UX Review is a service with the potential to dramatically increase the business value of your product. The process involves a thorough analysis of your product, with a strong focus on user experience and business value.
Thanks to UX Review, you will be able to spot issues that could have a detrimental impact on your product, and find solutions to fix them.
Find out how the service could help you overcome your problems and make your digital product stand out.
What is UX Review?
UX Review is a comprehensive analysis based on select user experience and usability research methods. It is performed in order to find issues within an app or product that can cause a range of problems – for example a high bounce rate, misunderstanding of the product's purpose, or accessibility problems. It will help you proceed with further product development and validate business solutions.
What is the purpose of a UX review?
- Understand the product’s value to the business.
- Radically improve your product’s performance in a fast and cost-effective manner.
- Spot any UX and usability issues before spending money on new product development.
- Get a fresh look at your product from another perspective.
- Fix problems with an existing product.
- Obtain recommendations for the future.
- Identify the value for users who are using, or will use the product.
At the end of a UX review, you will receive a report containing a list of issues to fix, quick wins, and recommendations for future development of the product. This report will serve as a roadmap, with clearly defined next steps on improving your digital product, regardless of what stage it’s at.
Benefits of a UX review for your business
UX Review is an affordable and fast way to solve your UX issues. With a UX review, you will improve your product’s competitiveness and value, create something that will expand its marketing reach, and fully meet your business goals. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of this UX tool.
1. Gain a new perspective
Many founders spend most of their time developing their business, and are fully focused on their product. It’s understandable, but it turns out that such behaviour, known as tunnel vision, may affect their view of the product and prevent them from becoming aware of its flaws.
It has already been proven that long and exhausting projects may alter the way founders perceive them, because they may lack comparison due to a phenomenon called focalism (or anchoring). Focalism occurs in situations where people focus too heavily on the first piece of information they see when making decisions – in this case, leaders focus too much on their own products.
Conversely, the team responsible for running your product’s UX review have already seen dozens of startups, and their perspective goes far beyond a single company. Many of our clients have fallen into the trap of focalism, but conducting a UX review has offered them a new perspective, allowing them to change their business models and launch their products successfully.
2. Compare your product with your competition
When working on your product’s development, it’s not easy to find the time to look beyond it, and learn from the successes and mistakes of your competition. A UX review will benchmark your product against other related solutions on the market, some of which will be your direct competitors.
Did you know that most founders spend much of their time working on their products, and very little time monitoring the market and validating their product? We can help you do better.
Benchmarking has a significant impact on achieving competitive advantage, and you can read about different benchmarking strategies in this study from the Journal of Business Studies Quarterly. Also, a good chunk of startups fail because they are outperformed by the competition, or don’t adjust their business model to the market.
Many of our clients have taken advantage of competition analysis. One particular client made a shift from a B2C to a B2B model to support their business requirements better, while another did the opposite, shifting from B2B to B2C. The changes helped those companies reshape their products and adjust their business models to achieve greater success.
Other clients realised that their product ideas made little business or market sense, and cancelled them – thanks to that, they avoided wasting thousands of dollars.
3. Focus on the most important (and verified!) customer needs
A strong, clear value proposition can make all the difference to your business and is the best way to address the most important questions about your product.
Developing strong value propositions not only makes it easier to connect with target audiences but it establishes a foundation upon which a company’s marketing and sales activities can be built upon.
Coming back to our failed startups, many of them did not have a clear value proposition that was easy to follow. According to this study, some of the reasons why startups fail are loss of focus, and not targeting a market need (you can find eighteen more popular reasons in the report).
Ask yourself whether you really understand and can communicate what your business is about. If you can’t, our UX review will help you build an effective value proposition.
4. Align the interests of all stakeholders
“Lack of conflict tells me one of two things, either you don’t think your co-founder can handle open and honest feedback, or you think the relationship is already so fragile that you are walking on eggshells." Khalid Halim, RebootHQ
In his article about business-destroying conflict, Khalid Halim states that conflict is natural, and both sides should take advantage of it to grow. The real danger comes from unseen conflict, which simmers under the lid until things get so bad that the business can never recover.
There’s always a list of urgent issues and problems to work on, and team members often have their own ideas of what should be dealt with first, according to their own priorities. To mitigate this conflict of interest, many of our clients choose to perform a UX review, which helps stakeholders to gain perspective and realign their priorities. We provide them with a list of high- and low-level issues, with assigned priorities, to help them converge on a compromise.
