How to conduct a UX audit yourself: 4 easy methods to improve site usability

Igor then shouted strongly: he threw some papers on the floor, angrily kicked an innocent stool and clapped his fist on the table endlessly. Half an hour later, we managed to find out the reason for such rage: Igor gave n-thousand rubles for a UX-audit, which turned out to be a so-called audit. 50 pages of tips like: "Replace red with less red", "It is inconvenient for the user to look at the light green circle". No research, evidence or hypothesis. Just tips "experts." Do I have to say that it did not work?

UX audit can be taken in hand. Below you will read what it is, when it should be done, and what it gives, what sources and methods of audit to use. The material is suitable for site owners, copywriters, marketers.

Why conduct a UX audit

Proper audit UX solves specific and measurable tasks. This is an opportunity to find out what difficulties the user is facing on the site, why he is leaving. The elimination of these problems will affect the loyalty of users, their willingness to move from potential to active customers. With a bonus, strengthen your position in the market relative to your competitors - the easier the site is to master, the more likely it is that, all other things being equal, the buyer will use it.

When you need a UX audit

Decide on the need for an audit based on a metric analysis. Otherwise, do not break what works. It's time to do UX if:

  • visitors come to the site, but do not perform targeted actions;
  • in the process of buying a product, users fall off;
  • users spend little time on the site, do not move beyond the first screen;
  • The interface is overloaded: useless sections and categories, incomprehensible functionality.

If the site has technical problems - fix them. If the site does not go traffic - sort out why. But don't bet on UX auditing. In these cases, it is useless and even harmful - you will spend time on improvements that are not the root cause of resource problems and still do not get the result.

Where to begin

The basis of the basics is goal setting. Take a look at the site and answer the questions:

  1. What does it exist for? What is user value?
  2. What do you want to achieve an audit? How will you evaluate the result?
  3. What forces will introduce improvements?

Next, determine the page for UX auditing: check the Yandex.Metrica login pages, highlight what is required (this is not necessarily the main one - perhaps more often users come by low-frequency queries). Analyze its key indicators (the number of calls or transitions, registration, time on the site, refusals) - they will be needed to find out the causes of pages sagging. After select the sources and method.

Sources for UX auditing

There are many sources:

  • website or application;
  • Style Guides - if there is a style guide, start the audit by studying it. At this stage, many questions will disappear - for example, sometimes the corporate style is neglected and the client leaves the site because he does not see the familiar coloring;
  • Google Analytics, Yandex.Metrica - for each project their individual analysis is relevant. If you do not know how to work with web tools, read "How to use the new Yandex.Metrica: a detailed guide for beginners" and "Google Analytics for beginners: the most complete guide in Runet." Analyze page statistics: session duration, number of users and refusals, information on devices;
  • competitor sites. Pay attention to the fact that competitors have a poor implementation - it is possible that you also have it, but it’s difficult to critically evaluate a site on your own. Copying good ideas is not allowed;
  • mentions of a resource in the network. We painted the search tools in the article "How to track references to a site / brand on the Internet?" - use on health. You can also initiate a poll on the forum with the target audience or compile it in Google-forms and send it to potential users on social networks;
  • call center, physical product sales office - interview managers to get user feedback;
  • standards and recommendations from platforms. To write an instruction to the engine or to make a design template, someone thought a lot, analyzed and studied. Take advantage of the experience of colleagues and delve into the capabilities of the platform.

Audit method of the UX-interface "Check-list"

Probably you have already used checklists and this method will not be new for you. To conduct a UX audit, use the “Usability Checklist: 200+ points to check.” Check how user-friendly the interface is, improve elements with errors.

What are good checklists:

  • include many items to check: a good checklist takes into account all interactions on the site, does not allow to forget about the details;
  • no skills required - you make corrections on ready-made recommendations.

The negative side of using checklists:

  • it is not difficult for a specialist to determine the quality of a check list;
  • points in some checklists raise questions: they are categorical and do not take into account the diversity of business situations;
  • There are no explanations for what this or that judgment is based on.

I recommend using checklists after the end of the audit to check the work. Do not select them as a standalone method if improvements require financial investments.

Heuristic evaluation of the UX interface

The heuristic evaluation of the interface was developed in 1990 by Jacob Nielsen (in fact, Rolf Molich also participated, but they prefer to keep silent about it). It is conceived that the method should identify the problems of the UX-interface, based on the principles of the human factor. There are 10 heuristics in total: they have not been proven scientifically; UX-specialists still argue about the benefits of their use.

