For many of our clients they’ll often have a sense that something might be ‘wrong’ or a lingering feeling that they should be getting more value out of the website, apps or digital services they’re responsible for. Knowing how and where to go about addressing these issues can often seem a huge challenge, without a clear place to begin.
At MMT Digital, this is where an experience design audit plays a crucial role in uncovering issues and discovering opportunities.
In this article I’ll walk you through the things you need to know about experience design audits. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll then be able to take that decisive next step towards not just improving your digital experiences for your customers, but crucially, unlocking the business benefits that come with the delivery of great digital experiences.
So, let’s get started.
WHAT IS AN EXPERIENCE DESIGN AUDIT?
Whether you’re planning a new, or improving an existing digital product, an experience design audit is used to provide early insight and to help identify quick-win opportunities and areas for further exploration with both customers and your internal stakeholders. These follow-up activities then tend to become the main activities during the initial research phase.
Experience design audits can also often be preceded by an analytics review. An analytics review can be particularly useful in helping to identify potential experience issues or pain points. These issues can then be investigated and addressed as part of the audit.
WHAT WILL I GAIN FROM AN EXPERIENCE DESIGN AUDIT?
As well as identifying issues and pain points, an audit is also valuable in identifying strengths associated with your current digital experience. These strengths don’t just relate to business performance in terms of conversions and revenue, however. For most people, digital has now become the primary channel by which they interact with brands, products and service providers. This means that delivering great digital experiences has become increasingly synonymous with wider brand experience delivery and relationship building.
Importantly, an audit will help you to better understand the problems you need to focus on and the context surrounding them. It will also help to provide direction on how to tackle them and unlock hidden opportunities.
WHAT AREAS DOES OUR EXPERIENCE DESIGN AUDIT TYPICALLY COVER?
Our experience design audit is essentially a structured review of the different aspects of your current website or digital product’s experience and will typically look at:
navigating through a website or app
reviewing interaction behaviours in terms of their appropriateness and consistency of use
critiquing the layout and visual design across different devices (mobile, tablet, desktop, for example)
evaluating the search, findability and learning experience provided to customers to help them find relevant content
reviewing content structures and the way information is presented to users to aide understanding and decision-making
assessing the broader quality of engagement and the wider brand experience your digital product provides
Each issue we identify in the audit is then accompanied by an explanation of its likely implications to the customer and our client, together with at least one or more recommendations on how to potentially resolve the issue.
Our recommendations may also include further research or investigation, where appropriate, to ensure that an insight-led approach is maintained throughout the process. This helps avoid the common pitfalls associated with more assumptive design approaches.
We’ll also often illustrate our recommendations with best practice examples from other digital experience providers. Where appropriate, we may even include ‘quick sketches’ to help bring recommendations to life in our accompanying report.
Some examples of how clients have benefitted from our user experience design audit
For a major financial services provider, we identified quick wins to deliver disproportionate gains in user experience and business performance. These included improving their business proposition and bringing their purpose to life, as well as connecting the digital experience with their excellent branch experience.
For a leading international animal care organisation and a UK university, we determined key areas of focus for the next stages of the experience design process.
For a leading public sector transport provider, our audit helped shape future roadmap planning and prioritisation as part of a wider set of strategic experience design improvement activities.
HOW LONG WILL THE AUDIT TAKE?
The length of time required to complete an audit will largely depend on the range and depth of the valuable in-scope digital experience. Typically, an audit will take five to seven days per website or digital service, slightly longer for more complex or content rich websites. This timeframe also allows for the production of a summary report, which we can then walk you and any other key stakeholders through.
If you’d like us to help you build a strategy to supercharge your digital products and ensure you’re getting maximum value, please email us at email@example.com.