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User experience is the backbone of a software solution’s success and demand among target users. Modern TAs crave not just an experience, but a high-quality time of their life with a digital product they’d want to recommend to their friends. And the level of UX you provide directly reflects how much you focus on the users’ convenience and satisfaction.
But how to achieve a truly impactful level of user experience that won’t confuse or plain repel users? Northell’s specialists have been researching, building, and optimizing UX for years of market practice. And we can now state one thing for sure – UX audit is a “must-do” procedure when it comes to any solution at the stage of design or even a running digital product.
The following info will come in handy if you are:
- a project founder looking to reinforce the quality of an MVP or early product prototype;
- a product owner with an intent to cleanse the UX from errors and flaws;
- a marketing specialist adjusting the user journey and looking for efficient conversion methods.
Why Is It Such a Big Deal?
What’s the use of UX audit in the first place? At its core, the whole process is sort of preliminary research that helps to:
- Identify the best practices and common software design trends in the market;
- See what you may need less or what you should add to your own product;
- Approach product design more in-depth as a whole.
Based on this fundamental info, you can kick off the UX implementation phase of the project in the most elaborate way and more likely achieve the desired metrics and user satisfaction results. It’s simple, really – when you audit experience you are about to introduce to the target audience, you know for sure how the whole software design would work and act in practice.
And in the long run, a well-design product with UX elements that hit the spot is what drives sales and business profits. This is a brief take on why a timely audit can be such a big deal. We mention more particular benefits below. But let’s start from the top.
User Experience Audit – How It’s Done
The process is subsequent and mostly about observing and analyzing. As for the timing, it’s never too early and never too late to start going through the UX flaws and errors. The process is commonly implemented either at the early stages of product creation or in terms of the software redesign effort. Here’s how it goes stage by stage.
Of course, it is best to know exactly what you are looking to tackle with the audit you are about to conduct. In particular, the process can go as the whole design audit or be focused on separate elements (e.g., plain usability audit or strict content audit of the UX). So, first, figure out what exactly you will be auditing – buttons, image frames, search boxes, or all elements at once.
There are multiple ways you can start outlining the UX data to be further analyzed and put in the basis of product requirements and specifications.
- User’s perspective – the most standard thing to do is to put yourself in the place of a user and see what elements hinder you in doing target actions, what you find really convenient, what the interface might be missing, etc.
- Surveying and interviews – discussing the main UX points with project developers, sales and marketing specialists, stakeholders, and product owners, you get valuable insights from people deeply involved with the project specifics. For instance, you can find out what challenges had to be tackled by developers and what they think about the results they achieved thus far in terms of UX functionality.
- Analytics – if we are talking about a running solution, Google Analytics, for example, can be used to gather and review real-time analytics. This allows pinpointing traffic tendencies, user behavior traits, traffic spikes and declines, etc.
- Trends analysis – yet another common method is to analyze the top relevant trends on the market and compare the existing UX elements and functions with them. This simply helps to stay in line with the most hyped-up tendencies in the market niche and make sure you get a firm competitive edge to operate in the arena.
Reporting the hypothesis
Based on the insights you gather in terms of the above efforts, you can outline in detail the scope of auditing, i.e., what and why you should audit in the first place. This is called a hypothesis and it can go something like “the website lacks efficient CTAs”, “the product’s value isn’t highlighted well enough”, or “the type of software isn’t the most demanded on the current market”.
The research comes down to final audit recommendations on what should be tweaked, customized, polished up, or removed completely for the sake of the best user experience. These recommendations must be easy to comprehend and apply. Pro tip – keep it positive. Clients wouldn’t enjoy a plain raw critique of the whole product. Try to focus more on product improvement opportunities.
Real-Life Use Case
Timely thorough research and a detailed UX outline set the stage for the future design of the whole project. An essential part of UX audit is receiving and analyzing feedback from future users and the client.
For instance, with the Racers360 case, an in-depth study and constant communication with the client and target users of the solution allowed us to indicate the definite efficiency of gamification elements in the solution’s UX.
What is Racers360?
Racers360 is a complex sports video analysis platform that makes the life of coaches and sports managers much easier with powerful video capture and analysis tools. The powerful solution aims to provide the top efficient sports analysis capabilities in the market.
This is a unique platform in its own right and it was both challenging and exciting for our team to get a grasp of all the specifics and make a contribution to the platform’s overall UX improvement.
What we did exactly was:
- preliminary and user research for the most proper further user audit
- getting feedback from future users to add more on-point capabilities;
- adding the lacking basic functionality features (like separate interfaces for user and coach authorizations);
- reworking the existing software from scratch while preserving the basic concept;
Adding gamification elements should enable coaches using the platform to motivate their clients – the racers they train – to get more engaged in the process and eagerly return for more lessons. At the same time, a hassle-free, simplified user interface doesn’t repel coaches that don’t like to bother figuring out new software specifics.
In a nutshell, we made the Racers360 user interface simpler to understand and navigate, enriched the design with more user-friendly elements (big buttons and more contrasting colors), and improved the user-coach communication opportunities.
The Benefits We Got
With the Racers360 project as a vivid example, conducting an end-to-end UX audit brought us a bunch of benefits. And you get these, pretty much, from every other well-prepared UX audit, no matter the type and complexity of the solution in hand.
Comparing the product to existing competitor offers is among the main UX audit tasks. Setting it in line with the major market trends and combining the best approaches of various top market players can result in a firm competitive edge that will make the market introduction and further promotion of your product more efficient and well-received.
User behavior awareness
You get to know your users better and can implement the most useful, on-point features based on particular behavior patterns. And knowing your target users well enough to pinpoint their major pains and needs is half of the product’s success. Gaining such a valuable perspective also helps better indicate and understand declines in user popularity in the future.
When it comes to redesigning an existing software product (like we did with Racers360), a project improvement roadmap composed during a UX audit helps save costs by avoiding the need to redo big patches of the project completely. The product may not work the way it should or fail to meet the proper expectations, but that doesn’t always mean that it’s hopeless altogether. A thorough UX audit allows outlining the specific interface and functionality aspects to rework them only.
Along with the saved costs, you get much more chances to gain higher profits with a well-audited product launched in the market. In the course of the audit, direct communication with users helps create the most relevant point of value, which allows better hit the demand in the market. And this is a sure way to achieve a product that pays off fast.
The benefits of UX audit are undeniable – preparation is everything in the development of a software product of any purpose and complexity. Note also that the last but not least important stage of the whole process should be a follow-up UX audit. Reinforcing the proper effect of implemented changes will be the ultimate conclusion to project preparation or optimization.
Do you have a project that you need to make sure hits the market with a proper bang? Contact us to create a unique product of any complexity and puropse with a top-notch user experience.