A user experience audit or usability audit is a professional and in-depth evaluation of your website's, web application's, or mobile app's user interface – which takes between two to four weeks. This helps you to identify potential usability problems through interviews and testing with your target audience.
This expert audit gives you a way to pinpoint less-than-perfect areas or under-performing parts of a digital product. It evaluates your digital product's different dimensions and reveals which sections or features to focus on first. The result of a user experience audit is a detailed report that shows what is working and what is not in your product, and what are your users' main pain points with the current design.
What Are The Benefits Of A User Experience Audit?
By this time, it should be evident that there are countless advantages to conducting a user experience audit.
A user experience audit provides you and your design team with actionable insights based on the gathered data, giving you clear guidance for your next steps. That means that you will use these directions to better understand your users, and by implementing a more user-centric approach, meet your business objectives.
However, please keep in mind that a user experience audit could go on indefinitely; it will have some limitations. Constraints like time and money will limit how long your user experience audit can last – therefore, you have to decide where to focus your energy to get the best possible insights during the audit.
Cassandra Naji points out, in an article for Usability Geek, that even if you have an internal user experience department, you might benefit from bringing in an outside UX consultant to conduct the audit. However, if your budget doesn't allow for this, you and your team should conduct the audit using usability best practices to be as unbiased as possible.
What does A User Experience Audit entail?
Interviews with stakeholders should be conducted at the earliest stage of the user experience audit, so the UX designer can understand its objectives for the product or website and what they view as the product's current pain points. To gather various insights from those who utilize the product, it's essential to cast a wide net with stakeholder interviews. These insights will help to generate a list of objectives for the user experience audit that reflect your stakeholders' priorities.
User interviews and surveys
Most companies collect user opinions and insights about the user experience of digital products on an everyday basis. These insights are precious pieces of information to analyze during a user experience audit. If you don't collect this kind of information, user interviews should be conducted to get their thoughts about different parts of the user experience or the product as a whole.
Usability heuristic evaluation
If the audited product or website doesn't follow several established usability heuristics that make a digital product work for users, the user experience will suffer. The heuristic evaluation is based on a pre-established set of heuristics like the popular usability heuristics specified by Jakob Nielsen of the Nielsen Norman Group that identifies where this kind of usability problem exists.
Tools like Google Analytics, which helps you evaluate the traffic to your digital product or website, provide you with valuable quantitative information about how many users visit a product over time and where they're going while they're there. The key to using analytics is to make sure the data goes back far enough that trends become apparent; otherwise, the information's value will be limited.
A user experience audit requires notable commitment in terms of time and human resources and money; it is not to be undertaken lightly.
Nevertheless, the gains to an established product or website are evident, especially if conversions are stagnant or slow-growing, and the users' thought is not represented in the product change process.