on Nielsen's heuristics and its 10 basic principles of usability.
6. Create a report or manual with conclusions and recommendations
As a result of the UX Audit, a report must be created with all the conclusions and subsequently, recommendations to improve the user experience on our website.
The recommendations must be clear, detailed, feasible and implementable and will affect everything from web design to programming the website or online store.
It is recommended to incorporate explanatory text accompanied by wireframes or prototypes that support these recommendations.
The UX Audit not only analyzes and informs about the errors on your website but also includes a manual of solutions and recommendations.
MORE THAN AN EXPENSE, AN INVESTMENT
It is possible that conducting a UX audit represents an expense for your business that you had not planned for, but it is important to remember that the essence of a UX audit is not only to criticize and identify what is not working, but also to make proposals for improvement.
It is often said that for every $1 dollar spent on a UX audit, you have a return on investment (ROI) of $100 dollars, making it more of an investment than an expense.