How to conduct a UX audit to increase your business profits

10 minutes to read • Last updated 10 June 2021 • Published 4 September 2018 • Business, UX design

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      Whether you have a website or dedicated app, this is undoubtedly one of the most important marketing assets your business has control over. It’s normally the first port of call for people interested in buying your product or hiring your service.

      • According to recent research, visitors form an impression of a website in as little as 0.05 of a second.
      • Many negative complaints about a website or app link to its usability and how easy it is to find important information.
      • This is a huge factor that effects credibility and influences whether a customer wants to do business with your company or look elsewhere.

      This is not just about great graphics and interesting content, either. Even small omissions for your online presence can make a difference. A poll found that 44% of visitors will not engage with a company if their website or app doesn’t contain address information or a phone number.

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      UX and what it means for your business

      User experience or UX is an often neglected but vitally important part of web design. It covers a wide range of design factors, from the way you organise your pages to how long it takes for them to download to the menus and buttons you include to improve navigation.

      Did you know that nearly half of people expect your web page to download in less than two seconds? If it doesn’t, they are more likely to get impatient and search elsewhere.

      This is just one key characteristic of UX for businesses.

      Poor design means that you are potentially losing customers or frustrating them because they can’t find what they want. It means you could be losing money because you simply aren’t meeting your customers needs.

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      On the other hand, using a UX audit to improve the usability of your website or app, could well increase the number of people who buy from your business or engage with it more readily. Subtle changes can make a significant difference to how visitors behave while they are on your site.

      The elements of a UX audit

      To ensure you are giving your customers the complete experience when they visit your business online, it makes sense to carry out an audit every so often. There’s no doubt webpages can become outdated very quickly.

      Sections get added which make navigation more difficult
      Images may be too large and cause delays in download speeds
      Enquiry forms can be too complex for visitors to be bothered filling in
      UX audit elements

      You’ll be surprised how often we use intuition to decide what changes to make on our website rather than good old fashioned research.

      UX or User Experience design is based on hard fact and data. The person or company carrying out the audit will use a range of different tools and gather metrics to clearly define what is happening with your website and how people are using it. More importantly, they’ll be able to make recommendations on how to improve performance.

      UX is all about bringing together what the business wants to do (sell a product or offer a service) with the user (how they want to buy or hire). More importantly it’s about creating the great personal experience that energises the customer and encourages them to engage with your business.

      The tools that are used in a UX audit include:

      How to do a UX audit

      1. Usability testing

        Where users are asked to complete certain tasks on the website or app and their behaviour is monitored to see how difficult or easy it is.

      2. AB testing

        Users are given two different versions of the same content and a comparison made between these.

      3. Tree testing

        This looks at how simple it is to get to the right page or discover a certain product or service on your site or app.

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      4. Form analysis

        Many businesses use forms on their websites to gather customer information.

      5. Checkout analysis

        Checkout analysis (also called shopping cart analysis) shouldn’t be overlooked.

      6. Pattern recognition

        Changing the layout of pages or content can make a big difference to user satisfaction and engagement.

      7. Click tracking

        Where people are clicking and what they do when they get there can define how your website ultimately performs.

      1. Usability testing

      Where users are asked to complete certain tasks on the website or app and their behaviour is monitored to see how difficult or easy it is.

      There are a number of third-party products and solutions available for usability testing. Some of the popular ones are UserZoom, TestBirds, and UXCam.

      2. AB testing

      Users are given two different versions of the same content and a comparison made between these.

      A/B testing is an essential element of CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) because it allows a website or app owner to try variations on a design and get concrete data on which version results in more sales.

      Some of the popular A/B testing tools include Optimizely, Convertize, and AB Tasty.

      3. Tree testing

      This looks at how simple it is to get to the right page or discover a certain product or service on your site or app.

      See also →  Website redesign guide – how to redesign your business website

      The information architecture of a website is something which is often low on the list of priorities for a website owner, but it can make a huge difference to the UX of the website.

      Website architecture is also something which often gets worse over time, because new features and sections of a website can get added and bolted on over time, and the original site architecture is no longer suitable.

      One of the popular Tree testing tools is Treejack.

      4. Form analysis

      Many businesses use forms on their websites to gather customer information.

      Particularly with ecommerce websites or apps, it’s impossible to sell something to a website visitor without asking them to provide some information via a form.

