UX audit

April 1, 2022

UX Audit - How to Conduct - Experts Zone #19


Pawel Ingielewicz

Head of Design
UX Audit - How to Conduct - Experts Zone #19
ux/ui design(12)

Watch the newest video on Frontend House about conducting a UX Audit by our Head of Design and UX hero - Pawel. Have a nice watch!


Hello and welcome everyone into our Frontend House channel. Today I come to you with a new topic that is UX audit.

What is a UX audit?

Perhaps you have heard about something called User Experience Audit and what is it exactly? So all the people think that a UX audit is basically when some kind of designer goes through your web page and tells you what is wrong with it. So that's actually not what it is. It often is performed like that, but it's a mistake. It's not how it is supposed to be happening. 

Why do you need a UX audit?

So why do you actually need a UX audit? So perhaps, maybe you are wondering why you don't get as many leads as you would like. Or maybe you wonder why people add certain things to the cart on your website, on your ecommerce website, but they do not make a purchase. Why is it happening? What's wrong and how can I fix that? 

So the answer to your question may be lying in the User Experience Audit that might tell you what's actually wrong.

conduct ux audit

Okay, so what answers you might find in the UX Audit report? Why do you perform such an audit? Thanks to User Experience Audit we can give away to you what kind of things people struggle with during the process on your website. That's why basically you should contact and use UX design audit because you are often very used to your website. You kind of know what is what, which is where. And that's why you are not a reliable person to identify those errors or pain points.

So you need someone who will conduct this audit for you and people who will take part in this audit to underline what are the pain points. Overall in user experience, we find something that is findable, accessible, and usable after overall the experience that people have. So this is something called a cognitive walkthrough. And basically, user experience is a cognitive walkthrough. 

Cognitive walkthrough

What does it actually mean? So cognitive walkthrough is a series of tasks that a certain user must perform, that the usual user would like to also perform while being on your web page to complete a certain process. So a person that is conducting such a cognitive walkthrough is responsible for collecting people that are not familiar with your website and gives them a list of tasks that they need to perform in order to complete a certain process that, for example, we don't think or you don't think that is working on your webpage. And thanks to that we might find the pain points here. So for example like we have here - creating a task list. 

Creating a task list

So we want to see what is the process of buying something on your web page. So we create a task list that might start with, for example, clicking the “add to cart” button. But it might start with opening a web browser, navigating to your web page, and then choosing a product. So I'm showing you something that is in some kind of another step, but it's basically the same.

creating task list

So we have a task list and we give those people a task list that they need to perform and to take action. And one of them is to click the “add to cart'' button, then navigate to your cart, and then click the “make a purchase” button.

And we are checking whether or not those people have any problems with making this happen, with completing this task list. And if they have a problem at some point we ask what is going on? Why did you stop? What's happening? Do you have any problems? Maybe you expect something to be seen elsewhere and you cannot find it. So those are the questions that we will be asking those people.

It's basically like usability testing - when we want to test a certain process before going into development. So this is like the same thing, but we are doing it on your live product to determine where those pain points are. After some people are already using it. So creating those tasks list is actually essential. And it is the first step in conducting a cognitive walkthrough for your web page. 

Four questions to ask

And then when you conduct this walkthrough, there are four questions that you should ask.

Will the user try and achieve the right outcome?

The first of them is - will the user try and achieve the right outcome? So will he actually try to do it? And is the right outcome actually what the user intends to do? 

So, for example, if the user intends to make a purchase, will he actually achieve the right outcome on your web page? Is it possible? Is it easy for him? Is it findable? Is it usable? All of those things, all those factors are taken into consideration. That's why this is one of those questions that we should ask ourselves and ask the user if he actually did that.

Will the user notice that the correct action is available to them?

The second of them is - will the user notice that the correct action is available to them? So this is actually about being findable. Is the user actually able to notice something and find it? 

It's important because a lot of people think that if we put something in here, it will work for sure. And then it turns out that it's not working and people expect it to be somewhere else. This is the part where you can identify some problems with some objects, some actions being available and findable to the user.

