How to Do a UX Audit in 3 Simple Steps (with a Sample Report)

Imagine you run an online shop where you sell custom t-shirts. You know that thousands of users browse your website every day looking for the right product to buy. They check available options, add to cart favorite items, proceed to the checkout page, but they don’t finish a purchase. You start wondering why it is so. Is there a problem with the website’s usability? Is anything missing or unclear? You don’t know whether your site requires small corrections or a major redesign.

You are not the only one facing these challenges. Every website owner, sooner or later, starts thinking about conversion rate optimization. 

However, the question is – how to figure out what requires optimization? There are many elements on-site, what should you work on? 

As an expert UX agency, we share how you can investigate your website’s performance and discover usability issues with a UX audit

We will show you our proven step-by-step process that you can follow to conduct the usability audit for your website or an app. 

Here is a brief table of content for your convenience:

Before we get to the practical steps, let’s first examine what the user experience audit is and when it’s essential to do it.

What is a UX audit?

A UX audit also referred to as usability audit, is the process of a website or a mobile app’s user interface evaluation. It’s a handy tool for those, who want to identify usability problems in their digital products. It can also help you detect problematic areas that make users abandon their journey and leave.  

For example, an online e-commerce store UX audit might reveal that users lack information about the product delivery. It can also reveal that the payment options are limited and users don’t know how to pay. Moreover, if your checkout page endlessly loads, users will most likely close it in a few seconds. As a result, these issues could lead to a higher shopping cart abandonment rate on a site. 

While a UX audit cannot directly solve all the problems on a website or an app, it can be used to answer some profound questions:

  • Where do users experience difficulties in understanding navigation or functionality?
  • What does the data tell about users’ behavior and their needs?
  • What can be potentially changed on a website or an app to improve its business performance?

The usability audit should help you define the core problems in your product, which, if tackled, can increase your product’s conversion rates, improve its usability and address your users’ objections. 

As an expert design agency, we helped many companies run the UX evaluation to understand what prevents their customers from conversion.  Based on our experience, 5 user tests are enough to discover 80% of the usability problems.

If you are not sure how to conduct the UX audit, contact us, we would be happy to help you!

However, before you proceed with the usability evaluation, here is when it’s recommended to conduct a design audit to get the most out of it.

When to do a usability audit?

Let’s suppose you want to learn more about your users and grow your business faster. In that case, you will significantly benefit from a user experience audit no matter when it is done. Startups that want to validate their MVPs will find it extremely useful, too, be it a UX or UI audit

Consider UX audit as a health check. It can be conducted at any stage of your product’s life cycle to identify current performance issues and areas for improvement. 

Conduct a holistic design audit when you redesign an old website or an app that’s been live for some time. It will help you assess existing user flows, detect problems, distractions, or bottlenecks that prevent users from taking the desired actions.

If you plan to develop and implement a new functionality. UX audit will help you understand if the new functionality is a valuable addition to your product and whether users need it. Besides, you will also know if your functionality is well-perceived by users and whether they experience any difficulty in navigation.

UX audit is not only used when you have an existing digital product. You can apply the same process to validate a new product design before the development. At this point, you are still flexible to make changes that will not cause significant time and budget losses.

How much does a UX audit cost?

The UX audit costs heavily depend on the scope and complexity of work, who you work with (is it an expert agency or an individual freelancer), and the duration of the UX audit.

If you would like to outsource it and hire external freelancers, be ready to invest at least $1,000 -$3,000 for a usability audit. For this amount, you should at least get a checklist with usability issues listed and explained. 

Make sure to discuss the audit results with a freelancer. Moreover, check which research methods have been used to analyze your website performance. 

We recommend conducting user testing and learn about usability issues from the actual users. Such research provides valid and thorough information about your product’s performance. 

Established agencies might charge from $7,000-$12,000 for an extensive usability audit lasting 2-4 weeks. Expert agencies usually allocate designers and researchers to work on product’s audit. They examine the quantitative data, recruit participants for user testing and conduct interviews to learn about the product’s performance. Expert design agencies provide extensive UX audit reports and thrive to offer actionable steps to improve the business performance.

For instance, at UX studio, we help our partners better understand their customers’ pains through user testing and interviews. We record all interview sessions not to miss any information and include it in the UX audit report. Our UX audit always shows the main problems identified during user interviews, as well as an expert evaluation of the primary user flows.  At the end of each mission, we prioritize discovered usability problems and create a detailed roadmap with recommendations on how to tackle each of them. 

If you would like to improve your product’s usability but do not know where to start – let’s get in touch. Our experts will help you to thoroughly analyze your product, conduct usability testing, identify the core issues, and suggest the right steps to improve your product performance.

What is the output of a UX audit?

