Audit is a terrible word. It bring images of dark suits descending down long corridors with warrants. But the dreaded audit is an essential step any User Experience Architect must take. Whether it’s redesigning a website or starting from scratch, you need start by assessing what’s available, need’s improvement or just plain missing.
It sounds crazy but I enjoy the auditing part of my job. It’s a bit like looking all the pieces to a puzzle before you start solving it. As you pick up each piece you begin to see patterns. You begin to understand where most of ‘solving’ work is going to take place. All those solid color pieces…yeah…those are going to be tough so I better start there.
Over the years I’ve complied an audit checklist to help remember everything. The internet is getting really, really complicate. There are always new things to consider. In order to keep focused, I always turn to my trusty checklist.
Maybe you already have a list? Or maybe you have never conducted an audit? I hope this helps you get started, add something you’ve never consider before, or simply reaffirm what you already know.
My Mega Audit Checklist:
- Types (Text, Photography, Video and Audio)
- Voice & Tone
- Page Layouts (Desktop, Tablet and Phone)
- Load Times & Requests
- Page Weight
- Image Sizes
- Pages per Session
- Session Duration
- Bounce Rate
- User Flows
- Browser Share
- Device Share
- New vs. Returning Users
- Traffic Channels
- Site Content (Top Pages, Landing Page and Exit Pages)
- Site Search (Keywords and Phrases)
- Heat Maps
- User Recordings
- Domain Structure
- URL Format
- Metadata & Alt Tags
- Duplicate Content
- Inbound & Outbound Links
- XML Sitemap
- Open Graph Tags
- Social Sharing Numbers (Mentions, Follows, Likes, Favorites, Shares,…)
Tools I Use
Like I said, it’s complicate so you are going to need some tools to get the job done. Here are some of my favorites.
- Screaming Frog SEO Spider – Indispensable!
Web, Social Search, and Behavioral Analytics
- Hotjar – I love Hotjar so much I could marry it. A dream for UX folk.
- Google Analytics
- SE Ranking
Website and Page Performance
- Hemingway App – Don’t always agree with it but it makes you write with precision…just like Hemingway.