Audit the interface for each of the heuristics and correct the items that were not criticized by the method. The method is similar to the “check list”, but heuristics are more blurred.

Advantages of the method:

  • free and fast way to assess the resource. Does not require any skills;
  • Popular method: ask any UX-designer and he will confirm - the method "is very much alive" and to check on it a site is a matter of honor.

Disadvantages of the method:

  • Heuristics are not scientifically proven: in fact, you are doing an audit on the personal recommendations of a foreign expert. This does not always correspond to the thinking and logic of the Russian user;
  • You will not find errors outside the heuristics - actions occur within the specified field.

Method "Card sorting"

The method will evaluate the convenience of navigation, category hierarchy and the location of elements. It is simple, but at the same time effective: for the audit it will be necessary to attract users of the site, and thus analyze their behavior in real time. For an amateur focus group, 7-10 people will be enough.

Take screenshots of website elements in advance: buttons, menus, navigation links, headings, etc. Print them, cut them out and arrange them in the form of cards. Now, invite users to sort screenshots according to personal ideas about the ideal structure of your site - at this stage you will clearly see interface errors from the point of view of users.

Go to the second stage of card sorting: use all variants of the method or the one that corresponds to the goal. There are three options: open, closed and reverse.

When open sorting, combine the cards into categories (for example, "headers", "arrows", "forms"), say the names to users. Show the focus group objects one by one and ask them to identify the name of the category they belong to. The check shows whether the set of categories is logical for the placement of elements on the page.

With a "closed" sort, audit participants themselves come up with names for groups of objects. This experience allows you to see the connection between the elements of the site through the user's eyes.

In the "reverse" sorting, you check the hierarchy of the structure. A person needs to find a suitable element on the card, scanning the page with a look from the top category to the bottom. This way you will find an error in navigation or sections of the site.

For convenience, focus focus audits should be recorded on video: with a thorough analysis, you will notice micromovements of the arms, head, lips, and eyes, which can help prepare UX interface improvements.

Component Examination Method

The method gives a complete picture of the current situation: after the audit, it is possible to correct critical errors and introduce new elements to improve user interaction. "Examination of the components" is time consuming: if you are not ready to spend weeks on research, it is better to rely on experts.

Before embarking on an audit, make a general opinion about the target audience. When you find enough information, create portraits of characters. How to do this is written in the article "Target audience: why know your client." Next, write down the context of using the site and 3-5 scenarios of behavior for each portrait.

Ask questions for each scenario:

  1. How to make the character work with the site faster?
  2. How to remove or reduce the number of his mistakes?
  3. How to increase the degree of satisfaction with the interaction?
  4. How to increase the speed of learning to work with a resource?

Of course, there may be more questions.

Next, engage the audit focus group: ask each person to go through the prepared scenarios. Record the results, conduct in-depth interviews. Formulate interface problems, write down possible solutions. In parallel, install Google Analytics and Yandex.Metrica on the site (if not), set up goals. Enter improvements by analyzing the fulfillment of goals.

To make it easier to observe the sequence of actions

Download the audit template.

Expert opinion

Find 3-5 experts in UX-design, ask to audit the site. Most likely just a request does not work and will have to pay them. After a couple of days, experts will find 95% of the errors and submit a report.

Advantages of the method:

  • experts will do a UX audit faster than you: they know the main mistakes and will notice what escapes during an audit with a focus group;
  • Most likely, experts understand the CEO, programming, and God knows what else: you get a comprehensive analysis and ready-made solutions for all problems.

Cons are significant:

  • the expert is subjective - his point of view is different from the user;
  • there is a possibility of an error in determining the root causes of problems in the interface;
  • the expert may be inexperienced.

Expert opinion should be used in conjunction with methods involving the study of user behavior.

“Find the first 5 sites of competitors on Google. Look at how the elements are located and make like most of them. Do not think out the impossible and original from your head: place only the data you need on the site. user. For a non-expert it is better to apply the focus group method: ask 10 acquaintances to draw what they think your site should look like with content. Then compare the result with competitors' websites, ”- Yevgeny Gushchin, interface designer

I hope you have found useful information for yourself and now you can conduct an audit yourself. Good luck!

Watch the video: Transforming Web User Experience. Google UX Research Lead. Jenny Gove (April 2020).

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