      How users interact with these forms can be vital for creating and nurturing leads. Even tiny problems with a form can have a surprising impact on conversion rate, so you mustn’t overlook the testing and optimisation of forms and input fields on your website.

      5. Checkout analysis

      Checkout analysis (also called shopping cart analysis) shouldn’t be overlooked.

      How your users reach the checkout stage, and what hurdles await them there, is also important. Make it too difficult and they can become frustrated and head elsewhere.

      See also →  Design process is everything: why design is more than making it look pretty

      6. Pattern recognition

      As a species, we love patterns and react strongly to them. Changing the layout of pages or content can make a big difference to user satisfaction and engagement.

      You’d be best to get the advice of a UX designer here – if you don’t have the experience or expertise to objectively appraise your UX page templates, then it’s not worth the risk of taking a DIY approach.

      7. Click tracking

      Where people are clicking and what they do when they get there can define how your website ultimately performs.

      Probably the most widely used click tracking tool is Google Analytics: most website owners use this to find out simple website visitor traffic numbers, but there is a lot of power within Google Analytics when it comes to looking at visitor behaviour when they land on your site.

      Other popular click tracking tools are ClickGum and ClickMeter.

      A note on behaviour tracking and GDPR
      If you are using any products or services which track your visitors, you need to be mindful of privacy laws.

      You have to be especially careful if you are collating any sensitive data, or any data which would allow you to identify a person.

      If in doubt, you should speak to a specialist data protection advisor.

      UX audit checklist

      These different ways of measuring usability can be brought together to provide a greater understanding of how individual pages and their elements work for your business. This is why UX design has become increasingly important, often taking precedent over traditional graphic design for websites and apps.

      The UX audit is there to enable your business to consider the options, based not on gut instinct but on actual data and collected evidence.

      UX audit examples

      Here are just a couple of simple examples where it could create a significant impact for your business, defining how it operates online in the future:

      • The audit team look at your contact page and find that over three quarters of visitors click on this location but don’t make any contact. Further investigation discovers users are more often than not looking for a phone number or company address which your business currently doesn’t supply. Adding these details could increase the number of people contacting your company.
      • You find that your most important product or service is not being viewed much on your website. The audit finds that while clicks to your home page are high, the user has to click three or more times to reach the product. Reducing the number of operations your visitor has to perform could, potentially, increase sales for that product.
      • Most of your customers are accessing your website on their mobile phone but you haven’t made your pages mobile ready. This means that users aren’t able to see the content clearly and get frustrated trying to read certain pages. Making your mobile content more attractive and user friendly could boost engagement with your website.

      UX matters more now than ever, especially as the technology for websites and apps has become more dynamic and varied. Obtaining feedback and collecting data on how users engage with your online presence helps you understand the process and develop great new websites, undertake cutting edge designs and ensure you stay well ahead of your competitors now and for the future.

      If you would like to know more about how a UX audit could benefit your business, contact our professional and experienced team today.

      FAQ

      What is a UX audit?

      A UX audit is a series of tests which analyse the quality of UX (user experience). UX audits are conducted on interactive digital channels such as websites and mobile apps.

      How long should a UX audit take?

      The duration of a UX audit could be anywhere between 1 hour and several weeks, depending on the depth of testing and the number of stakeholders involved. The time requirement also depends on the complexity of the platform being tested – for example, a one-page website will likely be faster to audit than a highly complex mobile app.

      How to conduct a UX audit?

      Follow our 7-step process which includes Usability testing, AB testing, Tree testing, Form analysis, Checkout analysis, Pattern recognition and Click tracking.

      Why is a UX audit needed?

      UX audits are highly valuable in evaluating how effective your digital channels are. Without a UX audit, lots of usability issues can be missed, which result in lost customers and lost sales without you even realising it.

      How to pitch a UX audit?

      A UX audit should be an easy sell to your colleagues and other stakeholders: after all, without doing a UX audit, how can you effectively ascertain the effectiveness of your website or mobile app? You should just remind them that the relatively low expense of a UX audit should pay for itself many times over in terms of additional sales and retained customers.

      How much does a UX audit cost?

      A UX audit might cost nothing if you conduct it yourself. If you hire a professional UX auditor then expect to pay in the region of £500 to £5000 depending on the scale of the work.

      How to format a UX audit?

      The result of a UX audit will usually be collated into a simple report such as a PDF or Word document. The format usually doesn’t matter too much, but the important part is that the UX audit is done properly and to a high standard.

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