Imagine you run a website that’s been successful for a while. You get a good amount of site traffic, and you’re generating revenue. But lately, you’ve noticed it isn’t performing as well as it used to. Your conversion rate has gone down, and you’re starting to get more complaints from users.
What’s going on?
It’s time for a UX audit.
A UX audit is a comprehensive review of a website or product, intending to identify performance issues and improve the overall user experience. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what a UX audit is, why it’s important, and how to create one with a step-by-step guide.
What is a UX audit?
A UX audit is a deep evaluation of a website or app’s performance.
It covers everything from the overall design to specific features and functions. By conducting a UX audit, you can identify areas that need improvement and make changes to improve your conversion rate, bounce rate, SEO, performance, and user satisfaction.
What are the benefits of a UX audit?
Good UX is essential for conversions. Bad UX can drive users away, leading to lost traffic and revenue. A UX audit will help you to identify any problems with your site’s user experience so that you can make meaningful, informed changes to improve it.
Three reasons why a UX audit is good for business:
1. A Smooth User Journey
It can help you identify areas of your website or app that need improvement. If you aren’t getting the results you want, it could be because users are having difficulty navigating your site or they’re unable to find the information they need. The end result is lost revenue.
2. Fewer Costly Fixes
A UX audit can also help you save money spent putting out fires. By identifying and fixing issues early on, you can avoid costly redesigns or rewrites down the road.
3. Better Understanding of Users
Finally, a UX audit can give you insights into your users that you wouldn’t otherwise have. By understanding how users interact with your site or app, you can make smarter design decisions and create a better product that serves your audience.
What are the limitations of a UX audit?
A UX audit is not a silver bullet, and it’s important to remember that its effectiveness will only be as good as the person conducting it. If you don’t have someone with the right skills and knowledge, your audit might do more harm than good.
A UX audit can also be time-consuming and expensive. If you’re on a tight budget or don’t have the resources to devote to a thorough evaluation, you might want to consider other options.
Finally, remember that a UX audit is only one tool in your arsenal. It can be helpful, but it’s not the only thing you should rely on to make decisions about your website or app.
What UX questions does an audit answer?
A typical UX audit will answer the following questions:
- How easy is it to use this website or app?
- How well does this website or app meet the needs of its users?
- What are the pain points in the user experience?
- Are there any areas in need of improvement?
- What does our data tell us about user needs?
- What have you tried before, and what impact did it have?
Who should do a UX audit, and when?
Ideally, an objective third party should run your UX audit. This could be an outside consultant or a company that specializes in UX evaluations.
If you don’t have the budget for an outside firm, you can still do an audit internally. Just make sure to choose someone who’s familiar with UX best practices and has the time to devote to a thorough evaluation.
As for when: it’s generally a good idea to do a UX audit whenever you’re making major changes to your website or app. This could be before a redesign, after you add a new feature, or any time you want to take a closer look at your user experience.
But what exactly does a UX audit involve? Let’s take a look.
What should your UX audit include?
When conducting a UX audit, there are a few key areas you’ll need to focus on:
- Usability: how easy is it for users to accomplish their goals on your site or app? Are there any areas that are confusing or difficult to use? Using Google Analytics, keep an eye on pages with high bounce rates. This could indicate that a specific page isn’t giving users what they need.
- User experience: how does your site or app make users feel? Is the overall experience positive or negative? User interviews can be particularly insightful here.
- Information architecture: is your content easy to find and navigate? Are there any areas that are difficult to understand? Track users as they use your site.
- Visual design: does your site or app look good? Is it visually appealing and easy on the eyes? Ask a range of people for a full picture.
- Accessibility: can users with extra requirements use your site or app? Are there any areas that need improvement?
These are just a few key areas you’ll need to focus on when conducting your UX audit. Depending on your specific goals, you may also want to look at other areas, such as performance, SEO, and security.
How to conduct a UX audit: a step-by-step guide
Here’s how to run your first audit.
1. Create a list of criteria
The first step in conducting a UX audit is to create a list of criteria that you’ll use to evaluate your website or product. This list should include everything from the overall design to specific features and functions.
2. Gather data
Next, it’s time to start gathering user testing, surveys, interviews, analytics, and market research — leave no stone unturned!
