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User Experience (UX) Audit: How to Improve Your Product Design

Nena Vuckovic

User experience designers are trying to invent new ways to keep customers happy, and they conduct UX audit regularly. You could learn from them and discover a couple of tricks you can use as well. 

UX is quite an important aspect of product design, and your goal is to ensure that everyone has a great time with your brand. Here, we will cover some of the ways you can improve your digital product design, how to avoid common mistakes, and all you need to know about the UX audit.

What Is a UX Audit?

An audit is an official inspection of some part or the entirety of your project, and in this case, it is related to the user experience. It is the easiest way to find flaws in aspects of your product that could hinder your customers’ experience. It will also show parts of your website that can cause a problem and make it difficult for your users and your company to reach your business goals.

A user experience audit will focus on users and provide recommendations and ways you can improve your webpage. The UX audit uses a variety of tools in the process, and it is a bit different than usability testing. The primary difference between the two is that an audit deals with problems regarding the pre-existing goals or standards, while usability tests are focused on problems caused by clients. Naturally, UX researchers can perform usability tests as part of the audit as well.

Why Is UX So Important?

UX focuses on the needs of your customers and puts the focus on them. Moreover, positive experiences on your website can significantly improve sales or help you achieve your goals.

We live in modern times, and every piece of information is just a few clicks away. Average users have become quite impatient. If your webpage is too complex, doesn’t offer enough info, or loads too slowly, a customer will simply leave and look elsewhere. The same thing applies to e-commerce and cart abandonment. Your goal is to ensure that customers stay on your page and fulfill their intent without seeking a solution elsewhere.

Benefits of UX Audit

Having a top-notch UX is beneficial for obvious reasons. So you need to perform an audit to ensure that everything is going according to your plans and goals. There are several key issues that an audit can expose and help you eliminate. UX can:

  • Expose the reasons for low conversion
  • Expose the reasons for low retention
  • Determine which features are working and which are not
  • Show if there are any problems for users, what makes it difficult for them, and what makes the process painful

Furthermore, performing a great audit can help you reduce customer acquisition costs as well as support costs. Redesigning the page will allow you to add improvements that will enable users to engage freely and easily access all the info they need. It will also lower the need for customer support calls since there will be fewer issues on the page, at least from customers’ point of view.

Who Should Conduct a UX Audit and When?

You can conduct an audit during several stages of the process. Firstly, you can perform it at the initial steps of your website or application development. Furthermore, you can conduct an audit during a redesign or if your product doesn’t behave as intended.

This means that any type of irregularity, such as a drop in traffic, can serve as a reason for a UX audit. Finally, if you are launching a new product, an audit can help you confirm that every part and feature is implemented and that it follows the requirements.

The goal of an audit is to help you improve and locate potential problems in the product, which means that there is no wrong time for conducting it. So even if there are no deal-breaking issues, you can still do it to confirm that everything is going according to your wishes and plans.

It is worth mentioning that a UX audit during the early stages of the project is far simpler and cheaper since there are only basic features. You will only need to change the wireframe in case of a problem. However, if you already have a finished product, any type of adjustment is likely to cost more and require more time.

Regarding who should conduct an audit, the answer is simple — anyone can. However, some businesses might be in greater need of it. Firstly, these include teams without designers, and sometimes, even back-end developers might not be enough.

Secondly, any company or startup that’s developing a new product could require an audit. And finally, businesses experiencing low conversion rates or problems with their website could benefit from one.

How to Perform a UX Audit

Now, let’s proceed to the fun part. How do you perform a UX audit? What are the important parts you should cover? Are there any things you should know about the process? The first thing you should consider is using Google’s Lighthouse. It is an open-source tool that will help you improve the quality of your webpage. It might help you along the way and point out any potential accessibility issues. 

Some perfect examples are the text-to-background contrast ratio, ability (or inability) to zoom pages, and so on. You can also try it on a smartphone with a smaller display or find an emulator for older versions of the iPhone, like the iPhone 5. Finally, keep in mind that you should conduct separate audits for desktop and mobile versions of the page.

When it comes to the evaluation process, there aren’t strict rules you should follow, but many focus on Ten Usability Heuristics by Jacob Nielsen

Visibility of System Status

The first of the heuristics is focused on more than a simple user design. The primary idea is transparency and communication. More information will translate into better decision making. All of us are aware of that. Having the right kind of information will help us assess the current state of the system, and it will help us with our decisions.

So the first heuristic shows us how well the state of the system is conveyed to your users. In an ideal world, the system will always inform us about everything that is happening around us through feedback and within a reasonable time.

Match Between the Real World and the System

A development team should never assume that their users have a rich tech background. This means that each piece of info on your website should be easy to understand for every visitor of your page. Your customers shouldn’t need to Google words to understand the meaning behind them. That’s the whole point of the front-end — to translate the code so that regular users can enjoy the content.

User Control and Freedom

The next entry on the list for UX design is control and freedom. Users love clicking on pages and options (we all do). But sometimes, it will lead to a mistake. Always allow users to have control over their actions as well as the option to go back to the previous state.

Even if they make a mistake, it should be easy for them to undo the action and continue with whatever they were doing. A clearly marked way out of the problem is something that every user will love.

