How UX Audits Resemble Doctor Check-Ups: The Importance of Regular Evaluations
16.05.2023 | 5 min read
Entrepreneurial love mirrors paternal love, with business owners' brain patterns resembling those of parents thinking about their children. However, many owners don't care for their products as they would for their offspring. Regular UX audits, like children's check-ups, are crucial for maintaining a product's usability, accessibility, and user satisfaction. But when is a UX audit necessary?
When Do You Need a UX Audit?
When your child is feeling unwell, you can immediately see it. You can feel they are burning, lose appetite, or lack the usual energy. Like parents knowing their children are not feeling well, entrepreneurs know their businesses may face issues. Some of the challenges will fall into four main areas where you should consider a UX audit:
- Sales. Case: Client sales numbers are dropping - Your product has a high bounce rate or low conversion rate, indicating that users are not finding what they need or are having difficulty navigating the site.
- Low satisfaction. Case: Lower user satisfaction - You are receiving negative feedback. You want to identify the source of the complaints and fix them.
- Usability and visual design. Case: Product or service needs a redesign. - You are planning to update the design of a website, app, or service and want to improve the user experience. You want to ensure the new design will be user-friendly and meet your business goals.
- Business development. Case: Introduction of a new product or business - You are planning to introduce a new product, feature, or service. You may also want to explore the Blue Ocean market. At the same time, if you are in the Red Ocean a UX audit may reveal the areas to improve that could get you ahead of your competition. You also want to identify potential issues before sending designs into production.
Other cases where you should think of performing a UX audit can include a business not meeting objectives, looking for new investors, or building an MVP.
Do You Need a GP or a Specialist?
During a typical visit to your local GP, a doctor will assess and diagnose a patient's health concerns, provide advice and treatment options, and potentially refer the patient to a specialist if necessary.
A general checkup with your GP usually involves a review of your overall health. While this checkup is essential for detecting potential health issues, it may not always reveal specific concerns that need addressing. For example, if you're experiencing chest pain, a general checkup may not detect a heart condition. However, it may point out which specialist doctor the patient should see.
The same happens during UX audits. A high-level inspection of a product or service can reveal the source of the problem. More often, though, an in-depth analysis needs to be undertaken. Let’s say that an online bank asks for a UX audit due to several complaints about their website navigation.
When going through a core audit, a UX specialist doesn’t see anything particularly wrong with the navigation itself. However, when asked for their input, an accessibility officer reveals that the core of the problem may be poor implementations of WCAG standards, such as lack of keyboard accessibility, lack of text alternatives, or inaccessible forms.
General UX Audit
Just like the first visit to a GP, a core audit focuses on looking holistically at all cases included in a UX audit. Some of the methods [...]
- Heuristic evaluation - involves evaluating an interface against a set of predetermined heuristics or principles. Most audits would be based on Nielsen’s 10 heuristics. The goal is to identify usability issues.
- Cognitive walkthrough - Usability evaluation method that involves assessing the usability of a user interface by evaluating the cognitive load on users when they complete specific tasks. The goal is to identify areas where the product may be confusing or difficult for users based on a set of predetermined tasks.
- Basic analytics - To improve the design and maximize the conversion rate, a team of Product Designers and UX Designers will analyze data coming from the live website to conclude how to improve the design.
- Understanding a company's objectives - To ensure that the design and functionality of a product or service align with both company’s objectives and the needs of the user.
Seeing a Specialist
Sometimes a more in-depth medical examination is required, and that's where specialists come in. There are two ways you can get your child to see a specialist. First, a general checkup will show what might be wrong with the child, and a doctor will refer them to see a specialist.
Another option is when a child will tell you exactly what hurts them, for example, their ear is in pain. The same two ways apply to UX audits. Some cases require more in-depth and comprehensive UX audits and they need to focus on specific areas of a product or service.
