What no one told you about UX Audit?

“ Are you new to understanding UX Audit but the more you read about it, the more nerve itching it felt ? Well then this article can help you find peace in this chaos as we discuss two fundamental questions :

  1. What is ‘UX Audit’ and why is there so much noise about it ?
  2. If UX Audit is actually a way forward (for your problem)”

Today if you google search the word “UX Audit”, you will find a plethora of suggestions drop in your search bar — template, case study, checklist, process, meaning and so forth. The good part here is that you will find all kinds of articles and information online but sadly not the one that would really make your life easy.

And for those who fear missing out any piece of information would straight away dive into it one tab after another only to be perplexed with so much content.

So what is a UX Audit ?

A simple definition would be “It is a structured way to go through your Saas product in order to highlight the flaws in user experience by performing expert analysis”

A UX audit will enable you to bring out the anomalies and issue areas in the steps taken to complete a task or goal by your users.The ultimate goal is to improve a user’s experience while they engage with your website, mobile app, software etc.

While the ultimate goal is to make end users feel satisfied with the whole experience of using your product, with audits a researcher gets to collaborate from multiple stakeholders and decide the best practices whereas a usability will let you jot down inputs from users actions alone. UX audits will consider everything from the pre-established set of standards and goals, while reviewing the system and testing the usability.

The process of auditing will typically include analysis of your business objectives, user need, conversion metric, customer feedback, and various data. To do so, one must structure a UX audit in order to encompass them all in your plan.

  1. The first stage is to conduct a discovery session with stakeholders

This is where you must uncover all the issues that exist, from the company’s perspective. Also use this session to learn what they know about their customers. Put your thinking cap on and ask stakeholders questions !

2. Next is mapping out the customer journey — Here we bring out the existing user flows. Doing so will give you an overview of all the possible journeys, end goal/s, steps taken and all the functionalities. This mapping exercise will help you mark out the flaws, blockages that need your attention !

3.Then comes the heuristic evaluation — At this stage we identify opportunities that will identify with existing usability problems by using an established heuristic evaluation set like Jakob Nielsen’s 10 general principles for user interface. Here you examine the interface and judge its compliance with recognised usability principles.

4.Next is conducting user interviews

This is where primary research is done based on the information gathered and hypotheses formed in the previous stages. Here you ask your users questions in order to validate any assumptions. Your task is to debunk any misleading assumptions by conducting sessions or interviews with users.

5. Last but not least, making reports — Now that you have gathered information, connected the dots and built up actionable recommendations, it is time to sell that story. Explain the limitations of the existing features and show them the difference your recommendation will make. Put your insights into one report with visual aids. This is a make or break situation, so better nail it !

But still ! Why should I do a UX audit ?

Look below to this familiar hierarchy structure, based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, this is an illustration of UX hierarchy (created by experience strategist Hertje Brodersen ). To reduce the UX gaps in any of the stages would come from a well structured and executed UX Audit that gives you a holistic review of the system or product ecosystem and bring out the problem areas. But you can truly reap out its benefits only if you successfully deliver recommendations and highlight fix-up areas in the overall user experience.

Illustration of UX hierarchy (created by experience strategist Hertje Brodersen )

But how do I know this is the correct approach for the problem, that I am solving ?

Always remember the goal of a UX audit is to solely improve the user experience of your product. So if you associate your dropping sales figure with bad UX decisions over the past that creates clutter, slow responsive, irrelevant features and information in your UX, then yes you are now moving in the right direction.

Here are few questions, that UX Audit will help you figure out :

• What are the aspects of my product that need to be fixed ?

• Why are my users dropping off ? How do I retain them ?

• How can I move ahead of my competitors? What should I do to stay ahead ?

• “I think if I focus on this PROBLEM then my product will improve..”

A UX audit is a way forward to spot the trouble and explore which touch points in your product are not in a good place, breaking the sanity of your product.

UX Researcher and Design