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UX Audit Checklist: How To Complete a UX Design Audit

With the right design, your business website or app can be a powerful asset. A UX audit checklist can help you identify and fix broken systems, find opportunities to optimize your design, and ensure that you’re providing your visitors with the best experience possible.

UX audit checklist

This UX audit checklist and guide will explore:

Let’s dive into it!

What is a UX audit?

A UX audit is an evaluation process that assesses the design and functionality of a website or app from the user’s perspective. This is done through a mix of analytics, usability testing, and user testing. The process sometimes also includes interviews with users.

You can hire an agency to perform a UX audit on your website or app, or you can do it yourself with our UX audit checklist.

When to perform a UX audit

There are a few different scenarios where you might want to perform a UX audit:

  • Before you launch a new website or app. This gives you an opportunity to address potential issues up front and ensure a smooth launch.
  • When you notice a significant change in interactions. If there’s a sudden increase in abandoned carts on your site, for example, it might be time to run a UX audit of your ecommerce systems.
  • Once every two to three years. This can help you ensure that your site continues to work even as things like browsers and mobile devices evolve. If your site has a complex functionality, you may even want to run a UX audit every year.

👉 If any of the above apply to you, then use the checklist below to complete a thorough UX audit:

UX audit checklist ✔️

1.

Preparing for a UX audit

  • Clearly define the business goals of your website or app
  • Create customer personas
  • Map out customer journeys
  • Gather relevant analytics, previous audit documents, and other relevant data
 
2.

Usability testing

  • Create task lists based on your customer journeys
  • Find users to perform the tasks
  • Observe users’ experience
 
3.

Accessibility testing

  • Use an accessibility testing tool
 
4.

Compiling UX data

  • Compile your notes into a master document
  • Use data to identify gaps in messaging and functionality
  • Create actionable suggestions
 

UX audit checklist: detailed breakdown

Preparing for a UX audit

Before you start a UX audit you’ll need to establish a framework for evaluating your site. This means understanding both what you want your site to do and what customers want to get out of your site.

1. Clearly define the business goals of your website or app

The first thing you’ll want to do is establish what your site or app is meant to accomplish. For example, if you’re running a UX audit on your website, you might list the following goals:

  • Inform visitors about your brand, services, and products.
  • Convert visitors into newsletter subscribers.
  • Sell products and services to visitors.

👉 If you’re not sure what to list as your goals, check out our guide to setting effective blogging goals.

2. Create customer personas

Customer personas are profiles that represent specific segments of your audience. For example, if you sell sportswear for men, you might create a persona named “John” to represent joggers and another persona named “Robert” to represent people who play team sports. You can further narrow this down by creating different personas for people who play various sports, like a persona for hockey players and a separate one for baseball players.

Your customer personas should include as many details about these customers as possible, starting with basic demographics data like age and gender. If you already have customers, you can use a combination of analytics and customer surveys to find this data. If you’re just starting out, however, you’ll need to base this information on data gathered from other sources. eMarketing Stars has a great guide to building customer personas with or without data.

3. Map out customer journeys

A customer journey is the path someone takes when they visit your site. Customer journey maps include both the practical steps visitors take and a visualization of their thoughts, feelings, and goals as they interact with various parts of your website or app.

Most customer journey maps use a combination of charts, images, and text to illustrate several categories of information. These include customer goals, customer actions, customer feelings, and business goals.

👉 If this part of the UX audit checklist feels overwhelming to you, you can use a customer journey map template.

4. Gather relevant analytics and documents

Next, you’ll want to gather all of the analytics data you have for your website or app. This may include regular analytics, heatmaps, click tracking, or other data related to how users interact with your site. If you haven’t already set up analytics for your site, check out our guide to optimizing Google analytics for WordPress.

You’ll also want to compile any data you have from previous UX audits. This can give you a basis of comparison to see how your site’s performance has improved or worsened since your last UX audit.

Usability testing

Usability testing is a process where someone observes a user interacting with a website or app in predetermined ways. The user performing the tests should be representative of the customer personas you’ve built.

1. Create task lists based on your customer journeys

Task lists establish the actions you want users to take on your site during the testing process. These can be highly specific, step-by-step guides to interacting with individual parts of your site, or open-ended lists that encourage more organic interactions with your site.