Will the user associate the correct action with the outcome they expect to achieve?

The third question is - will the user associate the correct action with the outcome they expect to achieve? This is one of the usability heuristics, it's worth to check more about heuristic evaluation. But backe to the topic, The expected outcome - will it happen? 

For example, when I press the “add to cart'' button, I expect this product will be added to my cart. This is the outcome I expect. If this is going to happen? If yes, then that's good because the user expected something and it actually happened. We don't want anything unexpected to happen to the user, something that the user doesn't expect to happen to him. 

If not, then why? Why did it happen? Why is the outcome not what the user expected? Is it the fault of the copy? Maybe it lies somewhere deeper that the user mistakenly understood something before? For example, earlier, and now we have a finish and he expected something else to happen. Might be a lot of things. It's important also to check if the outcome is what is expected by the user.

If the correct action is performed - will the user see that progress is being made towards their intended outcome?

And the last question is - if the correct action is performed, will the user see that progress is being made towards their intended outcome? So this is something similar. 

So does the correct action was performed and was there the correct outcome? Is the user thinking, for example, if “add to cart” is a part of a process, the end of the process is making a purchase? So do I see that adding something to a cart is making me closer to my intended outcome, which is basically buying something. And this is something that we should also keep in mind. For example, as I mentioned just a while ago, I'm adding something to a cart, the product, so this is actually progress I am making towards making a purchase. 

It's important even from this side, just to give you a little glimpse of an off-topic. We need to settle things that are in real life and transfer them to virtual life. So that's why we are adding something to cart and then making a purchase because this is often how it happens in a shop, in a store, you take some products, you put them into your cart, and then you go with this cart and make a purchase under checkout. So that's why we do that. And that is why adding to a cart is expected progress that is being made towards the intended income that is going to checkout. Because this is what is actually happening in real life. 

That's why we know that this is good for us. So using real life examples, real life inspiration is a great idea to have your website user friendly. And this was the last question that we should ask ourselves - if the correct action is performed, will the user see that progress is being made towards their intended outcome?

Who should conduct a UX audit?

But who should conduct such a cognitive walkthrough? Well, basically this should be a person that didn't have much to do with your website or your application. Why? They do not know the certain outcome they expected, but they do not know it because they haven't been using it. Then they are free of assumptions and any kind of personal feelings towards it and they are much more capable of having a wider view of your web page, of how things should be performed. 

So if you want someone to conduct it, it's better to use someone that is not associated with your web page or your application. That's why you should choose experts that know how to handle those things and who can help you with conducting such a UX audit cognitive walkthrough - with them being completely free of any kind of tangles to your website or application.

If you choose those experts then you can be sure that your cognitive walkthrough will be done in a perfect way, will be done well, and you will be able to then identify the pain points that your users are experiencing on your website. And then, well basically you can correct them, tell them okay this isn't working so how can we make this work? And then there is another step that isn't actually in UX audit. So that's why you should hire experts (UX team) that will help you with UX audits - they will help you with identifying pain points and other errors that actual users may encounter on your website and then they can give you a recommendation on how you can correct that. 

That is very important. That's why you should be hiring experts that are free of any association to your website or your application - then they can be completely unbiased and capable of being in control of conducting a cognitive walkthrough and UX audit. They will guide you through the whole UX audit process, and even more, like managing such issues as usability tests, stakeholder interviews, user personas, user flows, google analytics, user interviews, user surveys, etc. - all connected with your target audience.

So that was all for today that I have prepared for you.

Remember that if something is not working on your web page or your application, and people are having difficulties completing something, it's always a good idea to hire experts to perform UX audit and check those pain points, identify them and help you with correcting them - making your application, your website or any other product that you have, user friendly. And simply helping you achieve your goals as well as your user goals.

And everything else regarding software and digital product development you can find here on our channel, we upload content every Friday so keep up looking for those and as for now, thank you very much and have a nice day. Bye. 

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Meet the author


Pawel Ingielewicz

Head of Design

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