Anyone involved with a startup knows there is always more to do and not enough time. Your attention is spread across multiple business components, leaving some aspects needing attention. Consistency across design elements and guidelines is often missed, resulting in a product that doesn’t resonate as well as it should.
Band of Coders CTO, Steve Balistreri, defines a creative design audit as, “A creative design audit entails having a designer or creative director review the look and feel of your website or applications and assess if it is using outdated motifs or design patterns, and present a report of their findings.”
Essentially, a creative design audit takes your application, website, or product to the next level of design and function, making it more desirable for your end user. It poises the product for greater success, improving the bottom line.
Steve Balistreri says this about improving the bottom line, “More and more, an easy-to-use and delightful interface is becoming the norm even for the first release of a product. If your product’s success really relies on repeat interactions and how many users stay in the app, your interface can’t just be usable; it has to be delightful, it has to not just function but be fun to use, something that people look forward to using. This is where I think the design and user experience can help a company exponentially level up its product.”
A creative design audit often might start before product launch and become an ongoing improvement process throughout the entire life cycle. Brand equity improves with every advancement in usability and design elements, directly impacting profitability. It’s no secret that users will always choose what delights them over mere functionality.
Elements of an Audit
A creative design audit is comprehensive and includes multiple elements:
Visual branding audit
The visual audit gathers all design assets across the company, especially anything that is a customer touchpoint. The purpose is to identify issues with consistency and quality.
Tone and messaging
Not only are your products and messaging visual, but they include content that needs to be consistent in tone, voice, and message. The message might not have evolved with the company and needs to be updated.
Usability and accessibility heuristics
In 1990, ten guidelines were proposed by Jakob Nielsen and Rolf Molich, and they are still relevant to the heuristics of design today.
The user experience is essential for fostering interaction and making the company shine. A heuristic audit looks for any experience that falls short and might deter a customer and then improves it.
A creative design audit indicates that a startup is growing and positioning itself for success. The bottom line improves in sync with improvements to design elements, messaging, and usability. In the marketplace, end-users favor what delights them and always choose that product first.