A step-by-step guide to performing a UX Audit

Esmee Lewis

Junior Researcher

26 April 2023

A UX audit reviews the user experience of a digital product. It helps refocus organisations, ensuring that your approach is realigned to reflect your users’ needs and your organisation’s objectives.

To ensure that the UX audit report provides actionable and suitable recommendations, every step of the UX audit must be conducted with precision and rigour. This article will outline each step.


1. Review business objectives

The main goal of the UX audit definition phase is to review business objectives and gain a thorough grasp of what your organisation wants to achieve. Team members from other departments within the company may be included at this step of the UX audit process to offer a comprehensive viewpoint. This can encompass stakeholders like marketers, salespeople, product managers, developers, and others. 


2. UX Maturity Survey

To gauge the organisation’s degree of UX maturity, a survey is taken at the start of the UX audit. In the survey, team members throughout the organisation are questioned about how they see the company’s UX processes and what UX procedures or methodologies are presently in use.


3. Workshop

To provide the groundwork for the UX audit, the objectives of the workshop stage are to connect an organisation’s business goals with its target users, their journeys, and present challenges they might be facing. We hold a one-and-a-half-hour workshop with the project’s key stakeholders to define standards, such as accessibility and device support, to benchmark, to identify target users, to discuss users we might be able to observe and to agree on the project’s objectives.


4. User observations

User observations are conducted in UX audits in order to understand exactly how your product is being used so that we can get to the heart of user needs and pain points. Usually, six user observations are conducted remotely to better understand priority journeys.


5. Heuristic evaluation

Next, the UX team will assess your digital product against industry-standard usability heuristic criteria to identify areas of improvement and which areas are working. A detailed evaluation of the product’s design and usability is carried out. We might also access your organisation’s Google Analytics and other monitoring tools being used to gather data about current users. 

A heuristic evaluation consists of assessing your product against industry-standard usability criteria to identify areas of improvement. Some of the most common usability heuristics used for this evaluation are:

  • Visibility of system status
  • Match between the system and the real world
  • User control and freedom
  • Consistency and standards
  • Error prevention
  • Recognition rather than recall
  • Flexibility and efficiency of use
  • Aesthetic and minimalist design
  • Help users recognise, diagnose, and recover from errors
  • Help and documentation

The evaluator should go through the interface 2–4 times and note any usability problems before rating it against each of the ten heuristics on a scale of 1 to 5. Following this, we will conduct an analysis of the results and present them in a report. 


6. Proto-persona creation

Following the heuristic evaluation, proto-personas are created using insights gathered from your teams and supplemented by user observations and feedback. Proto-personas are helpful since they provide a foundational understanding of users and enable UX teams to provide recommendations corresponding to user pain points. Proto-personas are also beneficial as decision-making aids in the future, as they can be referred back to, so they validate potential new features and guide user-centric outputs.  

This stage involves a 90-minute workshop with key stakeholders to define and prioritise the audience. After the workshop, three proto-personas are created and visualised. 

It is essential to create proto-personas following the workshop and user observation stages, as these two steps will heavily influence the content of the proto-personas. 


7. Reporting and recommendations

Finally, all findings are compiled into a single UX audit report with insights, recommendations and an indication of the business’ UX maturity. The recommendations will guide and inform the decision-making process for the organisation on the next steps.


To conclude

Every step of the UX audit is significant as they all inform rich, digestible insights that will reveal how the digital product is being used and areas of confusion or difficulty that users might face.


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