5. Re-evaluate your product’s go-to-market strategy
The second most common reason that startups fail, is that their business models are not viable considering the market they are trying to enter. How does this happen? Some startups come up with a cool product first and look for a business model later. This is an approach that can easily fail.
Even initial success won’t guarantee that the product will scale. A good business model, planned out along with the product, will definitely make scaling up easier and increase the chances of business success.
Sometimes, founders think they have a well-researched business model, but it turns out that they based their assumptions on incorrect or irrelevant data. In the case of one of our clients, a UX review helped reveal that their analytics tools were not set up properly – the company actually needed different analytics tools for two different groups of customers. The UX review helped reveal the correct data, and allowed the team to study users’ behaviour properly.
6. Create a clear and simple roadmap of your next steps
According to Alan Smith, “about 75% of the manufacturing cost of a typical product is committed by the end of the conceptual phase process. This means that decisions made after this time can influence only 25% of the product’s manufacturing cost.” If so much of a product’s cost depends on the design stage, we should pay very close attention to it. And we do – during a UX review.
One of our clients harnessed the value of having access to scalable design and development teams, both for current and future projects. Decisions concerning their roadmap and establishing priorities greatly influenced the product’s success and the founders’ future ventures.
7. Reduce the cost of software development
People have a tendency to lose focus and stray off the main path in the development stages of product building. At least 50% of programmers’ work time during a project's software development phase is spent on reworking errors that could have been prevented.
According to Dr. Susan Weinschenk, you can easily reduce costs by wasting less development time, and minimising redesign costs. You simply need to invest in early error prevention.
A UX review will achieve this, and help you find a user-oriented solution early. User experience and customer support costs can be brought down by finding and fixing potential issues before they arise at the user level.
Common product issues fixed by a UX review
A UX review could help you find out which issues to prioritise in order to enhance your product or service and amaze your users. Below, you’ll find further problems that we found after conducting UX reviews, as well as the solutions implemented to resolve them.
Dealing with a complex interface
The sales screen used to upgrade users to the premium version of a product was too complicated and caused cognitive overload – too many elements and actions were competing on a single screen.
Upgrading to the premium subscription was improved by splitting the process into two steps. Plan selection and payment were completed separately, making the screens easier to understand and use. More social proof examples were also added to increase conversions.
Perfecting the mobile experience
Mobile user experience needed some improvement – the design of web forms diverged slightly from best practices, some elements were too small, and data inputs weren’t designed in the most efficient way.
Mobile usability was improved through the use of best practices for data input UI elements, for example segmented controls, native mobile date pickers, and appropriate keyboards for specific data. Additionally, form-filling was simplified by merging fields, implementing sliders, and using segmented controls for mobile devices.
Clearing up the messaging system
The messaging system was somewhat unclear and reduced the speed and efficiency of user communication.
The system was completely redesigned, allowing for smooth and clear communication between users.
Cleaning up the information architecture
The information architecture was suboptimal. Upon opening a user’s profile, only the name and image were shown, with important information not being presented until later. The main CTA (call to action) within the user profile was duplicated, which might have confused users.
The accessibility of key information was improved, especially on mobile profiles. Placing rating, profile details, and the main CTA buttons on the top spot “above the fold”, introduced a clear hierarchy. Unnecessary duplicates of CTAs were removed, decluttering the space.
Optimizing the searching functionality
Searching for information in the platform guide could have been easier. The results sorting on mobile devices was hidden and required additional effort. It was hard to find the right information without heavy use of sorting and filtering options.
Searching on the platform was improved for mobile users through UI fixes such as sliders instead of dropdown fields in filters. Moreover, sorting options were made more accessible, and an option to instantly clear filter settings was added.
Making the CTAs more effective
CTAs asking users to give or receive feedback were not easily accessible, and the majority of users rated the services poorly.
The giving/receiving feedback functionality was improved by including it within the messaging system, and by adding additional CTA buttons for those users who hadn’t given feedback yet.
Simplifying the registration process
The registration process required on a landing page for a dating platform was creating additional friction for users by asking them to go through several steps.
The landing page was improved by replacing the ‘register’ button with a registration form, reducing the number of steps required.