Like a visit to a specialist doctor, deep-dive UX audits by specific domain experts are necessary when a product requires more focused attention or when you need to address a particular issue. These deep-dive UX audits provide more detailed insights into a product's UX, enabling product owners to make more informed decisions about improvements and changes.
During UX audits at 10Clouds, we look at cases, that is, challenges or issues a client is facing. A core audit focuses on looking holistically at all cases included in a UX audit. After a core audit, we will use specific tools and methodologies tailored for specific scenarios. Focusing on the cases helps us more efficiently identify the source of problems within a client’s product or service.
Traditional audit packages focus on finding problems using a set type of tools in that package. However, when talking to a client they may already know what the problem is, but they might not know what the source of the problem is. Sometimes they also want to confirm it.
Unlike regular UX audit packages, case focused approach focuses on clients’ problems. It’s worth noticing that the more complicated the issue the more comprehensive a UX audit can be. One case may be looked at from different angles rather than with the use of one extra tool or methodology or an opinion of a single domain expert.
Some of the tools that you can see during a case-focused audit may include:
- Going through information architecture, or the structure of the product,
- User flows,
- Persona/ideal customer profile evaluation,
- Market research,
- Competitive benchmarking,
- Feature gap analysis,
- GDPR/legal compliance,
- Design system evaluation.
Choose Your Team
Choosing the right team for a UX audit is crucial as it can impact the success and usability of a product or service. A skilled team can effectively identify and address usability issues and provide recommendations to improve your service or product.
Where a UX designer would be your GP, a domain expert would be a specialist doctor. They are the people who have high knowledge and expertise in specific fields or subject areas.
These may include UX writers, visual designers, developers, content strategists, etc. When they identify a problem, domain experts join a team to examine the issue in greater detail and provide specific solutions.
Benefits of UX Audits
Health checks are essential for detecting and preventing illnesses. They can lead to a stronger mind and body and reduce healthcare costs. In the same way, UX audits can provide guidelines for a better product or service.
- Increase sales and user retention - A better user experience can lead to increased conversion rates, as users are more likely to complete desired actions (such as making a purchase) if they find the product easy and enjoyable to use.
Diagnostic referral: A/B Tests
- Reduction of development cost. By identifying and addressing user experience problems early on, your business can avoid the need for costly redesigns or other expensive development work down the line. This can save time and money, and help you achieve your goals more efficiently.
Diagnostic referral: Performance stress test
- Improved general usability. By identifying and addressing areas of confusion or difficulty, UX audits can help make a website, app or service easier to use. This can lead to a better overall user experience and can help reduce the number of users who become frustrated and abandon the product.
Diagnostic referral: Usability Tests
- Improved user satisfaction. By identifying and addressing problems with general usability and design consistency we can create a great overall experience. That will lead to higher brand and product loyalty, and in consequence, higher sales.
Specialist referral: Product Designer
- Improved content and communication. Consistent, high-quality content can help build a client's brand reputation and increase awareness of their products or services.
Specialist referral: UX Writer
- Brand consistency. Identifying and addressing communication inconsistencies, such as values, messaging, visual elements, and tone across all channels and touchpoints.
Specialist referral: Brand Designer
- Recommendations. Clear guidelines on how to address issues and the list of actionable items that the client can perform on their own to improve their product.
Follow the Doctor’s Order
It is important to remember one thing about UX audits. Just like visiting a doctor only for medical advice, a UX audit itself will not help your business or product. UX audit can help identify problems your business faces but not solve them. It is following the recommendations of UX audit results that can bring visible ROIs.
Just as you would visit your GP for regular health check-ups, it's essential to carry out UX audits periodically to ensure that your product or service is up-to-date and user-friendly. And just as you would visit a specialist for more in-depth examination and treatment, a case-specific UX audit can provide a more comprehensive evaluation of your product.
They can also help you identify specific issues that require more specialized attention. Overall, UX audits are critical in ensuring the overall health and success of a product or service, just like a visit to your GP can help you and your loved ones grow healthy and ensure longevity.