UI Practicum #11. Real-Life UI Audit Example: BuzzSumo

Published September 19, 2017 by Jane Portman
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BuzzSumo Screenshot

Today I’m sharing a custom UI audit report for BuzzSumo — a popular analytics tool for content marketers. I’ve always admired their product success story, and did a little dance when they asked me for UI/UX help.

There’s one question I get more often than others: “Jane, do you have an example audit report you created for one of your clients?” I’ve always been sharing examples in a private conversation, but publishing one to a wide audience seemed uncomfortable. But finally I mustered up my courage — and also received a permission from several clients.

BuzzSumo audit is a great example when some hands-on work explains the improvements better than any words. Please read on for the tools and the method, the actual PDF download, and the tips for running a UI audit for your own clients.

The Tools

I’ve tried a few methods of delivering UI audit reports. Each of them has its own cons and pros — maybe one day I’ll write a detailed overview of them. Long story short: these days I’m either shipping an illustrated PDF report (written in Markdown first), or writing directly in Dropbox Paper. I’m starting to like Paper more, because it’s beautiful and allows to exchange in-place comments with the client.

You can also use specific software like Capian — here’s a podcast episode where we talked with their founder Jean-Michel Lacroix.

For the hands-on design part, I’m using Sketch — it’s been my tool of choice for the last two years.

The Method

I’m following my own method described in The UI Audit book. This method focuses on key tasks and calls-to-action in each screen. However, custom audits are called “custom” for a reason — I’m also commenting on dozens of other things.

For each area of the app, I’m including an original screenshot of the app and pointing out potential problems. Then (if it’s a premium package) I’m including my own redesigned screen, and commenting on the improvements.

Download the Report

Please click here to download the full audit report (PDF, 23 pages).

Practicum

If you decided to do a UI/UX audit for your own client, here’s a sequence of steps to follow. Hope this helps to bring more value to your clients!

  1. Pick a tool for documenting the audit (but don’t think too hard).
  2. Explore the web application and decide which screens deserve the most attention.
  3. Take screenshots for these screens. Multiple free browser add-ons are available for that.
  4. Follow the process with key tasks and calls-to-action — I’ve described it in the book and in the free course (attention existing subscribers: you won’t be able to join the course again, so email me if you want access).
  5. Document any other problems you see with each screen. Strive for maximum clarity.
  6. End the document with a friendly overview, and a brief high-level roadmap for future work.

Have complex UI situations in your own product? Send in the screenshots to jane@uibreakfast.com, and I’ll tear down the most interesting situations here in UI Practicum.

The 1-Hour UI Audit: Get the Free Course

With this free email course you’ll conduct a simple do-it-yourself audit of your web app: eliminate the obvious design flaws, gain control of your features, and start building the UI that customers really want.