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What is a UX audit and how to conduct it ?

Sheza Naveed

What is a UX audit?

A UX audit, also known as a usability audit, evaluates an interface and identifies the issues that may hinder usability. A UX audit can be conducted for any interface e.g., a website, mobile application etc.

A UX audit cannot solve the problems in an interface. However, it can highlight the issues being faced by the users and the potential reasons for the low performance of the website or app.

The two parts of a UX Audit

When to conduct a UX audit?

A UX audit can be conducted at any stage in the product’s lifecycle to identify any existing issues. However, it is important to perform a UX audit whenever:

  • A new interface is being rolled out.
  • A new feature is being added to the interface.
  • An old interface is being redesigned.
  • Performance is decreasing.

Problem identification and solution space

Problem identification is the main component of a UX audit. All the usability dimensions should be covered with a thoughtful analysis that the literature can support. The issues raised should be pointed out clearly. Visual cues can be helpful in performing a UX audit where different elements of the interface can be pointed at using arrows and the issues can be mentioned in the form of text at the other end of arrows. The descriptions should be concise.

How to identify problems using visual cues

Solution space is built on problem identification and should consist of the main vertical user flows that need improvement. In addition, it should include a thoughtful analysis of how the user interface is being improved with the suggested changes and not merely UI changes.

How to conduct a UX audit?

A step by step process to conduct a UX audit is mentioned below:

1. Identifying product purpose

Before conducting a UX audit, you need to identify the business goals of the auditing product. Different goals have different requirements that will dictate the problem identification and solution space. Product purpose can be identified by interviewing the product stakeholders. The findings, i.e., the product objectives, must be shared with the client to verify if their product has the same objectives as those you have identified.

2. Identifying users and understanding user objectives

The product user should be identified and understood to conduct a UX audit. User personas need to be created to know and understand the users. The interviews with stakeholders will also reveal information about the users. These insights should then be refined into user flows. User flows will clarify the user’s objectives at different points and specify the individual steps.

3. Review Analytics

Check and understand that who is interacting with the interface and how. Google Analytics can be used for this review as it allows tracking website traffic.

4. Perform Heuristic Evaluation

All products and interfaces must follow the Neilsen Norman Usability Heuristics. You should use the product as the user during this stage of the UX audit using the user personas and flows developed. While using the product, you should note down all the difficulties you face and everything you find that goes against Neilsen Norman’s usability heuristics.

5. Suggest Solutions

After identifying all the issues with the interface/product, you should make recommendations regarding how to improve the interface.

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Sheza Naveed
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