User Experience is a key factor regarding the success of a digital product, and the main ingredient to an excellent UX lies in a thorough user-centered approach. In other words, it is crucial to a product's success to consider who the users are, as well as their motivations and goals. A business that can meet the users' expectations and needs is already halfway to a successful history.
In that sense, Imaginary Cloud is introducing a new UX Audit service focused on providing high-quality professional UX Audits. We believe that this service can be extremely beneficial since it takes a very close look at a digital product's performance, analyzing every aspect that can be improved or that is impacting the users' experience.
Keep reading to find out what a UX Audit is, when and how to conduct one, as well as the main benefits it can bring to a business. We will provide examples from one of our clients throughout our blog post: the Learninghubz case study. Learninghubz is a learning platform focused on organizations to deliver business and technical skills.
Table of contents
UX stands for User Experience, and an audit is considered an inspection or examination. In this regard, a UX Audit consists of examining and evaluating a digital product (e.g. a mobile app or a website) regarding its user experience.
What makes an outstanding UX Audit?
An outstanding UX Audit will identify even the slightly less-than-perfect features of a digital product and discover potential issues that might slow and damage performance (regarding sales, time spent on an app, number of subscribers, etc.) and stymieing conversions.
Plus, it will provide valuable insights to enhance the user experience. Consequently, this process can lead to higher customer satisfaction, engagement rate, and conversions.
A UX Audit is a great way to see what is working and what is not concerning a digital product. If you have some questions like "where are my users getting stuck?", "where/why are they dropping off?" or "what do they not understand?", it's definitely time to conduct an in-depth UX expert analysis that will allow you to identify and address possible issues.
A UX audit is usually done at a growth stage. Even if it is performing well, a UX Audit will still unlock insights about where users are having troubles and what features are working or not. This will help you release revenue and improve your main critical points.
At Imaginary Cloud, a UX Audit follows a three-step process that analyses a digital product's different dimensions and further identifies the main concerns from a usability perspective. This process consists of research, evaluation, and execution.
Throughout this chapter, we will explain how to conduct a UX Audit. Along each step, we will also provide images and graphs from a UX Audit we conducted for one of our partners, Learninghubz, which asked us to conduct a UX audit.
As said before, Learninghubz is a learning platform focused on organizations. Thanks to our UX Audit process, this project provided valuable insights and actionable recommendations to improve our partner's digital product and, consequently, contribute to their KPIs. In case you are wondering what does a UX Audit consist of, this case study will help you better understand and follow each stage's importance.
Research is our number one step, and it is a vital stage to conduct and execute a successful UX Audit. This stage considers three aspects: the users, the product, the business goals and its respective KPIs.
Regarding the first aspect, UX designers will target the user's profiles and identify their needs and desires when using a digital product, considering its usefulness and effectiveness from their point of view. In addition to stakeholder interviews (who usually have a very good understanding of their customers), creating fictional personas is also a great way to get to know the user an how and why they will utilize the digital product.
Further, meetings and interviews with partners are also essential to understand the business goals and product's expectations concerning design and usability. In the Learninghubz case, the business goals were to improve:
- the number of active users (p/month);
- the number of videos watched (p/month);
- the average visualization time per active user.
These research methodologies allow us to gather an excellent knowledge of the product concept, value proposition, usage, as well as the users' profile, feedback and motivations.
Lastly, our research also aims for innovation. In that sense, research on design patterns and the industry's most used technologies allows leveraging existing players' knowledge and practice. Plus, it ensures your product/design differentiation.
As we were researching Learninghubz - a learning platform focused on organizations to deliver business and technical skills -, we began by analyzing the platform contemplating the following pages:
- Search results
- Video/ playlist
- My Dashboard
Once the research stage is completed, it is important to turn the user insights into user flows. The digital product should help the users reach their objectives and provide a good experience. Consequently, a useful and enjoyable product will lead to positive business outcomes.
During the evaluation, a UX assessment is performed to set the product requirements considering the established UX heuristics. This will provide a consistent and fluid user experience.
In UX, heuristics are used to determine a product's usability following a checklist of criteria. The idea is to seek any (even minor) flaw that the design team might have overlooked and can be improved. During a heuristic evaluation, it is crucial to go through the project by putting ourselves in the user's shoes by trying to execute several tasks and how the digital product meets our goals.
The UX heuristics being assessed are:
- Help & documentation
- Visual aesthetics
- Habit formation
Once the insights are collected, they are summarized in a visual and compelling presentation that showcases the UX Audit's main findings, quick wins and recommendations regarding the digital product's potential improvements. Quick wins in what we call an improvement that can be delivered quickly and has an immediate positive result.