UX Audit Standards and Consistency

Designer work leaves so much space for creativity and innovation, but there are some parts of it you should leave as they are. Users are used to some aspects of the page, and you shouldn’t change them. Visitors should never wonder if a word has a different meaning or what some options are for. 

While this might seem like a problem to visual designers, it doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to express themselves through other parts of the page.

Preventing Errors

While error messages can be quite helpful, it is so much better to prevent users from making them in the first place. The most common problem is shifting the blame. Most developers will say that user error means that the user did something wrong. But in reality, it is the developers’ fault for making it possible in the first place.

Recognition Instead of Recall

Make everything visible, understandable, and simple, whether it is an action, object, or an option. The user should know what they are doing intuitively instead of having to remember the right path they need to take. Make actions either visible or easily retrievable.

Efficiency and Flexibility

If you add accelerators, you can speed up the interaction for experienced users. This will allow them to enjoy using your page more since they will be able to easily navigate through it. However, you should also consider inexperienced users. Your page should cater to all groups, regardless of their skill and expertise levels.

Minimalism and Aesthetics

You don’t need irrelevant info on your website or something that’s rarely used. If you have it, all the extra info you put on the page will have to compete with what is, in fact, relevant for users. As a result, it will only diminish the visibility and relevance of the important info.

While extra details can sometimes be helpful, try not to drown users in too much content. Minimalism can often lead to great design, and if you make it aesthetic, it will carry more weight than adding unnecessary details.

Assist Users in Recognizing, Diagnosing, and Recovering From Errors

Mistakes happen, and no matter how much you focus on user testing, it is still possible for errors to appear. However, even if this happens, you should display the error as clearly as possible. Your users should understand what the problem is, and you can even write suggestions on how to fix the problem.

There is nothing worse than hitting a dead end only to be hit with an error message that has only code in it. That code is not useful at all, and users hate having to look for a hidden meaning behind letters and numbers.

Help and Documentation

Finally, the last step of the process is help and documentation. If it is possible, design a product or service for which users won’t need a manual. However, if some instructions are unavoidable, make them easy to find and understand.

Users should be able to find important info in no time, and you should focus on how to help them achieve that. You can list all the steps they need to take and always try to stick only to essential info.

Essential Things to Check During UX Audit

The list of heuristics can seem like too much, but you are probably well aware of the most steps covered in the previous part. Here, we will cover some of the most important things you should check during your UX review.

Accessibility

Today, there are so many devices you can use to access a webpage, from smartphones to PCs. And each model offers something different and unique. Your goal is to make your page look great regardless of a user’s device. So don’t just focus on a single screen resolution or non-flexible design. Your users might be visiting you using a tablet or even a fridge, so make sure everything looks impeccable.

The same applies to button sizes, and you need to ensure that they are large enough so that people can easily click on them. Furthermore, the contrast should be clear enough, and always pick a font that’s easy to read (no, Wingdings is not a good choice).

Consistency

Consistency is immensely important. After a few seconds on your page, users will get used to the interaction design. The worst thing you could do is change things. A perfect example of this are pages where the X button for closing a tab keeps switching sides. On one page, it’s in the top-left corner, while on the other, it’s on the opposite side. The same applies to “save” and “cancel” options. Consistency is key to having satisfied customers.

Simplicity

We have already briefly mentioned this while discussing unnecessary info, but simplicity applies to the rest of the page as well. If there are some features on your page that no one will ever use, just remove them. Try to simplify everything as much as possible. The same applies to other details. For example, if a user has already given you their email address, there is no reason to ask for it again. Not only will it speed up the whole process, but it will also keep your customers happy (or at least less irritated).

Flow

As strange as it might sound to you, there can never be too much info, and nothing can be too obvious. Your users need to have it easy, and they shouldn’t have to guess where things are. So try to make it simple and allow users to learn from experience where everything is, what the consequences of their actions are, how to return to the previous screen, etc.

How to Do UX Audit Right

The whole process might seem challenging at first, but we can help you every step of the way. Our team has years of experience in the field, and we know how to be a perfect link between a business and its customers.

You can always check out the Apego Wallet and Casi Wallet to see some examples of what we have talked about in this article. Everything needs to be clearly visible, easy to understand, and it should leave no space for guessing.

There are many ways to approach the problem, and not all of them are good for business. Fortunately, we can help you find a perfect solution and turn your vision into reality. Our team has years of experience working with similar projects, and they have many tricks up their sleeves.

Summary

One of the easiest ways to ensure that you have a user-centered design is to perform a UX audit. This will show you some of the problems that may appear on the page, and it will allow you to eliminate them with ease.

Some of the common practices include starting with programs and extensions like Google Lighthouse or trying heuristic evaluation. If you still doubt the importance of UX, you should know that every dollar invested results in considerable savings, therefore you may seriously consider moving UX design and review to the top of your priority list.

User experience is one of the most important parts of product design. You need to ensure that there are no problems and that each customer is satisfied with your product. However, this is easier said than done. There are so many things you need to consider and even more that could go wrong. If you are on a quest of building the next tech giant, you might want to read our advice on how to do so successfully.

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LET'S START A NEW PROJECT TOGETHER

We can build on your idea and provide solutions to take your business to the next level.
Please fill in this form to start the process.