Here’s an example of a task list you might give to a user testing the shop area of your website:

  • Open homepage
  • Go to shop page
  • Choose at least one product
  • Go to your shopping cart
  • Complete your order

As you can see, this provides a clear structure for the user to work with and gives the observer categories to sort their observations into.

Pro tip: Looking at your analytics can also help you create task lists! For example, if you notice a large number of people picking out items in your store but not completing orders, you might need to run usability testing on the shopping cart area of your site.

2. Find users to perform the tasks

Once you’ve established a structure for your usability testing, you can start looking for people to participate in the tests. There are a few sources you can use:

  • Your professional network. Your colleagues can provide valuable insight into how usability compares to similar apps or websites. However, these people are probably already experts in what you do, so they’ll have an easier time navigating your site or app. This means that colleagues shouldn’t be your only source for test users.
  • Friends and family. If you have friends or family who share demographics and interests with your customer personas, consider asking them to help with usability tests.
  • Customers. You can reach out to your existing customers for assistance with usability testing, either by approaching them directly or by inviting them to participate through a newsletter or social media.
  • Customer proxies. These are people who resemble your customers but might be easier to access. For example, if your customers are tech professionals in a different country, you might use tech professionals in your own country as proxies.

Remember that you’ll want to find at least one user to represent each individual customer persona. This means that if you have four customer personas, you’ll need at least four users to test your site.

3. Observe users’ experience

With your participants gathered, you’re ready to run your test! The key here is to closely watch users’ interactions with your site. You also want to make sure you’re documenting everything with screenshots and notes. Every time your user takes an action, you should be making a note or a screenshot.

You should also give users space to make their own notes and ask questions, as these can help you see the functionality of your site from a different perspective.

Accessibility testing

Accessibility testing is a process that ensures your website or app can be used by a wide range of people, with an emphasis on making your website or app accessible to people with visual impairments and other disabilities. This type of testing is one of the most technical items on the UX audit checklist, so we recommend using an automated tool:

1. Use an accessibility testing tool

There are many free tools online that can help you test your site for accessibility. One of the best is WAVE, the Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool. All you need to do is enter your URL and WAVE will create a visual overlay to show you exactly where accessibility issues are:

UX Audit checklist - Accessibility testing with WAVE

You can then take note of any errors or alerts mentioned by WAVE and deal with them when you implement your UX audit suggestions.

Compiling UX data

Once your testing is complete, it’s time to take what you’ve learned and turn it into actionable steps you can use to fix your website or app. There are three steps to this process:

1. Compile your data

The first thing you’ll need to do is to make sure all of your data is contained within a UX audit master folder. You’ll also want to make sure everything is clearly labeled so you can find it when you need it.

2. Use your data to identify gaps in messaging and functionality

Next, you’ll need to study the data for patterns that expose issues with your site’s messaging and functionality. You can start by asking a few questions:

  • Are there any features that are broken? What impact are these broken features having on your users?
  • Are people confused by any of the content on your site? Is this causing a drop off in engagement, and if so, at what point does the engagement drop off?
  • What parts of your site or app are successfully achieving their goals? What makes them different from less successful areas of your site or app?
  • Is accessibility consistent across the site or app?

Create a new document to list everything you notice. You may want to organize your observations into categories like “Usability” and “Accessibility” or “Successes” and “Issues.”

3. Create actionable steps for improving your site/app

Finally, you’ll want to create actionable suggestions for improving or fixing various areas of your site. These should be based on the issues you identified in the previous step.

Here are some examples of how this might work:

  • If people are confused by something on your site, you might rewrite the text or change design elements to more clearly point users in the right direction.
  • If your shopping cart is broken, you might need to do some tech troubleshooting or even switch to using different ecommerce tools.
  • If your site isn’t accessible to visually impaired users, you might need to use a larger text size and add captions to your images.

Again, you’ll want to list these items in a new document so the suggestions are easy to access.

Final thoughts 🏁

A UX audit can help you understand why users are, or aren’t, interacting with your site in certain ways. This allows you to make strategic improvements to your site or app, enhancing your customers’ experience, and bringing you closer to achieving your business goals.

🔖 Bookmark this UX audit checklist so you can come back to it when you need it!

🔎 If you want to level up your UX designer skills even more, then take a look at the eight best UX research tools to use in 2023.

Do you have any questions regarding our UX audit checklist? Let us know in the comments section!

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