Feb 02, 2023
5 min read
UX audits will help your digital products bloom. Check how to conduct a UX audit and use it to boost traffic and engagement.
What is a UX audit?
A UX (user experience) audit evaluates the usability, accessibility, and user-friendliness of a website or application. Auditors analyse the user interface (UI), the user flow, and the complete design to identify potential areas that may cause issues for the users. A UX audit is a way to find opportunities for improvement by understanding users’ needs, behaviours, and expectations. Its ultimate goal is to enhance the general user experience, increase user satisfaction and engagement, and boost conversions.
UX audit vs heuristic evaluation
Both UX audit and heuristic evaluation are used to assess the usability and user-friendliness of a website or application. However, there are three critical differences between these methods:
- Scope & methodology
A UX audit is based on UX research. It utilises both quantitative and qualitative research methods to gather data and understand the user’s needs. A heuristics-based evaluation focuses on looking for usability issues using established guidelines.
- Evaluation criteria
The user experience evaluation in a UX audit depends on user feedback to identify areas for improvement. A heuristic evaluation highlights usability issues, such as consistency and learnability.
A UX audit is usually conducted with the user in mind. In contrast, heuristic evaluation is often performed by experts, e.g. usability specialists or UX designers.
In other words, a UX audit is usually more comprehensive and user-centric. The areas of improvement identified while conducting a UX audit come from user needs and behaviours. On the other hand, a heuristic evaluation aims to find usability issues by comparing them to the list of guidelines and best practices.
Why is a UX audit so important?
A UX audit is an essential part of a digital product’s maintenance. Auditors can point out the areas of a website or an application that can frustrate or confuse the users. Regular UX audits help businesses anticipate potential problems and lead to improved user engagement, increased conversion rates, and, as a consequence, a better bottom line for the business.
Identifying usability issues through UX audits enhances user experience. A happy user turns into a happy client, which leads to increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention. A UX audit can also help determine other areas for improvement, i.e., design, content, and functionality, boosting conversion rates, revenue, and ROI.
By regularly checking their digital products, businesses stay ahead of the competition. Their website or application remains up-to-date with the latest design trends, user experience best practices, and accessibility standards.
Finally, a UX audit can also help find potential legal compliance issues and avoid costly lawsuits related to accessibility and web design.
How to conduct a UX audit
The process of conducting a UX audit consists of five stages.
1. Defining the scope and goals of the audit
Before starting an audit project, it’s crucial to establish your audit goals and the areas of the product you want to evaluate. It guides the audit process and ensures you collect all the relevant information.
2. Conducting UX research and testing
You can’t conduct a UX audit without UX research and testing – so without gathering feedback from real users and understanding their needs and behaviours. You can collect this data through various methods, e.g. user surveys, interviews, focus groups, usability testing, and analytics.
3. Analysing the user interface and user flow
Once the UX research and testing are done, you should move on to the analysis of the user interface and user flow. This means assessing the product’s layout, design, navigation, and usability.
4. Identifying issues and areas for improvement
Based on collected data and the analysis of the user interface and user flow, determine your product’s weak points and areas for improvement. Potential issues can include usability, accessibility, design, content, and functionality.
5. Creating a findings report and writing recommendations
How should a UX audit presentation look? Once you’ve analysed your data and determined potential issues, present your findings in the form of a report. The UX audit findings report should be clear, concise, evidence-supported, and easy to understand. It should include recommendations for improvements and a plan for implementing those changes. It’s also important that the report can be easily shared with your stakeholders.
How long should a UX audit take?
It’s hard to determine the length of a UX audit as it depends on the size and complexity of the digital product that’s being evaluated. A small website may only take a few days to audit, but a larger, more complex website can extend this process to several weeks.
Conducted UX research and testing also plays a role in establishing the duration of the UX audit. A more comprehensive audit needs a deeper dive into research – a UX audit based on user testing, surveys and analytics will undeniably take longer than a usability audit based solely on heuristic evaluation.
Another factor determining the UX audit’s length is the availability of resources, such as budget and team size. With a larger team and a bigger budget, you can conduct more comprehensive UX research and testing, leading to a longer audit.
So what’s the final verdict? How long should a UX audit take? Anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on the size, complexity, and depth of the audit. Make sure you set a realistic timeline to achieve goals at the beginning of the UX audit process to ensure that all stakeholders know what to expect.
How do you present a UX audit?
As mentioned earlier, a UX audit is usually present in a form of a report that includes a summary of the findings and recommendations for improvements and redesign. It should also be clear, data-driven, and presented in a format that is easy to share with stakeholders.
A UX auditor should include the following in their findings report:
- Executive summary: a concise overview of the audit process, findings, and recommendations.
- Methodology: A description of the UX research methods used during the audit, e.g. user testing, surveys, interviews, and analytics.
- Results: An exhaustive analysis of the findings, including usability issues, weak points, and areas for improvement.
- Recommendations: A list of recommendations for product improvements involving redesign, content updates, and functionality enhancements.
- Implementation plan: A big-picture plan outlining the steps that have to be taken to implement necessary changes.
- Conclusion: A summary of the key findings and recommendations.
The report should be visually appealing, so use images, diagrams, and charts to show the results. It is also essential to present the findings and recommendations in an actionable way and provide clear next steps, timelines and budget for the implementation.
If you plan to present your UX audit, plan and prepare a follow-up meeting or Q&A session after the presentation so you can address any concerns from other stakeholders.
How much does a UX audit cost?
The UX audit price varies as much as its length. It depends mainly on the same factors: the size and complexity of the product that’s being evaluated. A basic UX audit based on a heuristic evaluation with a recommendations report can cost a few thousand dollars, but a more thorough audit, including UX research, testing, and analytics, can raise the bar up to tens of thousands of dollars.
The price of the UX audit is affected by a few crucial factors:
- Size and complexity of the product,
- The number of pages or screens to be evaluated,
- The number of users to be tested,
- The level of detail required in the report.
It can also be influenced by the availability of resources, e.g. budget and team size.
However, it’s essential to remember that a UX audit is not a cost but an investment if you weigh it against potential benefits, such as increased conversion rates, revenue and customer satisfaction. Well-conducted, regular UX audits bring a significant return on investment in the long run.
UX audit tools
When it comes to conducting a UX audit, there are several tools you can use. Some of the most helpful include:
User testing software
This kind of software is great for user testing and gathering feedback.
Examples: UserTesting, OptimalSort, CrazyEgg
Heat mapping tools
These tools help track your user’s clicks, taps, and mouse movements on your website.
Examples: Hotjar, CrazyEgg, Mouseflow
Accessibility testing tools
You can use these tools to access your website’s accessibility.
Examples: aXe, WAVE, Lighthouse
User interface (UI) design tools
These tools will help you with wireframing, creating mockups, and prototyping and allow you to check the usability of various design choices.
Examples: Sketch, Figma, Adobe XD
You can take advantage of these tools to track user behaviour and find parts of your product that generate problems for your users.
Examples: Google Analytics, Mixpanel
You can use these tools to find out what your users think about your product.
Examples: SurveyMonkey, Typeform
UX audits are what you need to keep your digital product up-to-date with current design trends, user experience (UX) best practices, and accessibility standards. A UX specialist should perform them and tell you what can be improved and how. And when conducted regularly, they will help keep your digital products optimised and always meet the user’s needs.