One of the many things we learned at WordCamp US 2019 this past November had to do with User Experience. Learn a few ways to audit your website’s customer experience on a budget!

Episode 0363

User Experience Auditing Tips

Sandro Hi there and welcome back to Liz and Sandro’s Marketing Podcast. We are the podcast that helps companies and marketing departments control their business, control their brand and get the word out. Recently, Liz and I were in St. Louis to attend WordCamp US 2019. 

Liz That’s right. I had a lot of fun. 

Sandro It was great. I learned so much, yeah. It was my first WordCamp US. I know it was your second. 

The WordCamp US 2019 – St Louis Experience

Liz Yeah, I went to Nashville last year and obviously St. Louis this year. I just think it’s so great to meet all of the people in the WordPress community because it’s so diverse and there are so many different sessions at different levels. I attended some ones that were, you know, basic. Yep. Got it. But a good refresher. All the way to, OK, wow, we’re pulling out our computers and we’re going to code and that’s not really what I do. So it was really, really good. 

Sandro Yeah and they had a great party for everybody at the City Museum, which was amazing. If you’ve ever been to St. Louis, definitely check that out. 

Liz Yeah, overall, I really liked St. Louis. We did the arch, or I did the arch. We both did the old courthouse. So we got to learn a little bit about the history of St. Louis as well. So I thought it was really fun. 

Sandro And we got to check out the National Blues Museum. They had free live music every night we were there, which was pretty awesome. And from this trip, we learned a few things. And one of those things we’re gonna share with you today. Liz is gonna give us a few user experience audit tips that she picked up at WordCamp US. 

WCUS Session: How to Perform a Quality UX Audit on a Budget by Maddy Osman

Liz That’s right. I attended a lot of really great sessions, but this one stood out to me. The title of the session was “How to Perform a Quality UX Audit on a Budget.” It was given by Maddy Osman. I definitely want to give her a shout out because most of these tips are coming from her. Let’s first start by talking about what user experience or UX is just so we’re all on the same page. It’s the overall experience a person has when using a website. And obviously the intent is to create a positive and rewarding experience for the user. 

Liz Truth be told, I don’t actually have a formal UX audit process built into our Hersh PR website building and design process. We do some of it internally, but again, truth be told, it’s a little informal. So this session caught my eye because I was like, all right, let’s figure out how at a minimum we can at least kick it up a notch and formalize this a little bit internally. I know enough to know that you can really, the sky’s the limit, you know, in terms of UX auditing and testing. 

Liz And I’ll touch a little bit on that as we go. But again, the intent of this particular presentation was how to do it on a budget. So if you are a smaller marketing department or agency and you want to start to incorporate this into your process, I think some of these tips can really help you. 

Picking Testers

Liz Let’s first start by talking about picking testers for performing these audits. Maddy gave some great advice around this and I think it goes without saying but she did remind everyone, you know, friends and family, probably not the best people to be testing your website. I mean, yes, they’re probably going to be able to provide some helpful insight. But ideally, you want to pick from your audience, from a pool of people who will actually be using your website. So that’s tip 1. Again, pull from the audience who can truly provide some good insight on your website. 

Liz In terms of how many testers. Again, some of this is totally going to be dictated by budget. But her recommendation was five users per stage of design. And I like that. Now, at Hersh PR, we, I was telling Sandro we have a drastically simplified design process. 

Liz If you are, if you are coming from a true design background and you’re really taking your time through the design process and you have several stages, I love this advice. Again, five users per stage of the design. So that way you’re catching things along the way and you’re continually making improvements to the design as you go. So again, five users per stage of the design. This way you’re catching issues and things as you are working. It doesn’t suddenly get to the very end and then you start doing testing and you find a bunch of stuff that you need to correct. So I thought that was really, really good advice. 


Know Your Goals


Liz Now, in terms of working with your testers, you’ve got to know your goals. What information are you hoping to glean from your testers? I mean, I think if you are a developer or a designer who’s done this long enough, you might be able to kind of recognize where some weaknesses might be. But you want these testers to verify that and also provide some good recommendations for how to fix them. So having very, very clear goals is important. 

Liz It’s also really important to understand and identify what your top conversion action is. So perhaps that’s creating an account or requesting a proposal or a consultation. But again, knowing what that is and if that’s not happening. If I mean, worst case, let’s say your testers aren’t even getting anywhere near that consultation button, then you know you have some issues to address. And again, you’re catching them early. Way before we’re in the final proof and launch phase of a website. 


Avoid Using Jargon w Testers


Liz Another thing to keep in mind when working with your testers is to communicate things without using jargon, which can be really, really hard. But it’s important because if you are a consumer-facing brand, that’s doing some User Experience testing… Let’s say you’re a credit union or something. You know, the people that use your services at the credit union, you know, they’re not going to know what “above the fold” is. They’re not going to know what a “call-to-action” is. 

