UX audits assess the user experience of a digital product such as a website, mobile app or platform. An understanding of the digital product’s performance is gathered using several methods, such as a UX maturity survey, user observations, expert heuristic evaluation and proto-persona creation. UX audits help identify how well your product meets user needs and your organisation’s objectives.
In this article, we outline six common mistakes to avoid when conducting a UX audit such as: Ignoring the User’s Perspective, Not Considering the Overall Business Goals, Focusing Too Heavily on Aesthetics Rather than Functionality, Not Conducting Thorough User Testing, Not Creating Actionable Recommendations for Improvement, Not Staying Up to Date with Industry Best Practices and Trends.
1. Ignoring the user's perspective
Ignoring the user’s perspective is a UX audit mistake you should plan to avoid. The user’s perspective is vital to understand how users currently use the product, their pain points, and identify the current strengths of the product experience. This insight is necessary for user-centric decisions to be made and means opportunities to improve the user experience are missed. Within our UX audit, we conduct user observations to gain direct insight into user behaviours and requirements. We also create a set of proto-personas to support decision-making and act as a gateway to further user research.
2. Not considering the overall business goals
Overarching business goals should inform the audit process. This ensures that the audit is mindful of what you want your users or customers to do when using your product. Not considering your organisation’s business goals can lead to mistakes such as providing recommendations not aligned with the bigger picture. Business goals and objectives should be discussed within an initial stakeholder workshop to provide an opportunity to discuss and create an aligned understanding of what these mean.
3. Focusing too heavily on aesthetics rather than functionality
Focusing too much on aesthetics rather than functionality can also lead to UX audit mistakes. Assessing the performance of functionality is vital within a UX audit. No matter how nice an interface looks, if users cannot complete the tasks required when using the site, it is not fit for purpose. Focusing too heavily on aesthetics alone can mean that important usability, findability, discoverability and accessibility considerations are missed. Conducting a heuristic evaluation which follows industry standard principles, such as those set by Nielsen Norman, is one way to support balancing functionality and aesthetics. As is conducting user observations – users will be able to provide an insight into functionality as well as feedback on the aesthetics if relevant.
4. Not conducting thorough user testing
User testing could take the format of usability testing or user observations in this context. User testing in a UX audit should be central to the insights you create. Thorough user testing means that you focus on the core tasks at hand and dig into understanding actions and pain points. Performative user testing, i.e. that which is only surface level, can not only waste time but take your recommendations in the wrong direction.
5. Not creating actionable recommendations for improvement
Not creating actionable recommendations is a common UX audit mistake, however, without these, your hard work to assess the user experience can go unutilised. This can mean confusion amongst teams on what to do with the insights and findings provided and where to take the work next. Actionable recommendations are at the core of the value a UX audit provides. Actionable recommendations take the insights created and provide activities or solutions that address the insight. At Make it Clear, we also take this beyond listing recommendations to provide a mini roadmap which outlines short, mid and long-term phases for improvements.
6. Not staying up to date with industry best practices and trends
Finally, not staying up to date with industry best practices and trends can also hinder the success of your UX audit. Not staying up to date with best practices, in particular, can mean that recommendations represent an outdated view. Trends are also essential to be mindful of, although not dictate the assessment like best practices; they can influence user wants and expectations. We recommend working with an expert UX team to ensure best practices and trends are considered.
Overall, these six common UX audit mistakes highlight the importance of conducting a thorough and effective UX audit to maximise its value and ensure the outputs put your product on a path to an excellent user experience.