Do you know what our brain is afraid of the most? Blindspots, unclarity, vagueness.
Our brain seeks rules, patterns, and templates because they provide guidance and give us a feeling of confidence we’re going the right way. That’s why we like examples. It’s more easy and convenient to follow somebody’s successful experience than pay your own dues.
However, regarding the UX audit, there would probably be no “one size fits all” usability and user experience example. Based on our profound and versatile expertise in UX audits, we at Eleken think that all reports are different because it is not the structure that matters but the UX audit objectives specific for each particular project.
Thus, in this article, besides the typical UX audit structure, I’d like to share four different cases of website and mobile applications UX audit you can steal something useful from.
And let’s start with the design audit checklist you can use as a reference when planning your UI/UX audit.
UX audit structure
The UX checklist you’re going to see in a couple of sentences will facilitate arranging your audit and turn it into a well-structured process. It’ll help you understand what works and what doesn’t for your customer’s experience and implement necessary improvements.
Step 1 - Define the object and subject of the audit. Simply put, what entity you have to analyze and who will conduct the audit. Whether it will be your internal team or a third-party consultant, this step should be decided beforehand.
Step 2 - Set goals, timeframe, and budget. The UX audit may be an expensive and time-consuming process, so your task is to prevent it from turning into a never-ending story wasting your time and money.
Step 3 - Identify user personas. User experience is different depending on a particular user’s needs and preferences (in other words, what is suitable for one person can be unacceptable for another). Thus, it’s crucial to clarify who those people are visiting your website, what needs they have, and what goals they expect to achieve while interacting with your webpage.
Step 4 - Use analytics reports. They won’t tell you everything, but they will point out the gaps you should pay attention to during your audit. Ensure you check key business metrics (MRR, churn, conversions), high-traffic pages and traffic sources, bounce rate, and customer on-page behavior.
Step 5 - Make heuristic evaluation. Check if your website is user-friendly and corresponds to ten general principles of interaction design principles created by Jacob Nielsen, a co-founder of Nielsen Norman Group and followed by digital products UX designers.
We have more helpful information on how to conduct a UX audit in a dedicated article, so you’re welcome to check it out.
And now, when you have a general idea of the UX audit structure, let’s see the case studies showcasing the best UX audit practices.
Case # 1 - eCommerce UX audit
Once upon a time, Scandiweb, a digital strategy and web development company, decided to conduct a UX audit for an eCommerce website and show the world a real-life UX audit report example based on Jaguar online store analysis. Though Scandiweb didn’t reveal all the audit details, this piece of the user experience audit will give you an idea of UX audit goals, process, and outcome.
The goals’ slogan could be “for all the good, against all the bad.”
Here are the goals Scandiweb defined for Jaguar online shop audit:
- Determine the “top” exit page and decrease the exit rate
- Reduce conversion funnel drop rate
- Minimize key landing pages bounce rate
- Increase conversion rate
- Improve key CTAs click-through rate
What was done
Scandiweb states that for the comprehensive user experience analysis, the following five steps should be undertaken:
- Create a customer journey map
- Develop scenarios for usability testing
- Perform usability testing based on scenarios (with the help of heatmaps, for example)
- Analyze the data gathered and find out user behavior patterns
- Work out recommendations based on the received insights
In the showcased UX audit example, auditors focused on usability testing and went through the most popular or problematic website parts.
Below are examples of analysis that was performed for the Jaguar’s leather portfolio page.
Eye-tracking heatmap analysis - Example # 1
Eye-tracking fixation points analysis - Example # 2
On the screenshots from a users’ recorded session above we see that the users focused on the center of the page (that can probably happen due to people’s tendency to recognize faces) whereas the promo banner is on the left-hand side. Coming from this observation, to attract more attention, it may be beneficial to place the promo banner in the middle of the page.
Based on the conducted testing, a list of recommendations on how to enhance UX was created. The auditors emphasized that all the assumptions should be validated with A/B tests to prove whether implementations lead to the website user experience improvement.
Case # 2 - web application UX audit
The hero of this case is Google Hangouts.
In 2018 Andy Yeh, a UX researcher, discovered Google Hangouts for the first time due to his remote project. His impression of a Google app scaled from “wow” to annoyance and urged him to initiate Hangounts’s web app UX audit.
Being a UX researcher, Andy pursued professional objectives to improve the app’s user experience and share the best UX audit practices with the world.
What was done
Andy performed a deep-dive analysis and thorough UX research. He started by understanding Google Hangouts (GH) users and surveyed them to gather insights into why people use GH and what communication tools they prefer for business and personal conversations.
The survey showed that the majority of GH users utilize the app for collaboration with colleagues remotely. This insight inspired Andy to look for the design ideas that could help GH stand out on the collaborative tools market and improve its user experience.
Then he walked further and gathered the main pain points through online reviews and the survey mentioned above.
Based on the information gathered, he created a user persona and a customer journey map.
Having accomplished the analysis, Andy offered each pain point a design solution.
For example, for the poor sound, video, or connection quality, he suggested adding a tooltip notifying about unstable connection and displaying connection status in users’ information.
He reflected suggested improvements in the design prototype and ran usability testing for new designs.
Case # 3 - mobile application UX audit
Stacey Wang, a UX designer, was in love with her fitness tracker, Fitbit. When she faced a few problems using the iOS app, Stacey decided to employ her UX designer skills, conduct a UX audit, and find solutions to improve the app.
Stacey aimed to find out if other users encounter the same user experience issues and elaborate recommendations on Fitbit UX enhancement.
What was done
At first, Stacey created a customer persona and researched different use cases, based on a jobs-to-be-done approach, in which a user would use Fitbit. Then she developed a couple of scenarios and engaged real users to conduct usability testing, which was recorded. Stacey analyzed test results, identified users’ pain points and frictions while using the app, and visualized them on a whiteboard.
Then she focused on several pain points, elaborated potential solutions for each of them, and made some UI sketches. After validating the sketches with potential Fitbit users, Stacey created a clickable prototype.
Stacey offered significant enhancements for Fitbit design to improve user experience. She knew that sometimes even a slight change of a button size or icon position could have a crucial impact on customer experience and the target audience’s feedback Stacey got on her sketches proved this point.
Case # 4 - New York Times UX audit
This case is actually a concept created by a team of UX designers to improve New York Times app performance.
The main goal was to help the app retain users, increase their loyalty, and make the app stand out in a crowded reading apps market. The idea was to create a new landing page Timely that would send notifications to users within a day and provide quick access to articles.
What was done
The UX designers researched the target audience, sent a survey to potential users, and conducted interviews to identify the pain points and everyday challenges. After the interviews, the researchers mapped users’ thoughts and responses to better understand their real needs and created a customer journey map based on the findings.
The team came up with fifteen concepts to improve New York Times app user experience and achieve set goals. Also, the designers engaged fifteen test groups to choose the best idea. Eventually, they found out that young people would use the app in case it fits their life preferences and schedules.
As you can see, all four design audit examples differ from each other by the audit objectives, framework, and UX audit tools. Yet, they have much in common as, for example, user research and usability testing phases. Sure, you can conduct the UX audit on your own, putting this burden entirely on your team. But why not delegate this task to professional UX designers who have deep knowledge of best UX design practices? Let us know if you need any assistance; we are here to help.