How to conduct a user interface audit with our simple checklist

June 17, 2024
11 minutes read
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User Interface (UI) will help people adopt your digital product or reject it the moment they use it. It's the single most important factor that affects adoption of a service.

An easy-to-use website will be a beautiful experience for a user, but a poorly designed, unoptimized website will make your product confusing or frustrating. Users don't have time to figure out how to use your products. So, as you can expect, a poorly designed website can cause your product to fail. And the usability of a digital product with an awful interface will tank.

Generally, SaaS founders hire experts to conduct UI analysis of their product and understand user experience from a customer's point of view. When this occurs, it is known as a UX audit.

In this blog post, we will outline what interface is and its various components to help you learn best practices for a design audit. By the end of the article, you will understand everything that is reviewed during a UI audit and all the components needed to build a product people love. Keep reading and think of this as a beginner’s guide to user satisfaction.

Key Takeaways

  • The difference between ux design and interface design audit
  • How an audit can help your business
  • An audit checklist for beginners
  • UX best practices
  • 6 usability principles

What is User Interface (UI)?

The interface of your app or website is the point of contact between your service or product and the end user. Usually, it involves multiple components that people overlook. For example, it includes:

  • Screens
  • Keyboards
  • Mouse
  • Desktop

There are also various types of interface, which include graphical, command line, menu drive, touch, and voice.

For most business owners, the types of user interfaces are the focus. Your business will not need to worry about a mouse, screen, etc.

However, you will need to understand how the graphics, menus, voice, and touchscreen functions work. If you fail to include these types or make them guide users on a journey, your product will not provide value quickly. If your product fails to do so, you will need to invest more time and effort into creating a profitable product.

We don't want you to have this issue. We want your product to be successful faster so you can grow your business. So, we would like to explain the components that you will likely need to explore when creating a SaaS product.

What are common SaaS UI elements?

The important components of the SaaS interface include the following:

  • Navigation structure
  • Dashboard
  • User onboarding
  • Data Visualization
  • Forms and data entry
  • Error handling and messages
  • Search Functionality
  • Responsive design
  • Accessibility
  • Loading States and Progress indicators
  • Branding and Aesthetic Design
  • User feedback and support
  • Security features
  • Customization and personalization
  • Internationalization and localization
  • Performance indicators
  • Help and Documentation

Your SaaS interface should contain all of these elements. In some instances, you could have fewer or more than these that are mentioned. When you complete your product, you will want to ensure all of these functions are working in harmony. You will need to complete an audit or evaluation of your product to ensure its functionality.

If you fail to do this, your product may lose business. Customers will find it difficult to work with your product and could jump ship.

So, how can you test your product's functionality so you do not lose customers?

You will need to conduct an audit to receive recommendations on how to improve your service.

What is a UI design audit?

First and foremost, a UX audit is not an interface audit. A UX audit sees how customers experience your product as they learn to adopt it. You will understand how customers experience your product and make sure that the experience is satisfying.

On the other hand, an interface audit will focus on analyzing your interface. It will help you identify user flow issues and optimize your product's design.

Another big difference between these two is when the process is complete. A UX audit will need to be completed after you launch a product as it requires real users. Meanwhile, an audit will check how your product is before you launch a product to ensure functionality.

In both instances audits are so important because they are a great product strategy. All product owners would agree that all web application or mobile app design decisions are best when they are

What's the UI audit process?

While undergoing an audit, you are breaking down user interactions into frames. You are checking elements for consistency and making sure they all work together. The result should be a seamless user experience.

There are some principles to follow, which we are breaking down for you.

Predictable designs lead to earlier adoption

Products with predictable designs are easier for users to understand. An example could be a hospital sign, which is easily identified worldwide regardless of country or language. Whether someone needs to find a hospital in China or the USA, they can look for a quickly identifiable sign and find life-saving treatment. Your product should offer a similar experience to users.

Reduce the amount your users must think

Consumers who must think a lot about a product and how to use it will abandon it. The term for making users think is cognitive load. When a customer thinks less about how to use your product, you are reducing their cognitive load. You should minimize effort when using your product because customers will like it more.

A great example of this is how Microsoft Edge was previously named Internet Explorer. People know the logo even though the name has changed. However, people do not like it as much as Google Chrome because the user interface has changed significantly over time, leading them to need to think more when using the program.

Conversely, Google Chrome has maintained a consistency and, therefore, has become the go-to browser for many consumers.

Product usability is the result of a simple-to-use product

Your brand's website receives its first impression from users in 94% of all cases. Piggybacking off the Microsoft Edge example, many users have failed to adopt this browser because it is not simple to use. Microsoft aimed to make the browser simpler and more efficient with the addition of AI. However, in doing so, they added a plethora of features that made the browser more difficult to use.

Give your users freedom but not too much

Your users want to be able to customize their experience. In today's ever-connected digital world, this is not a luxury. It is an expectation. However, if you give your users too much liberty to make modifications, they will feel overwhelmed. You need to strike a balance between enough and not too much.

Remove anything without a purpose

Apple is a fantastic company that employs a minimalist design. They are a living, breathing success story of removing anything not needed. Anybody can choose between an Apple phone or Android. But, any Apple user will outline their preference because of ease of use and simplicity. They eliminate all unnecessary elements to keep everything simple and easier to use for their customers. When they do this, they also make their visual hierarchy easy to understand. The result is a highly enjoyable user experience people cannot resist through strategic design.

Increase relatability with easy-to-understand icons

When people understand how to use your app instantly, it puts them at ease and makes their workflow simpler. If you want to do this, use common objects like a calendar or camera symbol people can understand. Make sure you are avoiding abstract or difficult-to-understand icons. It's natural for humans to enjoy what they understand and know.