Making the sign-up and social proof sections more visible
The sign-up section of a landing page was not prominent enough, and too few social proof examples were shown, reducing the likelihood of converting users.
Landing pages were improved by adding a featured social proof section and making the registration section more prominent.
Following industry standards for UI design
The alignment and positioning of some UI elements did not follow industry standards. This caused users to experience confusion when interacting with the platform.
The alignment and positioning of UI elements throughout the platform was improved, thus enhancing usability.
UX review methods
There are several methods which can be employed to conduct a UX review. Which one you select will depend on the type of product being reviewed, and the issues that are affecting it.
UX review methods can be broken down into:
- Methods of testing the user experience of a product
- Methods of verifying the business value of a product and its performance on the market
Let’s take a look at what they are.
Methods of testing the user experience of a product
1. Expert evaluation. In order to find potential usability issues and provide recommendations for change, a UX expert reviews a product. There are several ways to execute this research:
- Heuristic evaluation
A researcher examines the interface and checks its compliance with recognised usability principles ("heuristics"). The goal is to discover a problem and find the best solution to fix it.
Heuristic evaluation is a quick method and gives a broad overview of a product’s problems. It helps to identify potential error-prone features and elements, and provides guidance for improvement.
For the analysis, the expert can base the research on various usability principles. The most common is Ten Usability Heuristics by Jakob Nielsen. But there are also other usability principles, such as Psychological Usability Heuristics, and 247 web usability guidelines.
The expert can also use simple rules of thumb, such as asking the following questions:
- Is the screen or any element of it confusing?
- Would the user know what to do with it?
- Would the user understand the consequences of using it?
- Cognitive Walkthrough
A researcher prepares a list of tasks which are possible to perform in a product. To determine the level of usability, the researcher goes through all the tasks. For each step, the usability of the product is validated by a set of questions like:
- Do I know where I am?
- Do I know what options are possible?
- Does any element cause confusion?
- Is it possible to identify the correct action available?
The main goal of this cognitive walkthrough is to test the learnability and understanding of the product for new users. It also helps to identify if the product is intuitive and useful for regular users.
2. Analytic data analysis. Analytic data analysis shows real usage of a product. It enables you to track and collect user data, plus information about their behaviour and actions.
This method helps to identify how many users perform desired actions, where the users are coming from, at which stages of the user journey they encounter problems or abandon the product, and what the conversion rate is.
Mouse movement and click tracking heat maps show how users interact with the product at each step of the journey. Two most popular tools for validating user behaviour are Google Analytics and Hotjar.
3. User testing. In some cases, it is also possible and beneficial to run user testing sessions with target user groups of the product.
A researcher creates a scenario of popular tasks that are performed, and during the testing session, each user is asked to work through the tasks. The researcher evaluates whether the product is intuitive, if crucial actions are easy to perform, and whether there are any problems along the way. This method gives an overview of how users interact with the product.
4. Content audit. The goal of this kind of research is to analyse and evaluate the content and information of the product. A content audit helps to determine if the language used is understandable and relevant to the product’s target user group. It also helps to verify if the content is SEO-friendly. A content audit can also be used as part of other methods that validate the user experience of the product.
5. Persona value proposition analysis. Based on the available research and the client’s knowledge, a UX expert creates personas for the product. These are fictional characters that represent the different user types that might use the product, and help with understanding the user’s needs, goals, and motivations.
The researcher then examines the ideal value proposition for the personas, and based on their list of needs, checks if the product fulfils them. By analysing the product this way, it is possible to spot any feature gaps in relation to users’ needs.
6. Accessibility review. The aim of this analysis is to check how the product meets the needs of disabled users. The review is based on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0.
Methods of verifying the business value of a product and its performance on the market
- Market research. A researcher analyses the target market and gathers information about customers. Market research can help to estimate the size of the market and market share, as well as learn about people’s attitude towards a product. This method also helps to understand the product in the context of market trends.
- Competitor benchmarking and feature gap. This method aims to verify competitors’ strengths and weaknesses in relation to the client’s business and product. It also helps to identify opportunities and threats.
The research can contain an analysis of all relevant parts of the business, such as market position, marketing campaigns, types and design of products and services, and promotions. Every relevant piece of information goes towards understanding the competition better.
Research helps with:
- Analysing product features in relation to the features offered by competitors. This allows us to spot crucial feature gaps and gain a significant advantage over competitors’ solutions.