The UX audit findings are usually arranged in the report that contains:

  • Project description and the main goals of the UX audit.
  • Methodology. The report covers user behavioral information and quantitative metrics analyzed in the UX audit. It might include competitive analysis, user interviews, and testing data, customer journey mapping, A/B test details, and heuristic evaluation.
  • Test results described in detail, highlighting the main pain points and potential areas for improvement.
  • Priorities recommendations and suggestions that could improve the usability and maximize ROI.

There’s no universal format for the UX audit report since its size and structure depend on the work complexity.

For example, at UX studio, we create, share and present a user experience audit report to our partners, which contains all insights and discoveries based on empirical evidence. What is more, we also provide some handy, actionable recommendations on what to change in your digital product, and how to start making those changes.

To help you better understand what you can expect from the UX audit, here is our example report prepared for one of our partners – an Indian real estate giant MagicBricks. We conducted extensive user research to validate new feature ideas and define users’ main pain points on the website. 

Our sample UX audit report for an Indian real estate giant MagicBricks 👇

UX Audit Sample Report

If you need help with the UX audit, we would be happy to assist. Contact us and we will get back to you shortly.

To better understand where potential pain points were likely to arise, we ran workshops for each segment, ultimately mapping out the user journey.

The mission turned out to be a huge success thanks to MagicBricks and UX studio teams’ flexibility and professionalism.

usertesting

As a part of the UX audit mission, we helped one of our partners, Xeropan, which is an English learning app, to increase their app-store conversion rate.

Multiple usability tests have been conducted to identify the problematic points in the Xeropan mobile app. We showed users the App Store mockups and asked them to share their app perception.

We also conducted in-person interviews with prototypes, where we asked participants the same questions and tried to understand the reasons behind their answers.

Eventually, our experts came up with many design changes that helped increase the app-store conversion and user retention. 

We strive to collaborate with our partners in the long-term to show the value of UX design and align it with the development efforts. 

If you are looking for the right agency to help you with the UX audit, let’s get in touch and discuss how we can help you solve your current challenges.

How to conduct a UX audit

There is no officially accepted methodology on how to conduct the UX audit. Companies and individual UX professionals might approach UX audit differently. However, the general steps and the ultimate goals are often similar. The actual process can differ depending on the product’s complexity, the scope of work, and your goals. 

As an expert design agency with over 10 years of experience, we have developed our own process that we apply for all research and UX audit works. 

Here is our process, step-by-step. We aimed to make it simple, yet effective. 

Step 1 –  Getting to know the product and business 

At the beginning of the UX audit, it’s essential to get to know the product and the company’s business goals and then set up the key objectives and expectations for the UX audit

We usually strive to meet our partners and conduct workshops, interviews to learn about the business and its current challenges. We aim to understand the target audience’s behavior, the parts that cause misunderstanding, the reasons behind a poor conversion rate, and user flows that require a revamp.

In case the product does not exist yet, we strongly recommend conducting discovery research, interviewing potential customers to learn about their needs, and checking the level of competition in your niche market. 

The data collection step should help you understand the direction of the UX audit, the research methods to be used, and whether your goals are feasible to achieve. 

Step 2 – Collecting insights

At this step, UX experts should be already familiar with your product and its core problem whether it is a poor conversion rate, a high user drop rate, a new feature validation, etc. 

As a part of the UX audit process, we test the actual product with your users to detect design flaws, areas that cause misunderstanding and adversely affect the product’s business performance. 

At UX studio, we have a streamlined process to find usability test participants. Multiple channels are used from social media to professional networks and dedicated user recruitment partners to reach niche audiences. We choose the most suitable research methods to fit your needs and recruit participants from your target audience.

We use the results from the usability tests to create or iterate the prototype and re-test it with new users. Several ideation rounds help to accurately define the problematic product areas and come up with a solution that meets users’ and business’ needs. 

The research phase can last from 2 to 4 weeks depending on the test results and the initial objectives. 

Step 3 – Compiling findings into the UX audit report

At the final step of the UX audit process, an auditor reviews the findings and prepares the short- and long-term recommendations that should improve your product’s usability and performance.

Expect to get the usability tests and interview recordings, quantitative data analysis insights alone with the UX audit report

At UX studio, we always present the findings to our partners and comment on every suggestion to ensure the UX audit outcome is clear.

As an expert UX agency, we also help our partners implement the UX audit’s suggested changes. Our UX experts often stay in touch as the long-term partners, ready to assist any time.  It is important, though, to keep in mind that every UX audit mission is different, so we always adapt to our partners’ needs.

Looking for the right partner to help you with a UX audit?

Let’s get in touch and discuss how we can help you conduct the UX audit

Our experts will thoroughly analyze your product, conduct usability testing, identify the core issues, and suggest the right next steps to improve its online performance.

Dávid Pásztor

Founder and CEO of UX studio. Author of the book Product Design, TEDx speaker, one of Forbes 30 under 30. Enthusiastic about self-managing teams, new technologies and human-centered design.