There’s a famous saying by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “He who moves not forward, goes backward.” This principle applies to various situations and things, including the already developed and implemented software products. Thanks to these words of wisdom, you can understand better how crucial is conducting a UX audit. Especially in a highly digitized, rapidly evolving technological world. Our IT solutions should comply with the current trends and design standards. Also, they should always respond to the needs and limitations of the target users. The usability analysis allows brands to create solutions consciously and with various objectives in mind.
In this article, we explain what is a UX audit. When it should be performed? What rules should be followed to gain insightful knowledge that will help you improve your online presence? Read on.
What is a UX audit?
A UX audit is an analysis of the usability and intuitiveness of the interface. It’s checked in terms of its compliance with specific standards, patterns, and design norms. It can be performed on a website, a mobile app, or any other software product that is used by a specific audience. The main goal of such an audit is to prove that the solution is as user-centric as possible and to detect the issues that disturb these aspirations.
The users of our software determine what actions we take as the creators. That’s because we build software products for them specifically. We should be aware of their motivations, needs, interests, and requirements which are constantly changing over time. With the help of a UX audit, we are able to control on an ongoing basis whether “everything is fine” or why “it no longer works” as it did at the beginning.
Customer behaviors are shaped by societal standards, cultural trends, and other factors that influence people’s habits. Design principles also evolve every year. It means that certain IT products available on the market become less user-friendly, which results in decreased interest and traffic. That can, of course, lead to lower sales and revenue.
When a UX audit is a must?
Many factors may indicate the need for a website, online store, or application audit. Even if we do not see any signals suggesting that our solution is no longer intuitive or that the demand among users drops, carrying regular UX audits dedicated to checking the solution’s usability is definitely worth it. Even if we introduce small corrections, it might prevent users from getting irritated or impatient with the product. Therefore, we can prevent their resignation from your service, which is the ultimate success.
Pay attention to these symptoms to know if your product might require a UX audit:
- a long, slow decrease in conversions,
- a sudden drop in conversions, for example after product redesign,
- a low number of page views.
A usability audit is necessary in the following cases:
- if you want to find out whether your product meets the expectations and is in tune with your business goals,
- if you want to make sure your product’s usability and intuitiveness are as assumed before its release,
- in case of suspicion that interactions with the software may cause negative feelings among users.
You should react with awareness to any unusual situations. They bring positive value because they let you know that changes have to be done in order to improve your solution.
What are the benefits of a UX audit?
Firstly, following the conclusions from the audit means that the product becomes more customer-centric. The users feel more comfortable using it and can achieve their goals. That translates directly to higher client retention. It’s also a chance to obtain positive opinions and recommendations which helps companies increase their user base even more. People like to tell their friends and family about products they enjoy using.
Brands that invest in changes and constant improvement of their solutions gain long-term customer loyalty. When your audience sees that you invest in the software you offer and refine it for their benefit, they trust your company more. Today’s users are demanding mainly due to the fact that the market offers them a lot of similar digital products. Therefore, you should try to meet their requirements and adapt your product accordingly.
Last but not least, an app that thrives with customers helps enterprises reach their business objectives. If you want to take advantage of all the benefits mentioned above, you need to regularly update your solution.
The elements of a proper UX audit
It’s impossible to strictly define a framework for every UX audit. However, there are certain guidelines to follow. They can help kickstart the whole process and keep you focused on important matters.
Certainly, audit activities start with business analysis. That’s because at the beginning you need to get to know the product, its assumptions, target audience, current situation, and expectations of all involved stakeholders. The gathered information will help you outline the next audit activities to be performed.
Ready-made tools that provide valuable data can be a great help here. For example, Google Analytics or HotJar display specific information on recipient behaviors within a website. Analyze your stack and pick every source that could be handy during a UX audit.
Now, let’s get back to the user.
What they do is the most essential factor to consider. It also showcases if your product meets its business goals. The analysis of the user paths and journeys is probably the most important aspect of the usability audit. Are they able to achieve their goal by going through your software’s interface? Do they encounter any problems while interacting with it? Answering these questions should be your top priority.
To analyze such paths, we can use a method called cognitive wandering. The researcher plays the role of the customer and carries out their typical tasks. They want to find out if they will stumble upon any difficulties that the user could also experience. Another useful method is creating a customer journey map. Thanks to it, we are able to perform a detailed analysis of each step and detect potential problems.
Another method used in UX audits is called heuristic evaluation. Such an analysis is used to check the intuitiveness of the implemented solution in terms of its compliance with particular norms and standards to make it more user-friendly and legible.
Which of the above will you choose strongly depends on the specificity of the product and customer expectations. For example, you can also perform user research with surveys. There are many possibilities that are focused on various variables. Choose the one that matches your software and your needs.
What should be included in a UX audit report?
The final result of the UX audit is presented in the form of a report. It should mainly contain a list of errors and corresponding recommendations, the implementation of which will make the product more usable.
The errors listed in the report are often classified into three categories: critical, medium, and small. It’s extremely important when implementing changes. The malfunctions from the first category should be eliminated as soon as possible. That’s because they have a significant impact on the functioning of the system. Medium and small problems are fixed after that.
The UX audit report can be done in writing, but it can also have a visual form. It can contain screenshots, mockups, and examples of recommended changes. Thus, the appearance of the report depends on your company’s needs. It can be agreed upon in the initial phase of collaboration with the party that will perform the UX audit.
What are the most common UX errors?
The first example of a UX-related mistake that might discourage the customer from using a solution is a too-long user path towards a specific goal your software promises. For instance, many eCommerce websites have shopping journeys that consist of multiple complex steps. The user’s joy with the purchase begins to fade due to the obligation to enter a large amount of data, set up an account, etc. Oftentimes, they drop the process halfway through. Moreover, even if they don’t do that, their thought afterwards could be “never again”.
Another problem is the appearance of the website or application itself. It can be too overwhelming or chaotic. When exploring the content within the system, the user should feel comfortable. They must feel like they are the most important subject here, not the ads that pop up in every possible place. Also, an overly large range of colors or features can cause confusion, and thus discourage the user from taking the next steps.
A common mistake when it comes to UX is insufficient communication with the user. It comes in different shapes – from inconsistent validation of fill-in form fields to a lack of messages about technical failures. The user should always know what is happening, why something has not worked, and what needs to be done differently in order to fulfill their goal.
Conclusion – are UX audits worth your efforts?
Definitely! Reaching out to your audience will always pay off. Knowing them better will let you adjust your product according to their wants and needs. Being aware of what is going on within the tech industry is also a plus in this case. This way, you can create a future-proof software solution that will always be one of the main pillars of your business.
An approach based on regular UX audits means your product will be ready for the challenges of time, civilizational rush, and technological development. Learning from experiences we have is the best way to develop. That’s the truth not only for digital products but also for people themselves.
We encourage you to perform UX audits with your trusted outsourcing partner that takes care of your IT needs. Also, if you want to build a software solution from scratch, pick a provider that will take care of UX design in the smallest detail and check it before deployment. At G-Group.dev, we deliver high-quality, robust websites and apps that have all elements on point. Contact us to get a quote and start your digital journey today.