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The in's and out's of a UX app audit and why you might need one

Being audited is usually something to avoid, but in this case, it is extremely useful to have a UX audit done to establish how well your app is working and identify how it could be improved to better resonate with your users to improve the overall impact. Find out more about how they work in our latest blog...

3 min read

Strategy

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Hey there folks, I’m Greg Gomez, a User Experience Designer here at 3 Sided Cube and along with my colleague David Torres, we take care of the users of our apps. We make it our business to understand our users through research, surveys & interviews and champion their needs throughout all our app design & development cycles. I’m here today to talk to you about app audits and why they are so important.

Why

So you want to know why you should do an app audit? Maybe you feel like you don’t need one, that your app isn’t performing badly and that you’re happy with what your app does and how it does it. Well, I’m going to tell you about app audits anyway, because you can never rest on your laurels!

Here in the UX team at 3 Sided Cube, we love a good thinking model, they are great tools for conveying a lot of knowledge in a simple way, the one I’d like to introduce you today is the Kano Model and it will help me explain why app audits are so important:

We use the Kano Model to prioritise new features for apps by giving us a different lens to look at features through. 

Some features are basic needs, things that every app like it must have. Think of the ability to like and share in a social media app, no social app can release without it, but implementing it doesn’t satisfy the user, they simply expect it to be there. 

Other features can satisfy the performance needs of the user, and they have a linear correlation. Think storage space in a cloud storage app, the more storage you give users, the more satisfied they will be. 

But the real key to the model are the delighters, these are the features that have an outsized impact on user satisfaction compared to their effort to implement, these are the things that make you stand out from the competition. It’s that thing the users didn’t even know they needed, but can’t live without. The challenge here though is that over time that crazy innovative feature that sets you apart gets adopted by your peers and competitors, and slowly becomes a basic need for any app in your space. 

A great example here is Snapchat Stories, users absolutely loved the feature, and it drove massive platform adoption and was a feature only they had, yet now, you can’t find a single social media app that doesn’t have stories. Now, alongside liking, commenting and sharing, the disposable post format of stories has become a basic need for a social app.

So you can see where this is going right? Once your app may have been innovative and set you apart in your space, but now those very same features may well be showing their age and have been relegated to being called ‘basic’, can you imagine? After all the money and effort you spent on them, to be called ‘basic’… Such is the reality of the inexorable march of technology, it waits for no app. Every year phones and their operating systems have new versions coming out, with new hardware and software features your app can and must be leveraged to continue introducing new delighters to carry on reaching more users.

Aesthetic-Usability Effect (src)

Users often perceive aesthetically pleasing design as design that’s more usable.

And it doesn’t stop there, beyond technological advancements, tastes in design also evolve, what was modern and slick a year ago may no longer be aesthetically pleasing. And we know from research that a users’ perception is a fickle thing: if they don’t think it’s pretty, they will actually find it less usable. Like it or not, the research corroborates that we’re shallow creatures that respond well to new and shiny things.

What & how

So hopefully now we’ve given you a good overview of why “an app is for life and not just for Christmas” and why you need to keep on working on it to carry on seeing good results; Now we can tell you a bit about the what and how of an app audit. 

There are several elements to our audit, so here’s the breakdown:

  • Understanding the apps objectives & measures of success
  • Industry & competitors analysis
  • User feedback analysis
  • App design review
  • App usability review
  • App accessibility review
  • Recommendations

Understanding the apps objectives & measures of success

First, we’ll need to understand what you’re trying to achieve with the app and how you measure its success, and we look at this from the point of view of your business and your users.

Industry & competitors analysis

We then look at what others in your space are doing, looking for key trends and maybe even having a think of where things might go next.

User feedback analysis

Looking through the app store listings for user reviews is a great way to glean how satisfied users are with you and your competitors’ apps and to find new features users are clamoring for, these will feed into our recommendations of features you should implement next.

App design review

Our designers are always looking at the latest and greatest in design trends and will put your app through a litmus test to see how it fares against the latest design trends and provide any recommendations on how to improve the app aesthetic to keep it sharp.

App usability review

As well as looking sharp, we’ll ensure that it flows well too: that it’s easy for users to find the information they need or complete the task they came to your app to do and provide any recommendations on how to improve the user experience.

App accessibility review

Hand in hand with usability, is accessibility: how well does the app work with common operating system accessibility features to offer an inclusive experience for users of all abilities along with recommendations for improving the app’s accessibility rating.

Recommendations

With an understanding of your business and users goals, a review of what the users are saying, what your competitors are doing, how your app is looking, behaving and responding, we’ll provide you with a slide deck of recommendations to take your app to the next level and start delighting new users.

So how do I get me one?

If you like the sound of this, holla and we can conduct an audit on your app!

For over a decade we have worked exclusively to help purpose-driven organisations design and build apps. We are offering a new and exclusive UX Audit, made available to businesses aligned with our mission.

Our audit will look to use a series of heuristic usability factors to establish how well your app is working and identify how it could be improved to better resonate with your users to improve the overall impact.

To qualify for a pro bono app audit, your organisation must align with our Tech For Good ethos, and keep the humble goal of creating a positive social impact at the forefront of your business. If you like the sound of this, and your app could use a little TLC, holla and we can conduct an audit!

Published on August 20, 2021, last updated on August 23, 2021

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