STEP BY STEP

User Experience Audit for Your SaaS Product: An In-depth Guide

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
June 9, 2022
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Product Marketing Manager at Aspirity
Written by
This article was written
in collaboration with
Eugenia I.
PM and BA at Aspirity
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If you're a SaaS product or startup owner, you've probably heard this alarming statistical fact: 55% of users spend fewer than 15 seconds in your app. Then, they leave and are unlikely to come back. Is it worth reminding that subscription and retention rates are vital metrics for any SaaS product?

However, we are here not to grieve for lost opportunities. Instead, we will try to learn how to find a way out and improve the crucial metrics for your business. At which point do customers lose interest in your product? Why does it happen? How to solve this issue? This is where a UX audit can help you.

A user experience audit validates your SaaS performance and usability in terms of end-user needs. It aims to check the customer journey, detect existing issues, and find a proper way to address them.

We at Aspirity regularly conduct SaaS UX reviews for our clients, so we've developed our time-tested approaches to this process. This article will explain why SaaS products may need an audit and reveal its main stages and deliverables. In addition, we will share some valuable insights that allow us to effectively meet our client's needs.

What Are the Benefits of a UX Audit?

A UX audit, the insights it provides, and subsequent improvements are crucial stages of a product development cycle. Just imagine what it would be like if one famous social network looked the same way as it did back in 2007 after its launch.
Well, ok, that's not the best example :) This social network's poor design, which has hardly changed in almost 20 years, is legendary.

So let's start over with another example. What if Youtube still looked like it did in 2009?

Improving Current Product Metrics

Most likely, it would be highly inconvenient for a modern user and would quickly lose its huge audience. No stories? No shorts? Today, such a Youtube is hard to imagine.

So how to improve your product's design? What are the best features to add? How can you change the user journey, and should you change it at all? How to improve your metrics?

And, for that matter, what exactly is your product's value?

A comprehensive UX design audit can answer these and many other questions.

As for the moment when you need to make a UX audit, there are two typical cases. First, you may test your SaaS product's potential usability before building it. Or conduct an audit after the launch.

If the product hasn't been released yet, a review will allow you to avoid critical mistakes that may be rather costly. Thus, we always recommend our clients validate UX solutions before starting a full-fledged development process.

On the other hand, redesigning your product after the launch may result in significant expenses. We already have a detailed article about UX redesign in our blog. There, we mentioned that the later you start redesign, the more it will cost you.

And now, we can get back to our Facebook example since here it's just right. Of course, some of the best UX\UI designers of our time work for such a successful company. And most likely, they would be happy to improve the product. However, there is a good reason not to change the Facebook design. It's not easy to implement at the current product's lifecycle stage, and a significant redesign would involve too many risks.

Therefore, a good audit before the launch can save you much effort and money, at least for a while.

Finally, keeping the above in mind, let's sum up the most significant benefits from a UX audit.
We usually mean high retention and conversion against lower churn rates when talking about key SaaS metrics. And UX design is what makes or breaks your success here.

Good user experience boosts the efficiency of the customer journey, enhances engagement, lowers product abandonment risks, and ensures frictionless onboarding. These factors are vital for SaaS products that must retain users and convert them into subscribers.

Of course, a UX design audit is not the only means to achieve those goals. However, it's the first step to identifying challenges and making your product more successful.

Finding Weaknesses in User Scenarios

This advantage is logically related to the previous one. You cannot improve your SaaS product without determining what's wrong with the current UX solutions. The only way to do it is to immerse yourself in the customer's path and explore the problematic points.

A usability review provides a unique opportunity to find the moment when your users drop off. They may feel frustrated, confused, or overwhelmed at this point. And knowing this, you have every chance to fix the scenario.
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When Does Your SaaS Need a UX Audit?

A usability audit has its simple primary goal: to assess UX and improve it. However, many businesses and startups turn to this review for different reasons. So let's look at the most common cases when one should test the product's UX effectiveness.

