March 23, 2022

The What, Why, and How of a UX Audit

In most competitive industries, a website stops being a fully effective marketing tool around the 3-year mark. If your site has stopped converting searchers to customers, it’s great to get ahead of the issue. 

If this sounds like you, don’t panic. Organizations approach this problem using various tools, with a rebrand or a full website redesign being the most common approaches. But there is another often overlooked tool — the UX audit. Read on as we dive into why a UX audit is beneficial for your business. 

What Is a UX Audit?

Let’s start by defining UX or User Experience, the overall experience of a person using a product such as a website or a computer application, especially how easy or pleasant it is to use. This encompasses the moment the customer comes to your site, how they navigate it, and how they eventually complete the action you want them to take, whether by making a purchase, filling in a form, or other options.

So, a UX audit is a review of the users’ experience on your site. 

A UX audit is usually coupled with a review of the UI or User Interface, which is simply the look and feel of the parts of the website users interact with — think buttons, pagination, search functionality.

Why Should I Do a UX Audit?

As we touched on in the introduction, your website will eventually stop being as effective as it once was. A UX audit can help you answer critical questions about your users’ interaction with your site. Where are they getting stuck? Where and why are they leaving without converting? Is it easy to understand your product or service? What improvements can you make to ease the customer journey?

Even a perfectly designed site will stop serving your business because your business and how your customers view your product constantly evolve. What worked 5 years ago may not work now — maybe your top product has changed, maybe the services you introduced aren’t easily differentiated on the current site, or maybe you’ve added too many pages and muddied the user journey. A UX audit is a great tool to step into your customers’ shoes and view your website from their point of view. What is obvious to you may not be quite so clear to them, and if your offering isn’t clear, your users won’t convert to customers. 

That’s the what and the why. You’re probably ready to get started so let’s explore some simple rules and preparations before jumping in.

Before You Get Started

How To Do a UX Audit

Many tools can help you complete a UX audit, and the steps below will not be exhaustive. However, if you follow these steps, you should be able to increase customer satisfaction and conversion rates.

1. Review Your Website Goals 

Before you do anything else, you need to cement your understanding of your business goals and the why behind your website. What are the 1 or 2 key things you want your website to achieve?

2. Review or Create Your Buyer Personas 

Do you have buyer personas? If not, now is a great time to create some. Pick two or three key user groups for your website and, at the minimum, define their demographic data, their pain points you hope to solve, their goals when they visit your site, what initial questions they have about your product or service, some key messages, and calls to action (CTAs) that you want them to see.

3. Review Your Website Data 

Remember that data we talked about earlier? Time to dig into that. What are your most popular pages? What pages could you delete, and no one would notice? What CTAs are working best? Where are the bottlenecks that cause customers to drop off the site? Write down what you learn and how that could influence the layout, content, and number of pages on your site.

4. Use Your Customer Personas to Create User Flows 

Now that you have a deeper understanding of your customers, you need to understand how they will make their journey from prospect to customer. When reviewing your data, you’ve probably discovered that users aren’t just coming to your site to convert, so you need to work out their flow from start to finish. User flows can be as simple as entry point > explore product > fill in contact form. Depending on how many pages, products, services, and customer types you have, these user flows can be more or less complicated. Use your data and personas to influence user flow — what journey have your users been trying to take on your site. Give the people what they want. 

5. Step Into Your Customers’ Shoes 

At this point, if your audit team is entirely internal, you will have to work hard to remove your bias when it comes to your understanding of your website and your product. Use your understanding of who your customers are and what they are looking for, couple it with their ideal and expected journeys, and start to explore your site.

Screen recordings can be useful to note how many times you go back and forth between pages. Maybe the user looks for a certain product, clicks a button, but the message on it is misleading. They go back to a page and find another button, but that page has too much information, so they give up before finding the CTA to complete their final action. Even 5 people stepping into different customer personas can make a huge difference in your understanding of your website.

6. Review Usability 

It sounds simple, but while exploring your site, note any broken links, grammatical errors, wrong redirects, clunky functionality, and anything else that clearly needs to be fixed. This is the first step of the UI side of the audit. While at this step, you can also think about whether buttons stand out from the rest of the content and if interactive elements are clear — these influence how easy it is for your customer to complete their desired action.

7. Compile Recommendations and Make Changes 

Get your team back together and compile your recommendations, explore findings, and ask each other questions. It’s a great idea to challenge each other here to slim down your site and ensure you aren’t keeping unnecessary content just because you created it. Hand your recommendations to your web designer and developer and enjoy having a website that serves your customers and your business at a much higher level.

All a Bit Much? We Got You!

When it comes to user experience, our team of marketers, designers, and developers are…well…experienced. So if a UX audit sounds overwhelming, you can’t budget the time for it, or you want the benefit of outside perspective and years of experience, get in touch, and we’ll have your site up to scratch in no time.

Duncan Way

Duncan serves clients through humanistic, intentional designs influenced by his experience marketing and managing brands. He is driven by his commitment to constant growth and learning and creating work that is not only beautiful but effective for clients.

When not designing, you will find Duncan on the climbing wall, on the river, on a surfboard, on his motorbike, or with a guitar hanging around his shoulders — and more often than not, you’ll find his wife Lauren right by his side.