How To Do A UX Audit: A Comprehensive Guide [UX Audit Checklist Included]

How To Do A UX Audit: A Comprehensive Guide [UX Audit Checklist Included]

Is your app or website getting a decent number of visitors, but you struggle to understand why your conversion rate is so low? It's a common issue that often stems from poor UX design. A host of problems, from low click-through rates to subpar retention can be traced back to design flaws. 

UX design audit aims to isolate and fix design issues that hamper your product’s appeal and result in lost customers and revenue. 

In this article, we describe how a comprehensive UX audit can help you boost conversions, increase engagement, and push your business forward. In the end of the text, you can find a short UX audit checklist that will help you keep track of your goals. 

What is UX audit?

UX audit evaluates how effective your current app or website UX design is. It’s a multi-step process that aims to identify and improve unsatisfying and unintuitive elements of current user experience. 


The point of the user experience assessment is to get an in-depth understanding of the users’ experience with your product. 

Simpler UX audits can include the analysis of your app’s or website statistics, analysis of user flows and pathways, and checking the UX against industry standards. 

More comprehensive and expensive UX audit services can also include user interviews, quantitative surveys, and usability testing with real customers, where researchers observe how successfully users complete certain tasks. 

Most of the time, UX audit is conducted after the application has been on the market for some time and encounters issues or needs a design update. 

Benefits from a UX audit

UX audits provide actionable recommendations that improve the quality of user experience. This translates into measurable benefits for your business. 

Deep understanding of your audience

A user-centric design inspection dives deep into your users’ preferences and needs. Virtually all UX audit methods aim to uncover how users perceive your product, the problems they face, and the design solutions that fit them best. 

In this way, UX audits bring you closer to your users and allow you to figure out what they need. 

This knowledge not only enables short-term improvements, but also remains relevant for the future iterations of your application. 

Better conversion rates. 

According to Jakob Nielsen, increased conversion rate is one of the strongest arguments for extensive user research and analysis. 

UX audits identify the pain points of your users and remove conversion roadblocks. UX audit service enables you to learn where users feel frustrated and drop off. This allows you to keep users engaged and facilitates conversions. 

Nielsen’s company, for example, has conducted numerous tests with registration forms. The results are simple, yet illuminating – removing even a single question can result in a huge conversion boost. 

Improved retention

TopTal research indicates that 88% of customers are not likely to return to a website after a bad user experience. Similarly, 90% of users have stopped using an app that had poor performance.

The bottom line? Bad UX makes users leave. 

UX audit helps you fix mistakes and make design decisions that cater to your users’ needs and preferences. This increases customer satisfaction and turns your users into regular clients. 

How To Do A UX audit

The list below is comprehensive and includes steps that are optional. The real-life UX audit process can differ depending on which UX audit tools you choose. So, you may choose to skip some of the steps if your case or budget demand so. 

Decide on your goals

First, you need to define why you need to conduct a UX audit. Do you want to reduce bounce rates? Increase conversion? Or are you planning a major redesign and want your app to be more attuned to user needs?

The direction and focus of the audit will depend on what your main goal is. For instance, if you want to boost retention, you can prioritize optimization of the onboarding process. 

Gather analytics data

If your app or website has been out for a while, you probably already have statistics and analytics results that could be helpful for UX audit. 

As UX designer Alex A. Szczurek explains, just with Google Analytics you can figure out whether your customers churn at the cart stage or only when they’re on the payment method selection screen. 

With quantitative analytics, you can learn behavior flows, the number of new and returning visitors, demographics, etc. And by using tools like Hotjar, you can get even more details about user behavior. 

You can also talk to your internal stakeholders to find out where they think the problems are. Talk to your developers, product, marketing, and other teams. There is a good chance you’ll gather useful knowledge about the issues your users may face. 

Create user personas

User personas are helpful throughout the whole design process. They help you segment the target audience, analyze customer journeys, and prioritize features. 

Kim Salazar, a Senior User Experience Specialist in Nielsen Norman Group notes that you can create your user personas using one of the two main approaches: 

  1. Data-driven approach. In this case, you create user personas by gathering and analyzing qualitative and quantitative data about your users. 
  2. Assumption-based approach. Some companies, especially ones with limited budgets, develop personas even without much empirical research data. Instead, they use assumptions and existing organizational knowledge gained from past interactions with target users.

Both approaches can be effective if the data is informative. Most companies with limited funding tend to use the assumption-based approach. 

Perform customer journey analysis

Customer journeys are a series of interactions with your brand a person has before making a purchase. 

During a digital product usability audit, designers might analyze customer journeys and create a customer journey map. 

This map pinpoints problems and areas for improvement, such as: 

  • Points in the journey where client expectations are not met
  • Redundant interactions and touchpoints
  • Pain points or points of friction
  • High-friction transitions across devices and channels
  • Steps that take too much time

As a result, researchers can provide you with actionable design improvement recommendations

Conduct a heuristic evaluation

Usability heuristics are a group of guiding principles used to assess how user-friendly your product is. These standards help to spot and fix usability issues early on. 

At Apiko, we use Norman Nielsen’s 10 usability heuristics to assess overall design quality. 

  • Visibility of System Status. 
  • Match Between the System and the Real World
  • User Control and Freedom
  • Consistency and Standards
  • Error Prevention
  • Recognition Rather than Recall
  • Flexibility and Efficiency of Use
  • Aesthetic and Minimalist Design
  • Help Users Recognize, Diagnose, and Recover from Errors
  • Help and Documentation

Each of the usability heuristics contains more detailed design instructions, which makes them applicable for nearly any app or website.