Reinsurance Before the Launch of Active Development

A UX review helps the team understand if the product is ready to move to the next, more active development phase. We at Aspirity always insist on as many feedback rounds as possible. So when you have your first clickable design prototypes ready — it's the right time to conduct a UX audit. Any change you make now will be much more cost-effective than at later development stages.

Understand the Product's Value

The success of most startups is based on a great idea. However, many fail to build an app that effectively implements it. Thus, the final solution doesn't reflect the product owner's initial vision.

And here's another widespread use case of a UX audit. It will help you understand how your application can make the customers happier and make their lives easier. On top of that, you may rethink the product's value for the company and find the options to increase it.

Improve Your Product's Performance in a Fast and Cost-effective Manner

Improving your product's metrics without a clear predefined strategy and understanding the users' needs is worthless. It's like looking for a needle in a haystack, with sunglasses and hands tied, at night. It doesn't sound like a cakewalk, right?

A UX UI audit will allow you to understand what you need to improve and prioritize those improvements.

Get a Fresh Look at Your Product from Another Perspective

As we mentioned above, the more feedback, the better. Getting a fresh look at your app is always helpful. Product owners often get used to existing solutions and perceive them as a part of their daily routine. Thus, they simply don't notice the problems that the specialists can identify during the audit.
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How to Conduct SaaS UX Audit

Of course, there is no specific universal playbook on how to conduct user experience audits. However, the following section will describe this process, its essential steps, and deliverables. We will explain how we perform UX reviews in our company and what to expect if you decide to work with us.

Step 0. The Initial Stage

First of all, you should define your goals and tasks. Also, it's worth creating a list of questions to answer during the UX review. On top of that, try to avoid generalized and vague tasks.

For example, instead of setting a goal to create something "professional-looking," you'd better try to be more specific and formulate it as follows:
What can you do to encourage people to stay in the app longer.
How to get more clicks on CTA buttons?
How can you improve a particular metric?
Every point in your list should be clear and measurable. Otherwise, you risk setting goals impossible to achieve due to their inaccuracy.

Deliverables of step 0: A clear vision of the upcoming UX design review and its goals.

Step 1. The Discovery Phase

Our team gets closer to the app's specifics and usage scenarios at this stage. We at Aspirity call this audit part the first look impression. For a product manager, it's essential to collect such feedback and save it for future project work.

In our experience, first impressions are easy to forget, so it's crucial to document them properly. Later, based on these observations, we build brief UI/UX design recommendations.

Next, our team conducts initial quantitative research. This investigation helps us analyze the most critical indicators and identify the problematic points. In particular, we pay attention to such metrics as MAU (Monthly Active Users), DAU (Daily Active Users), retention rate, churn rate, and basic conversion crucial for SaaS products. If the analytics don't work, setting up suitable tools is necessary.

Finally, we move on to explore the main usage scenarios and create a CJM (Customer Journey Map). It's a handy tool for visualizing the users' interactions with your app across all touchpoints. You can find more information about CJM in our article about onboarding.

Usually, this UX audit stage takes about a week. However, the required time depends on many factors, including the defined tasks' clarity and the existing analytics.

Deliverables of step 1: Creating a Customer Journey Map (CJM), UI/UX design recommendations, and analytics settings review.

Step 2. Investigation Phase

Next, we start the competitors' analysis. We make every effort to identify their features, specifics, and benefits at this stage. It helps us understand why their audiences love them and what creates inconveniences for their users.

We also define which JTBD (Jobs To Be Done) is the basis of essential usage scenarios. Finally, having collected this information, we create a brief review of competitors.

Then our team prepares a detailed analytical report. For that, we use feedback tools like Hotjar or Smartlook. They enable recording videos of user sessions and viewing heatmaps. It allows us to find bugs and determine the reasons for user abandonment. Here, it's important to pay special attention to sessions that end in less than 15 seconds. It's helpful to understand why users leave your app so quickly.

The above SaaS UX audit report provides the designers with all the information to propose solutions to the identified problems.

On top of that, our team conducts four to five user interviews during this audit phase. And that is probably the most result-driven part of the entire UX review process. No one understands the users' needs, expectations, and pain points better than the users themselves. Thus, such surveys provide valuable insights and feedback that can make a difference in your SaaS product's success.