Above are the common principles you should follow when conducting a user interface audit. Now, let's get into the meat of this blog post and tell you how to conduct one.

How to conduct a UI audit step-by-step with our checklist and best practices

Following the steps we outline below, you can complete an audit and produce a product your users will love.

Analyze what people do and make tasks easier

The first step in an audit is to see what people do when they use your product or service. You need to compare how these flows are in comparison to what you expect users to do on your app. When you find the gap between what you want your product to make easier and what people are actually doing, you can simplify their processes. You can collect data using heatmaps on your website or by recording user activities. Both methods of collecting user data can increase your product as you see what actions people take to complete a task.

Define your goals

Once you have the data about what people are doing on your site or app, you can make choices to improve their processes. You can decide what you want people to do and create the path of least resistance. For example, if you have a lead scraping website, you likely have a flow in mind. You would ideally like people to click on a find leads button, input the location and industry, and then hit go. After the leads load, you would like them to add these to a list and export them.

After collecting data, you notice that people prefer to look by industry, browse potential leads, and then add them to a list and categorize them further.

You would define a goal that would allow users to define specific search parameters within an industry with ease and then segment the leads into categories.  Essentially at this stage you’re looking for where your users are having difficulty and  making it easier for users to interact with your product. Once you have established criteria, like specific goals, it provides actionable steps you can take to meet your business objectives.

Track the right metrics

Choosing which metrics you should monitor can be difficult, but it becomes simpler when you have an objective. In the case of lead scraping software, you could track the time people take to compile a list of 50 leads. Then, you would set the goal of the users being able to separate these into categories based on predefined metrics within a set time limit.

Similarly, you could track their path to adding leads to a list of categories based on the predefined conditions you enabled in your software. You could further track if they can do this successfully or not.

Evaluate the UI

After you have chosen which metrics you'd like to track, you can then study the metrics over time or within a focus group. Your goal at this point is to see if all your  elements adhere to the principles we are outlining. In the case of the lead scraping business, you'd monitor if:

  1. People intuitively know what buttons to push
  2. They understand how to navigate menus to categorize leads
  3. They can do it within a set time limit
  4. They know how to export leads
  5. They understand how to reach out for guidance if needed.

Similarly, at this stage, when people make a mistake, is it simple for them to correct it? If it takes too many buttons to fix an issue, your website or app could need a revamp.

Continue testing and repeat the process

User interface testing is continuous. Once you have completed an initial assessment, don't stop there. Make sure you continue to test so you can collect more data. You should repeat all the steps in this process to ensure that your efforts snowball over time and result in a fantastic product people love to use.

In the example of the lead scraping business, you may further test to see if you can reduce the complexity of collecting leads by allowing people to click fewer buttons to collect the information they need to get the information they are looking for.

But what are the metrics you should look at specifically? Not everyone has a lead scraping business. In fact, most businesses are offering SaaS products with multiple use cases and trying to reach a wide audience.

So, if you are unsure of the metrics you should test, let's outline the most common so you can start doing something today.

What are common UI metrics to check?

You should review a wide range of elements when conducting an audit. Some of the following metrics may change based on your product, but they are a great starting point if you're new to audits.

Layout: Check your layout, ensuring it is simple and easy to use. Ask yourself, "If I were a new user, would i expect this function to be here?"

Colors: Can you easily read the colors, and do they contrast? It's best to look for colors that are highly concentrated so they are easier to see.

Fonts: Did you choose a fancy font that's difficult to read? If not, how could you simplify it so people can read it on computers and mobile devices?

Design: Do you think your design is easy to navigate and visually appealing?

User flow: Can users find what they need quickly and simply?

If you feel this list would not help your business, refer to the list at the top of this page. We have given you even more things to test and try out!


An audit is an indispensable part of your business. All businesses will benefit from conducting an audit because put plainly, it tells you what your customers are doing and what they want.

Nonetheless, conducting an audit can be overwhelming. Sometimes, as a business owner, you cannot identify potential issues with your product or website. So, hiring a second set of eyes for interface testing can make your product better and faster.

If you would like some help conducting testing and ensuring your product meets and exceeds user expectations, we can help.

To get started, simply click the yellow get started button in the top right of your screen and let us know how we can help you today.

Follow all the tips and information in this blog post, and even if you opt to complete an audit yourself, you can make improvements.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a UI audit?

A UI audit is a teardown of the user interface to understand what's causing users to quit and help create a clean, intuitive, and user-friendly product design. It follows conventions and common design patterns for an improved experience.

How do you conduct a UI UX audit?

To conduct a successful UI UX audit, you should define the audit scope and objectives, perform user research and analysis, conduct heuristic evaluation and usability testing, evaluate the visual design and branding elements, analyze information architecture and navigation, identify trends in user behavior, observe and speak with users to understand their experiences, discover where user needs aren't being met, find bugs and design or technical issues, analyze data, and compile findings and recommend improvements.

What benefits can a UI audit provide?

A UI audit can provide businesses with numerous advantages, such as improved user retention, increased conversion rates, and assurance that the website is accessible and inclusive. This will lead to an expanded customer base and achievement of business goals.

How does typography impact the usability of UI design?

Typography plays an important role in the usability of UI design, as it directly affects user experience. Clear and consistent typography ensures easy reading and understanding, enabling a better overall user experience.

What is the recommended frequency for monitoring UI changes after implementation?

To ensure optimal user experience, UI changes should be monitored on a regular basis every 3-5 years.

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