A usability audit is an analysis of the usability of the product interface by a usability expert. In the process of the usability audit, the specialist evaluates the interface based on the description of the target audience of the interface users and their aims for the product (scenarios of product usability). The usability audit shows how well the product corresponds to user expectations and outlines the problems of the interface.
A usability audit is a more subjective method than the usability test. The expert does not disseminate a questionnaire to real users but makes predictions based on his or her own knowledge and experience of what problems the users may possibly encounter during their work with the system interface.
This service would be most beneficial when the time frames for conducting the test are very short, the budget is limited, or when it is difficult to find the target audience for conducting the usability test.
Problems it will solve
- Raising the effectiveness, user performance, and satisfaction during the work with the system;
- Lowering operational costs of system support (contacting the support line, employee training, errors during the work with the system);
- Raising company revenue by expanding the site conversion;
- Lowering the risks of a user switching to a competitor because of an uncomfortable system interface;
- Cutting the costs of system development by conducting usability testing at the stages of system creation and prototype design and discovering possible problems with the system interface before the creation of the final product; and
- Obtaining information on interface problems within a short time frame with a low project cost.
An example of the service
An expert evaluation of a tourist portal’s mobile interface regarding a big city in a country of 150 million (a current non-profit project) was conducted upon the request of the city IT Department. The application was created within the frames of the city information portal development strategy and was aimed at a wide audience: both the citizens and the city’s guests.
Because of that, it was very important to the client that the interface was ergonomic and attractive for the users. Deviations from these requirements could lead to a loss of application users and additional financial costs for reworking the design and the application’s structure. A usability audit of the mobile tourist portal project was carried out in order to minimize those risks. A number of defects and mobile application standard deviations were discovered within the frames of the project.
The defects considerably lowered the convenience and speed of interacting with the application. For instance, the application had a complex navigation system and lacked graphical data.
The recommendations on interface redesign that brought it into conformity with mobile application design requirements were based on the results of the usability audit. This allowed us to greatly improve the application ergonomics and to raise satisfaction with the application in general.
Scope of work
- Interviewing the customer in order to discuss the project’s details, obtain information on the product and its interface, and to gather information on the product’s users and their goals in the system;
- Studying the product and composing a usability audit scenario that would include a list of user goals for the product and a list of screens that would be considered in the analysis;
- Analyzing the product interface according to the user scenarios and compiling a report on the usability audit results that would contain a description of the interface problems and recommendations for their elimination; and
- Report on the usability audit results that contains a description of the interface problems and recommendations for their elimination (MS Word).