At last, we create a UX troubles review document that prioritizes the tasks to complete and the problems to solve.

Deliverables of step 2: a brief review of competitors, UX troubles review.

Step 3. The Design Phase

Well, it looks like we're all set. Now we have the prioritized list of tasks and challenges we need to work with. That's where the auditing SaaS UX process ends.

However, an audit is only the first step to improving your product. So, not to stop halfway, we will briefly explain what happens next.

Once the user experience review is over, we discuss its deliverables with the client and suggest options for achieving the defined goals. Then, we start to translate these solutions into visual frames. Often, there are several options.

At this stage, we usually create clickable prototypes in Figma and later test them with real users' involvement. We prefer to conduct three to five user interviews if the project's budget allows it.

Deliverables of step 3: Figma frames and prototype.

Step 4. Implementation Phase

Once the frames are ready and approved by the client, we move to the implementation phase. It's the final step to improving your product's user experience. First, the designers realize UI solutions. Then, the developers write the code, and QAs check its quality and fix bugs. And finally, the awaited release comes.

Why Ask Aspirity to Help with Your SaaS UX Audit

The Aspirity team has well-established approaches and proven techniques for ensuring comprehensive and result-driven UX auditing. Usually, we conduct the process described above. However, we constantly tailor this process to our clients' individual needs and the project's specifics.

So does it seem to you that specific metrics could be higher? Do you not appreciate your app's interface look? Or do you have trouble deciding how to improve your product?

If any of this is true for you, we are ready to help you out.

Our expert team will ensure you get the following quality services and benefits when working with us:
Constant communication with our specialists.
In-depth research and analytics.
Full-fledged user experience audit with effective deliverables.
The use of robust tools and techniques with real users' involvement.
Practical solutions based on the UX review.
As for UI UX audit cost, it's pretty hard to estimate since it always depends on your project's specifics and business goals. However, you can get more information about possible options in our detailed pricing manual.
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Improve Your Product's Metrics with a SaaS UX Expert Audit

A user experience audit is an excellent way to answer numerous questions regarding your SaaS product's effectiveness and usability. It's the first step to take when improving your key metrics, finding more productive UX solutions, and addressing your audience's needs.

Unfortunately, there's no standardized approach to conducting a SaaS UX expert audit. Instead, it's a complex process that consists of several essential stages and requires professional tools and methodologies. In particular, if you don't have a predefined development strategy and relevant business analytics, a comprehensive UX review is crucial.

Do you need to improve your product, identify the problems, and find efficient solutions? Then, you can hire our remote team and get a free consultation. Aspirity is a reliable tech partner with the necessary experience and time-tested methods to conduct thorough UX reviews. Our specialists will cover all essential audit aspects, including the discovery phase, user interviews, clickable prototypes, competitor reviews, and more.

Drop us a line to get a free consultation and learn more about our approaches to testing SaaS products' UX.
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Frequently Asked Questions

1
What Is a SaaS UX Audit?
A user experience audit is a process of validating the product's usability with a view to business goals and the audience's needs. Such a review aims to identify the most critical UX issues, report them to the client, and offer relevant solutions for improvement. A SaaS UX audit is often required when building or redesigning a product.
2
What Are the Essential UX Review Stages?
A UX review isn't a one-size-fits-all solution, so you should tailor it to the product's specifics and your company's business goals. However, there are several essential steps to conducting a productive audit:
  • Defining clear goals for the review.
  • Performing a discovery phase and building a CJM.
  • Conducting an investigation phase and providing an analytical report.
  • Delivering a SaaS UX audit report.
3
How Much Does UI UX Audit Cost?
The cost of a usability review depends on numerous factors. To name a few, these are the audit's complexity, the necessity to conduct comprehensive research, the number of user interviews, etc. To learn more about UX audit pricing, you can look at our manual.
This article was written in collaboration with Eugenia I. PM and BA at Aspirity
Product Marketing Manager at Aspirity
I've been working at Aspirity for almost 2 years now. I work to find the right customers and provide them with the best teams and services helping develop and launch their digital products.
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