Here are some common behavioral metrics to track:
- Click-through rates
- Time on site
- Page views
- Bounce rate
- User testing
Top tools for collecting this data:
- CrazyEgg: Heatmaps, recordings, A/B testing
- FullStory: Recordings, session replays, heatmaps
- Google Analytics: User behavior data like page views, bounce rate, conversions, and more.
3. Analyze the data
Once you have all of your data, it’s time to start analyzing it. This is where you’ll be able to start identifying any problems or areas that need improvement.
Customer journey maps are a great way to visualize your data and see where users are struggling.
You should also perform a competitor analysis for benchmarking. It can give you a clear picture of the market landscape, including other products on the market, search engine rankings, and product features.
4. Create a report
After you’ve analyzed your data, it’s time to create a report of your findings.
The report should include everything from your list of criteria to your specific recommendations for improvement. It should be clear and concise (so stakeholders and non-tech types alike can understand it), and it should include specific steps needed to improve the UX.
Organize your data according to type, effort, and ROI potential. For example, if you have a list of changes you need to make to the visual design, create a section for that in your report. Focus on the high-ROI and quick wins first before moving down the list.
You can then add sub-sections for each change, a brief description of what you need to do, and an estimate of how long it will take to implement.
5. Implement the changes
Finally, once you’ve created your report, it’s time to start implementing changes. This could involve anything from a complete website redesign to hiring a copywriter to tweak your CTAs. Here are some common UX changes explained:
Responsive design tests involve making your site look good on all devices, from desktop to mobile, old and new. It also covers performance (site speed), ensuring your site loads quickly on all devices.
Your visual design should be consistent across all platforms, from your website to your mobile app. It should also be easy to understand and use, with clear labels and buttons that are easy to find and click on.
- Are images clear and aligned?
- Are CTAs easy to spot?
- Is the overall design pleasing to look at? Simplicity is key in visual design—so make sure your site is uncluttered and easy to navigate.
- Does the messaging fit your audience?
- Do the colors and fonts match your brand guidelines?
Words are just as important as images. If your brand voice is confusing, doesn’t give enough information, is full of typos and grammatical errors, or just sounds odd, then it’s a turn-off.
Format text correctly (Headers set to H1, lots of short paragraphs, easy-to-read font sizes), make it easy to understand, and use the right tone of voice for your brand. Ideally, you’ll have both a copywriter and a designer working on this in tandem.
You should consider accessibility in all aspects of your design, from the colors you use (are they contrasting enough?) to how you format your text (is the font size legible?).
Also, think about how easy it is for users to navigate your site. Are there clear labels and instructions? Is the overall layout easy to understand?
Consider using accessibility testing tools like WAVE, which will help you identify any areas that need improvement.
All of your site’s features should be working correctly — from the contact form to the search bar. Any broken links or pages that don’t load correctly will frustrate users and cause them to leave.
Make sure you regularly test all of your site’s features to ensure they’re working as they should be. You can use tools like Pingdom or GTmetrix to help with this.
UX audit: best practice
Now that you know how to conduct a UX audit, here are a few pointers to keep in mind:
- Make sure to involve all stakeholders in the process. This includes everyone from the CEO to the development team.
- Be prepared to make changes based on your findings. A UX audit is pointless if you’re not actually going to do anything with the results.
- Don’t try to do everything at once. Start with a few key areas and then expand from there.
- Be aware of its limitations. A UX audit is just one tool in your arsenal. It’s not a silver bullet, and it won’t fix all of your problems.
- Screenshot everything. As you’re going through your site, take screenshots of any areas that need improvement. This will make it easier to add them to your report later on.
- Look for patterns. As you’re going through your site, try to identify any patterns that emerge. For example, if you notice many users are having difficulty finding the search bar, that’s something you’ll want to focus on in your report.
- Organize into buckets. Once you have all your findings, the next step is to organize them into buckets. This will make it easier to identify which changes you need to prioritize. For example, you might want to create a bucket for visual design changes, another for copywriting improvements, and so on.
- Remember that a UX audit is an ongoing process. You should regularly audit your site or product to ensure it meets the needs of your users.
- Use the right tools. To run a successful UX audit, you’ll need to use the right tools. Diagramming software can help you visualize your data, while user testing tools can help you gather feedback from actual users.
By following these steps, you’ll be one step closer to a UX audit that’s thorough and effective. And by identifying and fixing problems early on, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and money. Not to mention, you’ll have happier customers who love using your site. When customer expectations are higher than they’ve ever been, having a site that can keep up with the best could be the difference between sinking and swimming.