Homepage > Journal > What is a UX Audit?

What is a UX Audit?

How you like that:

UX Audit — a glossary term for a SaaS managing director, online store owner, or E-Commerce manager.

Meet Tom, who founded a very interesting startup offering carpooling. Tom built a SaaS platform. Initially, the business was developing very well.

Month after month, the platform handled more and more passengers. After a year, Tom hired two additional programmers. After brainstorming, the team decided to make some improvements and simplify the website.

A month after the programmers introduced changes, Tom was surprised when he saw that the conversion rate of ordered trips fell by 10%. Even worse, the negative trend continued into the following month.

SaaS — software as a service, one of the cloud computing models in which the application is stored and executed on service providers' computers and is made available via the Internet.

Tom began to wonder what had happened. The initial diagnosis of Google Analytics did not look good. The bounce rate had increased, and the average number of visited pages had fallen.

A UX Audit provides a better understanding of the users of the website.

Conversion and UX Audit

Tom's most important problem is the decrease in conversion.

A completed activity, online or offline, that is important to the success of your business.

Source: Google Analytics

In the case of Tom, it's booking a ride. However, depending on the type of website, it can be the purchase of a service, filling out a form, subscribing to a newsletter, downloading a file, etc.

The conversion rate is important because it lets you know how many customers have achieved a goal on your site, i.e., what proportion of your customers/users yields profits. An increase in conversion translates directly into an increase in income.

Example: Suppose that before the changes, Tom's website was visited by 20.000 users per month. The conversion rate is 25%. On average, booking a ride brings Tom $5. The startup earns $25.000 monthly. A drop in the conversion rate by 10% (i.e., to the level of 22.5%) means a decrease in income by $2.500 a month.

Drawing of a presenter in front of a team
The scope of a UX Audit depends on the problem we are facing. | Source: Andy Bright / Flickr.com

UX Audit — User path or funnel

The user must perform several actions between entering a website and completing a goal. The funnel is a series of steps a user takes to accomplish a goal or, in other words, convert. On Tom's website, it's the choice of a route, interesting trip, number of seats in the car, as well as payment and final booking of the trip.

Google Analytics allows you to define the funnel and track the number of users progressing to each step. Funnel control enables you to react to problems with retention (retention on the site) of users in individual steps. Systematic analysis of the funnel allows you to find the source of problems on the website.

Tom managed to determine that after making changes to the website, the number of users choosing the number of seats in the car dropped.

Banner jakob nielsen

UX Audit — Definition

A UX Audit is a set of research methods and techniques that allow you to identify and understand the problems that a user faces on your website.

As the name suggests, the focus is on the user's perspective. Even the most experienced expert will not replace a conversation with a user, especially if they have a unique profile. Only users can discover less obvious insights and motives for us.

On the other hand, during the study, it's important to remember the platform's business goals. UX research helps us understand the user's needs and offer them the best product/ solution to the problem.

A person drawing on a board
In a UX Audit, knowing the user's path is important. | Source: Andy Bright / Flickr.com

What does a UX Audit consist of?

The scope of a UX Audit depends on the problem we are dealing with. Nevertheless, every UX Audit should start with determining the profile of a platform user (Persona) and the tasks they should perform on our platform.

The most commonly used research methods are:

1. Expert analysis — its purpose is to play the role of an expert and describe all possible threats to the task and the difficulties the user may encounter during the visit.

The analysis is based on the experience and knowledge of an expert, who is additionally supported by website statistics (e.g., Google Analytics) and research that the client has carried out.

2. Observation of users' behavior on the website with the help of specialized software. With the help of Hotjar or Yandex Metrica, we can watch video recordings and see how users behave in a natural environment.

3. Tests with users — the main advantage of this method is the ability to conduct in-depth interviews with users and understand the reasons for their behavior. Thanks to this, we can answer the question "why" instead of guessing what caused them to resign from performing an action.

The above methods are used to detect errors on the website. The evaluation of implemented solutions is another important topic. For this purpose, you can use A/B tests, but we will deal with this topic in a separate article.

A person typing on a computer
A/B tests allow you to check the implemented solutions. | Source: Andy Bright / Flickr.com

How did the UX Audit help Tom?

Typical Tom: Nobody knows my platform and my users better than I do!

Tom fell into the trap of his own intuition. He did not verify the functionality of solutions developed with his colleagues before implementation.

Starting the process of changes on the site with a UX Audit would give Tom a professional diagnosis of the issues occurring on the platform and the threats the user may encounter during the implementation of tasks.

However, the help of the researcher does not end at highlighting problematic areas. It also includes an attempt to understand their sources. Only by understanding the causes of the problem are we able to design an effective solution.

Why should you order a UX Audit?

For the same reason, students don't check their own tests.

Creating a digital product is a complicated process in which many people and departments of a company are often involved. Conducting an audit on your own may result in a lack of objectivity and omission of system faults before the end of the diagnosis "because it's impossible to do in any other way."

It should be remembered that the purpose of the audit is not to criticize the existing project but to look for areas where it can be improved and thus increase the company's profits by improving the functionality and increasing user satisfaction.

Audit of usability and Nielsen's heuristics

The basis of every UX Audit is a heuristic analysis consisting of 10 usability heuristics. They aim to provide users with the greatest level of comfort when using an interface. Designing according to heuristics works exceptionally well when we think about creating an online store.
Hero shot: Needpix.com

Do you want to conduct a UX Audit?

How you like that:
Journal / JPG / Krzysztof Jarocki - avatar
Author: Krzysztof Jarocki
UX Resercher

Are you interested in working with us? Take a look at our Portfolio