UI/UX Audit Interview with Jane Portman

Today we're glad to introduce you to our interview series about usability reviews and similar methods. We’ll be speaking with professionals around the world to get their opinion and tips so we can share them with you.

Our first guest is Jane Portman, UI/UX consultant, founder of Tiny Reminder and author of The UI Audit. You can follow her on her blog or on Twitter. Oh, and make sure to listen to her UI Breakfast Podcast too!

Interview transcript

Why should people do UI audits?

The concept of the pre-project phase has been out there for a while and a lot of people do things like roadmapping and other kind of things where you charge the client specifically for your expertise before you do any hands-on work for them. So the UI audit is a great way to do that specifically for design clients and UI/UX design and any software project in a very fluid and flexible matter. It's tough just to do a brief teardown, instead it's a great idea to charge for it separetly, name it an audit, dedicate a day or two to that and go in depth and really explore the project well. It's useful both for the client and the consultant because you get to explore the projet and actually enjoy the hours that you spend there, and get paid for them. It's totally beneficial!

Whereas for example if the client has limited budget they might just get the top cream of your expertise, know where they need improvements and they can easily, after getting the estimates, go find someone else, maybe at a cheaper rate, and make the affordable changes according to your roadmap audit.

At which stage are audits the most useful?

In my practice they are definitely more useful in the beginning of the client relationship when you are just getting on board with a new client, because it reduces risks for both sides and it prepares the ground for a further project. You can also use it inside a projet I think but then it's more like working atmosphere and you don't just do the audit. I like to prepare for example bugs lists, or something like that instead, which is already more actionable. But in the audit you do suggest some changes and that's better in the pre-project phase.

How did you define the usability checklist in your book?

The UI Audit is a system of auditing user interfaces and web applications and the usability checklist that I apply to every screen is just a mere surface of the whole method. Generally speaking, the method stems from my multiple years of experience and also from auditing multiple web apps myself and trying to think what logical common things do UX designs have in common for different variable web apps. It's a result of experience, research and also trying to find the common logic base that's applicable for simple humans being, not necessarily UX designers.

In the last weeks, we had the opportunity to discuss with some of our users and some experts from other domains with interest in Capian. Following these discussions, we have added some features to make evaluations even better!

Thanks Jane!

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