UX Audit of Your Website: Recommendations for an Ideal User Experience

UX Audit of Your Website: Recommendations for an Ideal User Experience
Source: Unsplash/Will H McMahan

The digital landscape is changing quickly – new technologies and trends are constantly emerging and creating new demands among your users. Websites and apps need to keep up with these changes in order to stay competitive. It is important for new features to go live quickly and cost as little as possible. A regular user experience (UX) audit can help your company identify potential for optimisation and get the most out of your digital platforms.

  1. UX audit to conquer internal challenges
  2. What exactly is it?
  3. What costs can you expect?
  4. Procedure
  5. When should you conduct an audit?
  6. More inspiration in our »Best Practices« publication

UX Audit to Conquer Internal Challenges

In addition to the expectations of their own target group, companies also face internal challenges: employees come and go and valuable knowledge gets lost, responsibilities change, processes transform. All these factors contribute to inconsistencies that make your website slow and ineffective. This can lead to issues such as focusing too little on the target group in the rush to roll out a new feature or new employees not properly abiding by the corporate design. Furthermore, working with the same system every day can cause operational blindness, leading to obvious usability problems.

A regular UX audit can help avoid these mistakes. Experts evaluate the user experience of an interactive system and identify potential for optimisation. This turns vague assumptions into concrete assessments. Think of it like a check-up at the doctor’s office: rather than simply relying on your gut instinct to ensure your well-being, you should consult experts regularly. That is why the renowned Nielsen Norman Group recommends conducting a UX audit every 2 to 5 years.

UX Audit: What Exactly Is It?

Other popular terms are design review, expert review, UX review or usability audit. These allude to what the audits are usually focused on: design and usability. However, a UX audit by dotSource can easily be expanded to include other areas. By having the digital accessibility of your website evaluated, for example, you can already ensure its compliance with the Act to Strengthen Accessibility (Barrierefreiheitsstärkungsgesetz, BFSG), which will come into force in 2025.

If you are unhappy with your brand identity, you can have experts check the cross-channel representation of your brand. And if you are a fan of continuously improving your KPIs, you can get concrete recommendations for the optimisation of your design.

Even though the requirements and goals of companies are different, most audits are similar: a system’s strengths and weaknesses are identified and documented in a comprehensible way through methods such as heuristic evaluation and cognitive walkthrough as well as on the basis of the company’s target group information and web analytics data.

Both the needs of the users and your business goals are taken into account to obtain a 360-degree view of the system. The final result is a list of findings sorted by implementation priority. A UX audit provides you with a detailed and objective assessment of the current state, enabling you to make well-founded decisions on how to proceed. Smaller problems can be solved directly with little effort, while hypotheses for the improvement of uncovered potential can be verified with the help of A/B testing. More profound problems may require more elaborate measures, up to a complete redesign.

UX Audit: Why an Audit Is Worth It

The influence user experience has on the KPIs of a digital system is often underestimated. Yet it cannot be valued highly enough. One of the reasons for this misconception is that user experience is not easy to measure. Additionally, the collection of UX-relevant KPIs as well as the establishment of a connection to UX performance are often forgotten in projects. Despite this, the available figures show that user experience is crucial to the success of a system. Roughly 80 to 90 per cent of online shoppers are highly unlikely to return to a website they had a bad experience on. Furthermore, 75 per cent of users determine the credibility of a company based solely on the design of its website.

Often, problems exist on a website without those responsible being able to determine why. A UX audit provides an assessment by experienced UXD teams and thus paves the way for objective decision-making.

Even with in-house UX designers, it often takes an external assessment to pinpoint problems accurately – and an external team of experts offers another advantage: they are not involved in internal team politics and are therefore more objective. They are not afraid to address problems and can provide recommendations for action concerning important pain points. Besides identifying concrete problems, UX audits can also be used to measure and compare the usability of a system over a long period of time. This is an example of how the effects of UX measures can be determined.

UX Audit for an Ideal User Experience: What Costs Can You Expect?

Another advantage of a UX audit is its flexibility – it can be precisely adapted to the requirements of your system as well as your current situation. Depending on the use case, it can be kept very lean and implemented within a few person days, for example by limiting the amount of pages examined, the level of detail of the analysis and the scope of the consulting services. However, if there is a need and budget, a comprehensive and detailed evaluation that covers various additional aspects besides usability can also be carried out to facilitate decision-making and further planning with comprehensive consulting services.

By the way: expert analyses such as UX audits can be an inexpensive and quick alternative to user testing while still delivering a majority of the same results. It is true that user tests, such as usability tests, provide valuable insights, as some problems can only be detected by real users. However, they are time-consuming and costly and can usually only be conducted in later development stages.

Expert analyses can also identify potential sources of error that would otherwise be found in user tests; however, they can be carried out in every development stage and cover areas that user tests cannot analyse. dotSource’s UX audit covers areas such as digital accessibility, conversion rate optimisation and brand identity, while user tests are usually confined to usability.

UX Audit: Procedure

A UX audit always follows the same procedure. To begin, your company’s goals with the audit as well as the required preparatory work are determined in a kick-off meeting. In this stage, the UX team also aims to develop an understanding of your company and your target group. Then, the UX audit is planned: the pages and views to be examined are specified and the relevant device and software combinations to be tested are defined.

Next, the experts begin thoroughly testing your system. Various methods and a combination of manual and automated tests are used, depending on what aspects are to be examined. In order to identify and assess problems in the best possible way and to be able to provide recommendations for action, it is important for the experts to have ample professional experience and preferably knowledge in multiple fields. For most methods, it also makes sense to work in a team. More experts­ find more problems – according to the Nielsen Norman Group, 5 to 7 people are ideal. This also helps normalise outliers in the assessment.

Afterwards, the findings are transparently documented, prioritised and presented to you. Further consulting services may be provided depending on the assignment. For example, the findings can be supplemented with recommendations for action and initial design drafts so that they can be seamlessly passed on to the developers.

UX Audit: When Should You Conduct an Audit?

A UX audit should be carried out regularly for all digital systems. However, additional audits can also be helpful, for example when major projects are in the pipeline, new products or channels are introduced or new legal regulations come into force.

Since you know your system best, we have prepared a few questions to help you determine whether a UX audit makes sense for you:

  • Has it been longer than two years since the last UX audit?
  • Could you benefit from external expertise and a new perspective on your system?
  • Do you notice your KPIs deteriorating and suspect a design issue, but are unable to pinpoint the problem?
  • Do you have a major UX project (like a redesign) coming up soon?
  • Are you about to launch a new product or digital channel?
  • Do you provide products or services for customers that cause you to be affected by the new accessibility legislation?
  • Would you like to receive concrete suggestions on how to make your system more user-friendly and accessible?
  • Would you like to improve your system’s usability and user experience, but do not want to spend too much money on user testing?

If you answered »yes« to any of these questions, you should definitely find out more about our services.

UX Audit for an Ideal User Experience: More Inspiration in Our »Best Practices« Publication – Download It for Free Now!

UXD Best Practice

Draw inspiration for a holistic and high-quality user experience from our »User Experience Design Best Practices« publication. Take a look at selected B2B and B2C success stories to learn how companies can improve their usability, enhance customer experiences and strengthen customer loyalty. Fill out the form now and receive a free copy in your inbox!

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