Liz So figure out some different terminology for things like that and articulate it to them in a way that’s easy to understand. Also, be mindful of, you know, there will be different levels of, let’s say, tech-savviness from your testers. And it’s good to have a variety. So maybe some people are newbies to a mobile phone or to the Internet in general, which I know sounds crazy. But Sandro and I have an acquaintance who just got his first, what did he get? 

Sandro He got an iPhone. Yeah. It was his first smartphone. He doesn’t have any internet at all. 

Liz Yeah. 

Sandro First time. 

Liz Yeah. So his feedback is going to be, and understanding of things is going to be very different from someone like you and me who, yeah, we can click, click, click pretty quickly and get where we need to go. So just keep those points in mind when you’re working with your testers. In terms of delivering the results to the client. Obviously there’s gonna be some form of a written report. But I also really liked her suggestion of incorporating video screen captures. Sometimes it can be difficult to explain. “Well, you know, when you get over to this section on the first page over here in the corner…” you know, you’ve lost me at that point. So having a video screen capture to accompany the report is really, really helpful. 


Three Levels of UX Testing


Liz So, again, some really great tips that I don’t think will be difficult for any agency or in-house marketing department to implement on their own. But then we actually get into, okay, how do you make this happen? So I’ve kind of put things into three buckets again, based on what she was suggesting. So the first option would be that gold standard of user experience auditing, which is in person. You know you rent a computer lab, you’ve got ten computers, you bring in people, there’s going to be some compensation involved. And just in general, there’s going to be more of an investment in that. Again, that is the gold standard. You’re going to get fantastic information from people, but that’s not going to be for everybody. 

Liz So the next option would be to contract this out to companies that do this, that have a great process in place. You just go to them and they handle it. I think the one she mentioned was called UserTesting. And this is not an endorsement. I haven’t even looked into them at all. But it was just one that she tossed out and I jotted it down. So, again, option or Bucket 2 is going to a company that is a one-stop-shop and does it for you. 


UX Testing On a Budget


Liz The third option would be to compile your own testing team. So her recommendation, she talked about Fiverr a lot. Now, I’m not a huge fan of Fiverr. We won’t go down that rabbit hole. But let’s just again say compiling your own testing team, keeping in mind that you want to pull from the audience who will be using your site. Keeping in mind different, incorporating different skill levels and familiarity with websites will be important. 

Liz Obviously, option or bucket number three really ties into the whole point of her topic which was doing User Experience audits on a budget. And my impression from what she was explaining and how she does this is that she does quite a bit of this. Again, using Fiverr and delivering audit reports through that. So it seemed like she had a really good process in place and was getting really good results. And delivering really great reports, again, a written report in combination with a screen capture. 


Incorporate UX Testing Into Your Site Building Process


Liz So my big takeaways were, I think this is going to be relatively easy to incorporate some very simple steps into our overall website building process to at a minimum at least say, hey client, you know, here’s what we’re going to do for some User Experience testing during this process. And if you want more, you know, here’s an upsell option if you’re interested. So, yeah. Again, she was doing Bucket 3, doing it on a budget and seemed to be getting some really great results and feedback that was very helpful for her clients. 

Sandro I love this. My friend was the Vice President of UX at a big agency here in town and she would tell me they would bring in 25 people off the street, give them gift cards to sit for an hour in front of computers and watch what they did and analyze every single click they made or why they scrolled here and they only work with huge mega clients. 

Liz Yeah, maybe big financial institutions or really large e-commerce retailers. 

Sandro Yeah. And that’s great if you’ve got that money. But if you don’t, I think these tips are a great way to get started because you never know. You might be having the best Google ads or Facebook ads in the world, but no one’s actually buying from you. Maybe once show your website to a few people and say what would you do here? Take me through a process if you were to buy something on my website. And they’ll be like, wait, why is this here? What’s going on? 


A Set of Fresh Eyes Usually Helps


Liz Yeah. I feel as though it’s easier for us to do some of this very quickly off the top of our head when we first start working with a client and we are looking at things with fresh eyes for the first time, we can look at a landing page and be like, OK, why is your call-to-action button way down here? Or why does it take three clicks to actually get to the form that you want people to fill out? But as we get more and more ingrained with a client and maybe we get in there, we start making updates to their website. You know, six months down the road, suddenly it’s, we’re too close to it. And periodically bringing in some fresh eyes is probably a good thing. 

Sandro I think so, definitely. Thanks so much, Liz. We would highly encourage everyone to attend a WordCamp if there’s one in your community. And of course, the big one at the end of every year, WordCamp US. They are a lot of fun. You meet a lot of great people and you learn a lot. Thanks again for joining us. You will find us where you find your favorite podcasts. You will also find us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. We’ll see you next time.