What is a UX Audit anyway?

You may have heard of a user experience (UX) audit and wondered if this is something your company should look into. Or you may have noticed that your website isn’t performing as well as it should and are considering if an audit could help you to locate and fix the problem. Here are my answers to the most common UX Audit questions asked by clients.

This post was originally written for and published on the Make it Clear blog.

Don’t fancy a long read? Here is a three-minute podcast I recorded for Purr Tech Tip Tuesday summarising this article 🤘

What is a UX audit?

Also known as a UX review, this is an in-depth analysis of the usability of a digital interface. It is a multistage project that loosely follows a typical UX design process from definition to implementation, looking for inconsistencies, deviations and other usability problems.

What is the typical process?

A typical UX Audit consists of four stages:

  1. Definition: we begin by reviewing (or defining) the business objectives, key user personas and the tasks they are looking to complete with the help of your website or app.
  2. Usability evaluation: we then complete a detailed evaluation of the digital interface, reviewing its design, code and content for any usability problems. This includes an analysis of all major UI elements and components, as well as an in-depth accessibility evaluation to ensure the interface adheres to the latest Web Content Accessibility Standards (WCAG).
  3. Usability testing: finally, we conduct a series of usability testing sessions with real users of your website or apps and report on the findings.
  4. Solution: you receive a report with all the findings and recommendations. We will hold a workshop to present them to your team and help you define the road map for implementing the changes.

Some of these steps are automated, and we use specialised software to scan the code for inconsistencies or errors, others are performed manually and the final report combines insights from both.

When should I do it?

You can conduct and benefit from a UX audit at any point in your digital interface’s life, but the process and outcomes may vary.

Some clients choose to audit their sites soon after the launch to check how well the final product matches the initial objectives. Others wait to gather more insights and come to us when they have already identified potential problems. Finally, some choose to do an audit before moving to a new platform to ensure they learn from previous mistakes and don’t carry any usability issues over into the new interface.

What will be my commitment?

Some clients like to be involved in the process, others prefer to leave it with us as much as possible. As a minimum commitment, we will invite your team to join us for the initial definition workshop. This will be used to review business objectives and success criteria for the project, map the key user journeys and agree on the areas of the interface that will be audited.

The more information you can provide, the more accurate recommendations we can make, so if you have user personas, journey maps, task flow charts, site maps, brand guidelines, style guides and any other documents related to the interface — we would like to see them.

We will also need to have access to your Google Analytics and any other monitoring tools you are using. In addition to that, we may want to place a temporary survey on your website to gather data about its current users.

Finally, while we will supply all the findings in one handy report, we like to present them to your team in person or over a video call. We like to close UX audits with a workshop in order to discuss the findings and help you build a roadmap for implementing the changes.

What will I receive?

You will get a report (sometimes split into multiple, depending on the structure of the project) that combines findings and recommendations for each step of the project. We group those into themes, so teams working on the interface design, developments and content get actionable tasks they can start working on right away.

How do I know if my company needs a UX audit?

Every audit we’ve done has highlighted usability issues that the client was not aware of. Some were easy wins — glaring problems that dramatically improved the user experience — others were less obvious and required a lot of digging. But every single issue we uncovered has had an impact by making the interface that little bit more user-friendly, a little less stressful, a little more efficient, little more enjoyable to use.

The thing about the UX audit — you don’t know what you will find and how significant these findings will be, but for us this fact alone makes it worth looking.

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UX designer at Nationwide Building Society. Runner. Minimalist. Environmentalist. Rationalist.