Introduction to UX Audits
A UX audit is a review of the user experience of your website or digital product. The output is a set of tangible, actionable recommendations that streamline business processes and focus the approach.
User experience is crucial to website success. There is a 400% increase in visit-to-lead conversions with a site that has a ‘superior’ user experience (Forrester Research), and 89% of consumers move to a competitor after a poor user experience (Smartkarrot). These statistics highlight how important it is to regularly conduct UX audits to ensure you are offering the highest level of user experience. One way to do this is by evaluating your product or platform against a UX audit checklist.
Throughout this article, we will outline the essential areas to evaluate within a user experience audit checklist, along with key insights and recommendations.
UX Audit checklist
1. Navigation and information architecture
Information architecture, or IA, is the structural design of information systems and interactive products and services. IA helps users to discover and find information using prompts, labels, language and context to help make their journey as simple as possible.
When conducting a UX Audit, the “UX Audit checklist” should include a thorough review of IA. This is a crucial element of UX design, and its effectiveness is integral to the success of a website, product, or mobile app. A robust IA means a good user experience, which ultimately translates to lower bounce rates, repeat customers, and a superior product.
Key navigation and IA evaluation points:
- Are menus and navigation clear and intuitive
- Is labelling and organisation of content consistent
- Are user flows and journeys intuitive
2. Visual design and layout
Visual design and layout are key to how a user experiences a product. Interfaces should not contain information which is irrelevant or rarely needed. Each extra unit of information in an interface competes with the relevant information and diminishes its relative visibility. Visual design should be consistent with product branding and identity and should be used consistently across the product. A clear visual hierarchy between elements should be maintained throughout the design to enable users to navigate the product efficiently. Visual hierarchy can be created using grouping and proximity, colour, contrast and scale.
Key visual design and layout evaluation points:
- Are branding and visual identity consistent across the product
- Are white space and visual hierarchy being used effectively
- Is all content easily readable
- Are design patterns being used where possible
3. Responsive design and mobile optimisation
Responsive design is an approach that means that an interface will adapt to a device or different viewport. Responding to the environment that it is being used in improves user experience and engagement with a product.
Similarly, mobile optimisation means ensuring that website content is designed so users accessing it from a mobile device have a high level of user experience.
Key responsible design and mobile optimisation evaluation points:
- Are the layout and responsive design principles mobile-friendly
- Have media and viewport settings been optimised
- Have touch-friendly elements and navigation been considered for users on mobile and touchscreen devices
4. Content and copywriting
Clear, consistent and engaging copy helps you to communicate and build trust with users with ease. It is essential to understand the context and who you are writing content for. This will help to inform the tone of voice, format and structure of your content.
Key content and copywriting evaluation points:
- Is copy engaging
- Is the content relevant and of a high-quality
- Has the readability and scannability of copy been considered
5. Page speed and performance
Page load time can be vital in ensuring user engagement on a platform or website. Faster page load times increase traffic, sales and overall user satisfaction. Reducing your page loading time even by a second can dramatically improve your users’ experience.
Key page speed and performance evaluation points:
- Are all images and media files optimised
- Has caching and content delivery networks (CDNs) been utilised
6. Digital accessibility and inclusivity
Digital accessibility is a constantly evolving practice which removes barriers and enables everyone to have equal access to all online and digital content. Accessibility should be integrated through internal methodologies across the whole design process.
Key digital accessibility and inclusivity evaluation points:
- Is the platform compliant with WCAG guidelines
- Have considerations been taken into how users with different abilities will engage with the platform
- Have clear and descriptive alternative texts been used for imagery
- Can animation and media be paused and stopped
- Are consistent focus states used across the product
- Has colour contrast been considered across throughout the product
7. Forms and interactions
Users’ interactions with forms should be streamlined and intuitive. Forms should be designed to be logical, present context, clear actionable call to action and provide feedback to the user through interactive states, prompts and validation. Conducting usability testing on forms is crucial to ensure filling out a form is as easy as possible for the user.
Key form and interaction evaluation points:
- Are form flows streamlined and intuitive
- Is there clear validation, error states and guidance
- Is feedback and progress communicated to the user through interactive states
8. Analytics and user feedback
Analysing data and feedback from users through analytics tools is one of the best ways to understand how users are engaging with your product or service. This is an effective way for you to measure success, set goals and prioritise targets. Most importantly, it also enables iterations and updates to be user-driven.
Key analytics and user feedback evaluation points:
- Have web analytics tools be implemented
- Is user feedback being collected and analysed
- Are Iterative improvements being made based on user insights and data
9. Testing and quality assurance
Quality assurance and testing involve evaluating usability. It also considers performance, compatibility, consistency and logic. Testing and the quality assurance process enable the identification of any issues and assist in the refinement of a resolution.
Key testing and quality assurance evaluation points:
- Has cross-browser and cross-device compatibility been tested
- Are usability testing and user feedback integrated
- Is there regular bug fixing and maintenance
Following this UX audit checklist will provide a solid foundation to identify any key usability issues, gain insight into your user experience and reflect on your users’ needs and also on your organisation’s objectives.