UX Audit: Essential or Optional?

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

Dilbert tells his boss “Customers are complaining because our user interface is confusing; e.g. our menu for Deleting a file is labeled Save file”; Boss responds by saying “That’s why we have a Help menu” and Dilbert in his usual style says “Our Help menu is labeled Reformat hard drive”. Hilarious isn’t it?

I thought the creators got it bang-on (amidst that sarcasm). Having been a product manager and product developer, I have experienced this many times. More often than not, the product manager is in the trenches hence fails to take notice of how cumbersome the product has become over a period of time. The impact is dreadful, you may notice receding users, customers losing their excitement, users going back to tried and tested model of operation, etc. End of the day, the product takes the beating and eventually, revenue goes southwards.

With that thought, I continued my day and got involved in my daily rituals at work. Interestingly, I was pulled into a meeting by my Chief Experience Officer with a founder/mentor of a very interesting started-up. 40 minutes into the meeting, we got a very similar impression. A rock-solid idea, good customers, built on great tech platform; simply put, a lovely combo that most people would envy. We wondered whether they are getting into the same loop I described earlier; we don’t know and it’s our hypothesis.

Getting back to the headline of this essay “ UX Audit: Essential or Optional”. Yes, it is imperative. But when? Let’s list a few scenarios:

What is the least common denominator? Unknown reasons, which means you lack data to take corrective measures (in other words, you need data). What if instead of simply wondering about it, you could analyze data and find out, based on solid facts, what has to be done to amend the situation? This is when the UX Audit comes in handy. Simply put, UX Audit is an expert assessment designed to check how your product is performing in terms of usability and user experience. What are the steps involved in a typical UX Audit?

Analysis of the product: Deep analysis of the product is a prerequisite to provide any actionable recommendation. There are many ways to perform the aforementioned analysis; here are a few examples:

Actionable recommendations: Once insights are available (using one or more of the analysis methods stated earlier), they are turned into actionable UX recommendations which are data-driven (data gathered from those insights).

Action plan: The final step in the process is to define an action plan for executing the recommendations. In simple words, let’s say a UX roadmap. This is usually a prelude for the eventual product redesign process.

Given this understanding, let’s go back to the title of the essay, “UX Audit: Essential or Optional?”, I say essential, what do you say?

Originally published at https://www.raghsforte.com on April 30, 2020.



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Raghu Sarangarajan

raghsforte.com | Growth hacking | Product management | Customer success | Entrepreneur | B2B start-ups | ex-SAP