Written by: Brad Darby, Principal, Cyber Group Inc.
While most of the world is now under some sort of stay-at-home ordinance, businesses are facing challenges on many fronts. Since consumers cannot physically interact with a business at this time, it is critical that a business provides the consumer with the best user experience (UX) possible in efforts to engage the consumer’s attention. People being isolated at home has led to an increase in email open rates (I suspect that will continue to increase) and ecommerce spending has skyrocketed. Giving the consumer an enjoyable UX, whether it’s a website, an app, or other digital channels, will allow your business to stay competitive during these uncertain times. If those channels are not producing results, a UX Audit can shed some light on why and what you will want to address.
A UX Audit is a review of a company’s touchpoints and channels to understand how they are performing, allowing you to uncover potential issues that could be negatively impacting your business. There are dependencies, such as resources, timelines, or budget, which could dictate how extensive the audit would be. No matter how extensive you get, you will walk away at the end of it with concrete data answering the ‘WHY’ while also creating an action plan that outlines the ‘HOW’. If you are able to pinpoint issues that are impacting your business negatively and fix them, the overall product can be enhanced that will keep the consumer feeling good and provide positive results for the business.
If your digital product is relatively new, let’s say you just launched a mobile app 3 months ago, then a UX audit may not be beneficial for the simple fact that the product has not been used enough to gather actionable insights. If the product or channel has been in use for a while (I’d say at least 1 year +) and it is producing sub-par results, you probably should take on the endeavor of an audit. With technologies and trends continuing to evolve at a rapid pace, initial business objectives may no longer be reached if the product falls behind. If you are able to provide business stakeholders with reasons ‘WHY’ there may be a drop off in consumer engagement accompanied with solutions ‘HOW’ to fix it can turn an unhappy consumer into a happy consumer, which helps meet the business objectives.
As previously mentioned, the depth of the audit will depend on the timeline, resources available, and (probably most importantly) available budget. However long the duration of the audit, it is paramount to first establish what are the business objectives of the audit as this creates the list of prioritized items to be addressed. This is best done by interviewing business stakeholders, often times meeting with individuals within different divisions of the company to understand various perspectives. After all the interviews are completed, present the findings to the decision maker so that the final objectives are confirmed, which ultimately drives the direction of the audit. Once the goals are established, there are several activities that can be completed to provide us with the ‘WHY’ and ‘HOW’.
It is very important when conducting a UX Audit that you get to know the ‘User’. Often times when building a product or launching a channel, you may think something is a good or cool idea, but if you do not understand the end user who will be interacting with the product or channel, you are setting yourself up for failure. Instead of building on what you think is best, take on some of the following tasks to build insight to the ‘User’ that will ultimately be the ones engaging with the end product:
Firms have moved into preservation mode and are conserving cash and furloughing staff. Cost controls will be a key consideration for some time. This is prime time to be assessing how staffing can be prioritized and phased back-in, and assessing whether there are opportunities to add a low cost, highly skilled capacity to address some of the immediate issues now facing IT.
While the answers to these questions will be different by company, we wanted to flag awareness of them, start a conversation, and offer help in whatever way makes sense for your situation. If you are going through similar thought processes and would like to discuss planning and resource strategies, adding skills capacity or would just like a sounding board, please connect with us.