Additionally, the UX Audit report provides the "issue impact" and measures the "recommendation effort". Even though these scores do not aim to convey a precise percentage of impact on the KPIs, they are a great way to guide the decision-making process regarding project planning.
Both factors are measured on a 1-to-3 scale. On the one hand, the "issue impact" score explains the potential negative impact of the issue regarding the KPI goals. On the other hand, the "recommendation effort" indicates the high-level estimation of effort required to execute the proposed recommendations (considering both design and implementation effort).
These scores allow us to calculate the "Issue Score", which is the relationship between the "issue impact" and the "recommendation effort". Having the "Issue Score" makes it easier to classify the best issues/recommendations with the best cost-impact ratio.
Therefore, at Imaginary Cloud, our UX Audit report always includes these indicators to ensure our recommendations' effectiveness. Take the following example for our Learninghubz case-study:
As we can observe, the number 13 issue presented in the UX report developed for Learninghubz has an impact score of 3, meaning it is expected to influence the established KPIs greatly. Plus, it has only scored 1 regarding the effort it requires; hence, it is easy and fast for the design and/or development team to implement this recommendation. Consequently, the cost-impact ratio is 3, and this is an excellent example of what we call a quick win!
In the execution stage, we will baseline the style guide to ensure that the product's different visual interface elements' are consistent and coherent.
Running a UX Audit allows us to solve the main encountered problems with the execution of end-looking screens. By the end of the UX Audit, all the collected recommendations are presented and prioritized according to their "Issue Score". Moreover, recommendations that resulted from quick wins acknowledgement will be designed for implementation.
All the recommendations are elaborated based on an in-depth analysis. In addition to suggesting solutions to improve a digital product, it is also important to have a seamless communication of those solutions with the design-development team. In that sense, the UX Audit must be presented in an informative, well-structured, and visual way (e.g. images, charts, and graphs).
Recommendations will be easier to implement when everyone involved in the project understands the effective tactic required to enhance the user experience.
There are many (and valuable) benefits to conducting a UX Audit. Overall, it is a great way to optimize conversions and reduce the complexity of a digital product. Further, a UX Audit will help streamline goals and remove redundancies, leading the way to an enhanced user experience while saving time and money. Here are the four top benefits:
More streamlined products - Having a market aligned planning & execution strategy will allow the digital product to unlock massive value to the respective business and customers. Reducing complexity increases sales effectiveness and lowers development and support costs while improving the customer experience.
Increased conversions and performance metrics - Conducting a UX Audit will allow understanding what features should be improved to get more completed and efficient actions from the users.
Better user experience - Getting to know the user's behaviours and impressions allows creating a more desirable place for customers to interact with your product. Being trustworthy and performing consistently well will guide users throughout the conversion funnel.
Improved user satisfaction and engagement - Having engaged and satisfied customers means that the digital product has met or positively surpassed their expectations. Customers' happiness with the overall experience will increase your business revenue over time.
Considering the Learninghuz case-study, it did not take long until the advantages of conducting a UX audit started showing! Three months after the launching, Learninghubz had:
- A 20% increase in active users/registered users;
- A 15% increase in learning time;
- Registered +50% mobile usage;
- Great feedback from their overall users as well as from the HR departments (typically the ones that purchase the product).
Developing a UX Audit can contribute to businesses' goals and overall growth. If an app, website or other digital product does not perform as users expect it to perform, it will most likely not succeed, even if it is a billion-dollar idea!
In sum, a UX Audit helps understand where a certain product might be encountering problems that can negatively impact performance, meaning sales, time spent on the app, number of subscribers, and other business metrics. Further, it indicates how performance can be optimized and provides recommendations.
Regarding the process, an outstanding UX Audit has three steps: research, evaluation, and execution. To be more precise, it starts with impeccable and very detailed research. Afterward, in the evaluation step, every single aspect must be carefully analyzed and reviewed, sometimes several times and by various experts. Last but not least, the execution step gathers and presents the actionable recommendations.
These recommendations aim to enhance the user experience when using a digital product. A product that excels at usability and provides a positive experience is more likely to increase conversions and benefit from other marketing benefits, such as positive word-of-mouth, engagement and loyalty.
In case you are looking for ways to enhance your digital product performance, we highly recommend you get a complete and detailed UX Audit. This way, you will know where the main issues are and the best way to tackle them, always keeping in mind the importance of an excellent user experience.
Feel free to contact us and discuss your goals with our experts so that together we can help you reach them!