Firstly, what is a UX audit? If you are familiar with what UX design is then UX audit is the process of taking a closer look at the UX design of a SaaS platform or website; however, this time with data that’ll act as proof of whether this design is achieving the expected goals or not.
The data we compile from an audit enables us to identify areas that need improvement. We can focus on particular objectives like raising conversion rates or raising user engagement. You can choose how basic or sophisticated you want the UX audit for SaaS products to be. It's a simple approach for companies to assess their SaaS platforms and websites. Here is a beginner's guide to the auditing procedure to get you started.
The goal of a UX audit
When conducting a UX audit we look at how the design is performing. We start by pinpointing elements on the website that continues to confuse users. Then we consider those elements that cause visitors to leave the site. The audit unveils which sections, pages, or components are keeping users from making a purchase or taking action on your site.
As a SaaS business owner, UX audits are going to help you determine the areas on your website that are helping you convert the highest and the lowest. Also, it will help you better use your resources on what matters and not just waste your time and effort hoping that the new design changes are going to work.
The results of a proper UX design should look like a design change, a new information hierarchy, or a new feature that’ll help improve the overall UX and attain your conversion rate goals. So when conducting your own SaaS website UX audit, or hiring an outside firm like us, you should expect a detailed plan on what changes you should make and the expected results of these changes.
The elements of UX audit
Based on the goals of a UX audit mentioned in the previous section, you can decide what methods to choose to carry out the UX audit. Hence, based on your goals, you may use analytical software, survey tools, and/or usability tests that’ll help you pinpoint what’s working and what’s not. Those elements are here to help eliminate any guesswork out of the game and make it as straightforward as possible.
The elements are composed of:
- Website and mobile analytics (Google Analytics, SEMrush)
- Trackers and heatmaps (Hotjar, 3M maps)
- Key performance indexes (Revenue, ARR…)
- Conversion rates (Booked calls, demos…)
- Customer or visitor surveys surveys
- Interview session
Based on what you want to test or the hypothesis you want to confirm, you can pick the right stack of elements that will help you. In the end, they’re here to help you achieve your business goals in a much more efficient manner.
And remember, more is less in UX audits. Focus on just the tools that’ll help you fix your problems and achieve your goals. Since you can get caught up in all of these tools and methods, which exponentially stretches the period it takes to fix the problem that could be costing you tons of opportunities and money every day if it’s not fixed.
UX audit steps
So, since you have a clearer idea of what a UX audit is and its elements, it’s time to actually carry out the audit. Just as a side note, there is no one universal approach to UX audit; however, having a guide is definitely helpful, so we’ll explain to you how we conduct UX audits here at UNIMA.
Step 0: The prep stage
In this stage, before you decide on the elements and resources you’ll use to carry out the UX audit, you need to define why you’re doing it. Is it because you’ve noticed a drop in sales and visitor complaints, or is it going to be a routine UX audit? Based on what your answer was, you’ll start preparing a list of questions that you want to be answered by the end of your UX audit. The questions should be specific, measurable, and attainable. For example:
- How can we get more people to click on our CTA button?
- How can we get more people to take action faster on our website?
- How can we increase active engagement with the website?
- Why are users only scrolling through 50% of the home page?
- What pages do users leave the website from?
- What sections of the website do they usually scroll past through?
Every question should have a clear goal, and its fix should be measurable. This will help you set goals that you can actually fix and not waste time and resources on without a plausible outcome. Remember that half of the answer lies in the question itself. So make sure that you’re asking questions that you’d value their answer.
Step 1: Research and discovery
During this stage, we take a closer look at the current design at hand and the metrics that you need to fix. From researching the customer behavior, needs, wants and expectations + using the website as one of the visitors, during this phase is to just gather as much information as possible that’ll help in identifying what are the areas that requires improvement within the website.
During this phase, a wide range of methods could be carried out to get an answer to the following question:
- What is the current state of the website?
You might say that this question is pretty general, but it is what you need to be answered by the end of this phase. This question is pretty powerful since it will get you one step closer to answering the questions you’ve set in the previous step.
You could use different tools and methods to get the data needed for your audits, like Hotjar, google analytics, and SEMrush. Get the necessary historical data based on your needs. After getting the data, do a quick quality check on your website. Try to find broken links or funky sections that are supposed to look a certain way but look weird on different screen sizes, grammatical mistakes, and wrong color codes. Take note of them since they’ll come in handy when you’re fixing all the issues related to the website.
Additionally, you can write down what you expect the user journey map should look like on your website for the specific goals you’ve listed earlier. Creating a quick user journey map is a helpful tool that you can use to visualize your thoughts clearly and compare them to what you currently have on your website. This will also help you understand your visitors’ goals and how you can help them achieve those goals. And for an effective user journey map, interviewing actual visitors or customers will give back the highest return during this phase.
Finally, conduct a competitor analysis. This will help you understand the features they have on their website, what they’re doing differently, and what you need to do to outperform them.
Step 2: Action steps
Now you have the data, the website audit, a clear understanding of what your customers want, and you know what your competitors are doing. So now, you’re able to understand and set stones on what action you need to take to improve your site’s usability.
These steps could range from changing small button placements to entirely redesigning the information architecture of a page. Or they could be for conducting A/B testing, or the conclusion could be that we need more data 🧐. The need more data option would only happen if the problem you need fixed requires collecting data from a tool that you haven’t been using, in which case the best case, if possible, is to fix it after gathering more data. A good sample size is +-100 visitors per 1000 monthly visitors.
However, if you’re planning on moving on, setting a plan for the changes you’re going to make is an important step. Plus, ensure that you archive the design you have now to have some sort of a benchmark for when you make the changes, but for some reason, you decided to go back to your old design.
So make sure that you clearly map out the changes and how you’re planning to measure the results out of the new changes so you can clearly measure whether they were effective or not. Plus, archive your current design.
Step 3: Designing the changes
After setting the action plan, it’s time to hop on design tools like Adobe XD, Figma, Sketch, or Paint 🤪. During this step, we design the elements, pages, and/or sections that need to be changed and prototype them to visualize the user’s experience.
Designing the change before developing or implementing it is helpful since it will make it easier to perform any edits or modifications to the design itself or the user experience without wasting time on editing a coded version of the design.
So remember, prototype first, then implement once it’s ready
Step 4: Implementing or coding the new design
Now the prototyped design is ready to go live on the website and tested. During this phase, the dev team codes the changes, and they’re quality tested to make sure everything works well. But does it end here? No, not necessarily.
Bonus step for extra serious founders
After the changes have been implemented, you need to measure the results. Remember, the goals you’ve set need to be measurable, and you need to know if the changes were worth it or not. Since you did not go through all that trouble for you to just have another UX that’s still not helping you achieve your goals. You might not get it right the first time, but through implementing best practices and trial and error, you’ll surely hit the results you’ve set for yourself and exceed them. So KEEP TESTING AND ITERATING AS YOU GO.
So if you are looking for a team of experts that’ll help you conduct your UX audit and/or implement the required changes for you with lower risk and in a shorter time, we’d love to discuss it further with you over email, or you can directly book a meeting with us.