- Finding a niche or business potential that is still untapped by the competition.
- Understanding how competitors connect and communicate with clients.
- More efficient client targeting.
- Finding new clients.
How to choose the right method?
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to choosing an approach. Selecting the right method requires a complex analysis of the problem and the desired outcome, and depends on several factors, such as:
- The stage of the project.
- The data we have access to.
- The problems that the product is facing.
- What the goal is.
- What we need to know to go further with product development.
- Time and budget.
While it may not be possible to verify all of the aspects, the goal is to choose the method that will provide the greatest benefits to the product. Taking into account all known variables, the researcher can select the most appropriate methods. It is always beneficial to mix several methods to get comprehensive results.
All methods can be customised depending on customer and product needs.
How to conduct a UX review – a step-by-step guide
If you are planning to run a UX review, use the following guidelines to take you through each step of the process.
When conducting a review, it is critical to lay the groundwork so that everything runs smoothly, and the project yields the best possible results. Before you begin, prepare for the research phase, and prepare and set up any tools you need. Throughout the process it is essential to keep track of your progress, so be organised, and make sure that files are kept up-to-date.
1. Develop a deeper understanding of your product, and business
- Run market research. It is always good to know the market you are targeting, who your competitors are, and what they are good at. A formal analysis is not always necessary, but some general knowledge is crucial.
- Interview your stakeholders. Get to know as much as possible, including your requirements and expectations for the review.
- Establish the scope of the review. The analysis should be focused on tackling a limited number of problems.
- Get access to the product.
- If applicable to the project’s needs, get access to tools and analytics software.
2. Choose the right methods
Each project’s requirements are different, so research should be tailored to the individual case. Some projects may need deeper market or business research, while sometimes you may not have valid analytics user data to work on. Some may require only usability issues analysis, rather than full market analysis. Research methods must be suited to the needs of each project, and established in line with your stakeholders’ expectations.
If a review consists of several methods, prioritise them, and set up a plan for research.
3. Run research and analyse the data and outcome
Depending on your chosen method, the process of research varies. Always keep in mind the overall goal of the research, and stay focused on the important parts and issues.
4. Prepare your report
Present your findings and data in a clearly understandable and visually appealing way.
The aim of the review is to pinpoint issues for change, but remember to add your recommendations. Simply describing errors does not add value by itself – it is crucial to provide quick wins, and recommendations that will positively influence the product.
Transforming your business with a UX review
If you’re not convinced yet, read about one of our clients – Raqib50 and find out how they achieved 180 percent growth year to year.
Raqib, a civil rights initiative from Kuwait, gained so much extra focus after a UX review that they managed to launch their product on time, despite the fact that the deadline was made shorter during the project. The cost of performing the UX review was negligible in comparison to the results: the development time was cut by two weeks, which resulted in $8,000 worth of savings.
Here is a summary of the benefits of UX review that our client has enjoyed. These metrics helped Raqib activate diverse groups of young people in the civic arena, and bring social change.
- Popularity exceeded expectations: 180% user growth year to year
- User engagement improved by over 45%, the number of sessions grew by 86%.
- The number of abandoned sessions after the first interaction dropped by 21%
- Session duration increased by 40%
Bringing everything together
A UX review can help you learn which issues to prioritise in order to enhance the value of your product or service, and amaze your users.
Conducting a UX review offers significant benefits. A review can allow you to:
- Gain a new perspective on your product
- Benchmark your product against your competition and pursue competitive advantage
- Focus on the most important customer needs
- Align the interests of all stakeholders
- Re-evaluate your product’s go-to-market strategy
- Create a clear and simple roadmap of your next steps
- Reduce the cost of software development
A UX review can help to identify and fix a range of common problems, such as issues with the user interface, mobile usability problems, improving calls to action, and enhancing the information architecture.
There are a number of methods that can be used to conduct a UX review. Which methods you employ will depend on your product, and the issues affecting it. When conducting the review, the following steps will help guide you:
- Develop a deeper understanding of your product and business
- Select the right methods based on the requirements of your project
- Run research, and analyse the data and outcome
- Prepare a report that includes recommendations
Although it is possible to conduct your own UX review, you may find it beneficial to bring in the experience of experts. At Netguru, we have spent years conducting UX reviews and refining our approach. If you need any help, just let us know.