You have a visually stunning website that you believe has everything visitors would need, to buy your merchandise. The analytics show that you have a steady stream of unique visitors every day; but for some reason, very few actually make a purchase. Something is missing and you have to know what it is right away. It’s time to do a user experience (UX) audit.
A UX audit involves a set of processes that aim to improve website design which is responsive to your visitors’ needs. It uses tools and metrics to better understand where your site is going wrong. The issues it seeks to address include usability, conversion, and customer care. A UX audit is done with the end goal of creating the best website user experience.
How do you improve the UX of a website? Here are seven of the most general questions, to guide you in conducting a competitive UX audit.
1. What can I expect from a UX audit?
Before going into the particulars of how to improve website usability, it’s important to know what to expect (and not to expect) from a UX audit. This diagnosis can tell you what is working and what is not, but it cannot solve all the problems of a dysfunctional website, application or product. It can tell you about the needs of your visitors but only based on the data collected from your website. It is your primary job to know your visitors online and offline.
2. Can I do an audit on my own?
An audit is typically conducted on a website or app that has been existing for some time. Newer ones are more likely to undergo UX and usability audits continually through an in-house UX team. An audit will greatly benefit you if you do not have a dedicated UX team that regularly tests your systems. If your budget allows, go for a third-party UX audit service, to avoid possible prejudices by yourself or by an internal team when conducting the diagnosis.
Can you do an audit on your own? Yes, you can, so long as you can stay objective, have access to various UX audit tools and are well-versed on UX best practices and standards. Make a timeline and stick with it, to ensure you cover all processes needed.
3. How do I start with the diagnosis?
How do you improve user experience on your website? Begin by defining your objective which must have the greatest potential of pushing your business forward. You may want to increase traffic to your website and promote your content on social media. You may be interested in boosting new sales or increasing the average lifetime value. Your objective will serve as your compass throughout the audit.
Or, you can also do the reverse, i.e. identify the friction or the bumps that hinder your visitors’ journey on your website or app. Uncover the friction by analyzing your quantitative and qualitative data. Study your analytics and heat mapping tools, among others, and conduct on-page surveys with leading questions such as, “What drove you to buy a product?” and “What do you want to see on the website?”. Formulate questions that will provide helpful insights.
4. What are the tools available to me?
If you choose to conduct a UX audit yourself, you can take advantage of various tools online. Kissmetrics is one of the most popular UX audit tools today. It provides data-driven insights with customer segmentation and targeting, to help you better understand the pains and the gains of your visitors and customers. Kissmetrics tracks a visitor’s journey across channels, helping you understand their online behavior.
For beginners, Hotjar provides heat maps that visually represent visitors’ behavior on your website. It eliminates guesswork by recording actual visitor activity. Most importantly, this tool identifies the pages and purchase stages most visitors are abandoning. Other UX audit tools that you should explore include Quicktime, Optimizely, Mixpanel, and Crazy Egg.
5. How do I understand my UX woes?
A UX evaluation, which is part of the audit process, will give you the big picture on potential problems on your website or app. The evaluation is based on data collected using tools such as Kissmetrics and Hotjar.
How do you measure website usability through UX testing? You will need to recruit users, based on demographics, psychographics or their cognitive background. UX experts recommend recruiting five users per segment. Explain that you are testing your design solution, not them. Record each user’s activity on your website or app. Then, analyze their behavior. This guide is instructive for effective usability testing. You can also explore usability testing programs such as User Testing.
6. What is the time frame for a UX audit?
A UX audit is a continuous process. What is working for your website visitors today may not work tomorrow. It is also possible to get carried away with the process and spend too much time assessing your systems. Thus, it is imperative that you set a timeline for your diagnosis. A 2-3-week dedicated audit can give you basically everything you need to improve UX, according to UX audit expert Nate Sonnenberg (Head of Experience Design at Arthur).
7. What happens after an audit?
An audit will tell you what makes a good website user experience, but the real work is on how to make recommendations as applicable as possible. Here is a sample recommendation of a UX audit by Intechnic: “Replace the carousel with an interactive UserCentric Wizard that will help users quickly find the information they are looking for, based on who they are and what they need. The real estate taken up by the carousel can be used more effectively.” Notice that instead of just pointing out what is wrong with the design, the recommendation offers actionable solutions.
The behavior of website visitors and app users change over time, mostly faster than businesses care to notice. You should remain in the loop of trends and become familiar with the changing behavior of your visitors and users. This will help ensure that your website and apps will always stay responsive to their needs. Start with a UX audit today!
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