Let's start with a definition. What is UX? UX (User Experience) is often grouped with UI (User Interface) but they are different. While UI incorporates the physical aspects of a web page, UX is more concerned with processes and journeys. An aesthetically-pleasing website is great, but what happens if a site visitor cannot navigate it intuitively? If your company sells widgets online, you have a vested interest in making sure that a buyer who arrives on your website can easily follow that path and make the purchase. Moreover, it's critical that your buyer feels good about the experience and that there were no dead-ends or misfires along the way.
Just as brick-and-mortar stores have collected data about how shoppers navigate the physical space (interestingly, in the U.S. shoppers will almost always go to the right - sometimes called the Invariant Right - and proceed counterclockwise), there are also some commonalities in how most people navigate websites. Identifying those trends and tendencies is at the heart of UX.
At Fyin.com, we've seen a sharp uptick in the number of UX audit requests we receive from month to month. A thorough UX audit helps a company or organization gain a deeper understanding of how visitors are interacting with its website. The building block of a UX audit, as you might imagine is data.
We look at a lot of data points, but in some cases, we’re looking as much at what isn’t happening as what is. If the hero section of your homepage isn’t generating a lot of clicks, that’s prime real estate potentially being underutilized. Another example: the heading of a section is getting more clicks than the “learn more” link at the bottom.
How do we collect all this data? One of the tools we use is HotJar, which offers the following analytics:
Heatmaps are visual representations of what users are doing on a page, from clicking to scrolling, using color to indicate activity. A click heatmap uses spots to indicate where people are clicking, while a scrolling heatmap shows how far down a page your visitors are scrolling. Movement-based heatmaps are specific to desktop visitors and track mouse/cursor movement across a page.
Heatmaps are segmented by device, so you can focus on desktop interactions on their own versus tablet and mobile.
Visitor recordings allow you to see videos of user sessions, from clicks and scrolling to forms being filled out (with different levels of security to suppress sensitive information). Recordings can be tagged and filtered to create segments that are useful for identifying trends.
Similar to Google Analytics, funnels allow you to define a flow from start to finish and easily spot points where drop-offs occur along the way. Being able to identify a page or step that’s causing friction can give you a way to quickly address the issue.
In the same way form analytics allow you to fine-tune page flows, form analytics allows you to expose what fields in a form are causing the most drop-off. Sometimes the solution is as simple as reducing the number of required fields or adding progressive profiling.
Feedback polls can be set up with questions customized to your audience, triggered on specific pages or based on interactions. There is also an incoming feedback feature that can collect real-time data from your visitors.
Create a survey for your site visitors . . . or use industry standard surveys like the Net Promoter Score (NPS). You’ll be able to show the survey in a modal on your website, and also as a URL to promote via email, social media, etc.
What Happens Next?
Once we have lots of data, we begin to analyze it and make recommendations accordingly. Some changes may be fairly straightforward. For example, we may find that site visitors are attempting to click an element that's not clickable. Sometimes making the element clickable is the right path, but not always. A UX audit may result in small tweaks or larger-scale overhauls - or sometimes a little of both.
How Do I Know if I Need a UX Audit?
A UX audit may ultimately confirm that your site is in good shape. Site visitors enjoy visiting it and tend to navigate it the way you intended. They are following calls to action and aren't scratching their heads because they can't find your phone number. In that case, a UX audit brings peace of mind. It's a rare site, however, that wouldn't benefit from some small but critical tweaks. An audit gives you a roadmap which, when followed, leads to happy customers and return visitors.