Perform usability testing

During usability testing, researchers observe how a sample of users interacts with an application, record their actions, and hear their feedback. There are several usability testing methodologies, which can fit you more or less depending on your goals and budget. 

  • Guerilla testing. With this method, interviewers ask random people on the streets to complete certain actions in an app and record feedback. This is a relatively easy way to collect a lot of qualitative data, but it might not work well if you want to test a specialized app. 
  • Phone testing. During phone testing, a moderator instructs a sample of users to perform tasks, while their actions are recorded remotely. This method allows you to get more precise information, but it can be rather pricey due to the need to hire moderators. 
  • Observation and eye-tracking. During an observation, researchers observe and take notes on how users interact with an app in a real-world setting. In eye-tracking tests, researchers use a special device mounted on a computer to track users' eye movements. These studies help you test layout and identify distractions. However, these methods are very costly due to the need to rent specialized equipment. 
  • Session recordings. This is an excellent and inexpensive method. With specialized software, you record actions that people take on your website, such as scrolling, clicking, subscribing, etc. It is a reliable way to compare how different users interact with different design elements, and learn how the journeys of converted and unconverted users differ.
  • User interviews. User interviews allow you to learn about users’ challenges and pain points through in-depth interviewing. Oftentimes, interviews are conducted before or after usability testing. As Maria Rosala and Kara Pernice note, you can learn more about participants by conducting a short interview before the test. The interview questions should also prime users to pay more attention to certain aspects of design. 

Evaluate the information architecture

Information architecture is the basic structure of your app and website. It helps your users to quickly access the information they need and reach their goals. Well-planned information architecture is a basis for a pleasant user experience.

One good way to evaluate your information architecture is to check your product against Dan Brown’s 8 principles of information architecture. 

eight principles of information architecture

Information architecture assessment can also be conducted through targeted usability tests. 

Assess your visual design

Visual consistency and style are key pillars of intuitive UX. Here are some of the aspects experts pay attention to during the UX audit

Colors: Different colors make your users feel different things. For instance, red is associated with passion and danger, while green points to health and growth. On top of that, the colors you choose can impact the accessibility of your app or website. 

Typography: Fonts are key for communicating your message and other important information to your users. Suitable and effective typography makes your content easy to skim, while poor typography hinders the readability of content. 

Ease of perception. All visual elements should be easily perceivable and direct the attention of your users. When the user looks at the page or screen, their eyes should focus on necessary highlights and move smoothly without stumbling or getting distracted by secondary elements. Your visual design should allow the user to maintain focus and reach their goals. 

One good way to maintain visual consistency is to use an enterprise design system. You can develop one from scratch or use a popular one like Carbon Design by IBM or Material Design from Google.  

UX Audit and Design Services
UX Audit and Design Services
Want to know how our team performs UX audit in more detail?
We collected all the info in this short presentation: 
  • Benefits of UX audit
  • Models of cooperation with our clients
  • An example of UX audit conducted by our team
Check it out!

Perform accessibility analysis

Ideally, your app or website should also be accessible for everyone. As Product Designer Avinash Kaur explains: 

Accessibility is not confined to a group of users with some different abilities, for example, visual, motor, auditory, speech, or cognitive disabilities, rather it extends to anyone who is experiencing any permanent, temporary or situational disability, e.g., having only one arm is a permanent condition, having an injured arm is a temporary, and holding a baby in one arm is situational — in each case the user is able to complete tasks with only one hand.” 

The most detailed and comprehensive guidelines for accessible design are Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. During a website accessibility review, designers review whether navigation and components are consistent, whether labels and headings are optimized for people with limited color vision, etc. 

Review your content

High-quality content is easy-to-read, provides relevant information, and satisfies the needs of your users. From the standpoint of UX, your content should be: 

  • Legible. People should be able to easily see, distinguish, and recognize words in your text. Sufficiently large default font, plain background, and clean typeface ensure high legibility. 
  • Readable. Plain language, short sentences, and active voice make your content readable and easy to understand. 
  • Comprehensible. Your content should be easy to comprehend. For instance, if you’re writing an instruction, the reader should be able to follow it without difficulty. Familiar terms, pictures, and strategies to minimize cognitive load improve the level of comprehension. 

Analyze data and create a UX report

After all the tests are conducted, the research team analyzes data and creates a report that provides you with actionable UX optimization strategies

A high-quality UX audit report provides you with: 

  • Visualized customer journey flows. 
  • Clearly pinpointed UX problems and possible solutions. 
  • Prioritization of issues depending on how strongly they impact user experience. 

After you receive your report, discuss findings with stakeholders and decide on timelines and resources needed to make the necessary improvements. 

UX Audit Checklist

For convenience, we’ve made a complete user experience audit checklist you can use to make the most out of the UX audit process.  

ux audit checklist


App and website user experience audit is invaluable if your product is experiencing a drop in conversions or if you’re planning to launch a major upgrade. 

The scope of UX audit depends on your business goals and budget. A trustworthy software development company or design agency will select the most effective UX audit methods without exceeding your budget. 

At Apiko, we provide UX and UI design services of any complexity. This includes comprehensive UX audits. We can also help you with application modernization or mobile app development.