The usability audit also called the UX audit or the expert analysis is a comprehensive evaluation of the website assessing the convenience of use and meeting the users’ requirements. The purpose of the audit is to check whether the website meets the actual needs of the target group in the best possible way, and which elements of the website can be improved.
Usability audit – what is it?
The audit is referred to as an expert analysis, as it is carried out by a usability expert. By using their knowledge and experience, the specialist finds and describes the problems of a given website or evaluates its usefulness in general. For this purpose, the expert can use one of the following methods.
This type of audit is based on the analysis of the interface in terms of heuristics. These are the rules and guidelines, by which it is possible to evaluate the website. Usually, 10 usability heuristics developed by Nielsen and Molich are used, but you can also use 8 golden principles of Schneiderman or 30 principles of usability Connell. Heuristics are not an ideal tool for the usability audit and their biggest disadvantage is the high level of generality. An effective analysis requires the researcher to have a great deal of experience and understanding of the specificity of operation of a given website. Examples of up to 10 heuristics created by Nielsen and Molich are as follows:
- clarity of the system’s state,
- adequacy of the system to the real world,
- control and freedom of user’s choice, consistency and standardization,
- prevention of errors,
- recognition rather than reminding,
- flexibility and efficiency of use,
- aesthetics and savings,
- support for users in diagnosing and diagnosing and fixing the problem,
- help and documentation,
This UX audit method is based on the testing of a website from the user’s point of view. The auditor assumes the role of the recipient and tests the system, performing typical tasks of the user / In the first place, possible scenarios of the recipients’ activities are created, and then the next steps are performed, thus checking all possible processes on the website.
We have prepared a detailed list of guidelines that the usability audit should fulfill. Each of the listed conditions works successively. The set of rules can be developed independently by the agency or based on publicly available sources. In contrast to the aforementioned heuristics, they are usually more specific. This can be both a disadvantage and an advantage because, on one hand, such analysis can be carried out by almost everyone. On the other hand, not every principle is reflected in every situation. For example, the rule that the logo should link to the home page does not tell you what happens when the user is already on the home page.
Popular tools used for UX audit:
- expert analysis,
- behavior modeling,
- map of user experience,
- conceptual scrolling,
- mock-up design,
- interactive prototypes,
- web analysis,
- conceptual workshops,
- IDI surveys and interviews,
- classified group interviews,
- guerilla type utility tests,
- remote and laboratory utility tests,
- analysis of good practices,
- context studies,
What does the usefulness audit include?
A properly conducted serviceability test should address a number of different aspects of its operation, including:
- The first impression and the identity of the website – the perception of the website by users and the target group.
- Does the home page fulfill its role – whether the links and elements of the home page are understandable to users.
- Hierarchy and organization of the website – is it understandable for potential visitors and not lost on subpages.
- The convenience of navigation – whether users can navigate the site in an intuitive way.
- Product search – form, search results, results correctness.
- Category pages – are they clear and contain enough information, is basic product information on the category card sufficient for users, or should it be possible to buy products from this level?
- Product pages – are they sufficiently informative, is the call to action button is legibly placed.
- Operation of the shopping cart and the storage room.
- The ordering process – the content of forms, the ease of registration and logging in, whether individual steps are intuitive to the user, whether the elements like the choice of payment, delivery do not cause problems.
- Shop’s response to unusual situations – whether error messages are displayed correctly.
How are bugs described in the usability audit report?
It is worth noting that there are no specific standards for how to write UX audit reports. Each expert has his own individual way of describing errors. However, to make the usability audit report understandable, it must contain some fixed elements such as a description of the error with the recommended solution, a screen presenting the occurrence of an error in the site, citation of heuristics on the basis of which the error was diagnosed and the determination of the error priority – low (small error, able to disrupt the flow of perception of the site, does not have a great impact on the implementation of the intended goal), medium (can cause a significant reduction in the usability of the site, impede the user’s goals, while reducing the effectiveness of the site), high (error requiring immediate intervention, preventing users from achieving goals, such errors cause negative emotions and often lead to abandoning the site).
Usability audit – is it a good idea?
Permanent development of e-commerce platforms is a standard nowadays. An investment in usability can bring a significant increase in the efficiency of the website, in the form of higher conversions, a lower rate of exits and, consequently, higher e-business profits. The basis for a well-prepared audit, however, is the use of appropriate analytical tools, if the research is to be carried out quickly, it is worth carrying out on a trial of real website users. Such a study will identify the elements that need improvement, but it will also be much more expensive than the research with the use of analytical tools. However, once in a while, it is always worth doing this type of study, as the results achieved are often surprising.