UX checklist, Digital Audits and Goodbye to Excel!

Chris Peterson
4 min readDec 29, 2017

Have you ever dreamt “CMD + SHIFT + 4”? I have 😂 😂! And all thanks to 2 months, too many screenshots to count and 300 Keynote slides which we at Syntonize ended up turning in a digital audit for a company in Dubai.

We went through a discovery phase to gathering data and finally presenting our findings and recommendations. While I won’t dive into methodologies, it was a great first journey for me and I wanted to share with you 2 tools I found indispensable in the process.

What exactly is a digital audit?

For me it was my first time performing a digital audit and the full scope of what we were about to embark on seemed daunting. If you search online “Digital Audit” you’ll get any number of results from Branding, Marketing, SEO to Content Audits. Include a Usability Audit in the mix along with Competition Analysis, and it seemed that everybody was mentioning the term in their audit processes though they were really referring to a specific aspect of the digital landscape. I like to think of a “Digital Audit” comprehensively.

On this specific “Digital Audit” we collaborated with Interbrand, experts in the field of branding. While they focused on the clients core identity, my primary focus was developing our audit methodology, gathering snapshots of our clients digital landscape (Branding, Social Media, SEO & Content) and making sure all touchpoints we’re usability optimized.

The mere gathering and organizing the visual landscape took me 2 weeks to do and hence “CMD + SHIFT + 4” became a part of my subconscious. Sooner or later I bet we’ll be using VR/ AR glasses to screen grab just by looking haha.

Here are two tools I used, one I created thanks to the other.

Goodbye to Excel Forever

As an avid digital explorer, I’m always eager to try out the latest tools to improve my workflow. And one that I’ve been trying to rid myself of ever since my college days is Excel.

Inserting and formatting an image to fit in a cell is tedious and cumbersome.

Correct me if I’m wrong but opening up an Excel sheet doesn’t exactly bring one excitement right? And when it comes to documenting the digital landscape for an audit, inserting screenshots and other files is essential. so….

For 2017, my most practical and useful tool for UX documentation has been:

Gorgeous, easy to use UI and best of all, drag and dropping files is so easy. Check it here for full features: https://airtable.com/product

Easy as drag n drop!

My Usability Checklist template:

I did say 2 tools right? All thanks to Airtable I was able to create my own usability checklist during our Digital Audit. And it’s all yours to copy and edit to your liking.

Wait a second you might ask. Why not use some of the checklists already out there. Well for one, there were in excel format haha. Some were too specific, others too broad, others to scientific and full of jargon. I do include pdf checklists in the template by Dr. Pete of Moz, and Stayintech. These are great to use for quick usability audits when short on time.

The main tabs include:

  1. Project Overview. This includes briefing information for the audit.
  2. Usability Checklist. This includes the criteria and guidelines for grading the usability of the product/ website.
  3. Usability Score. Automated score given according to the criteria audited.

Though a work in progress, I’m pretty pleased with the results of our findings thanks to this checklist.

*In order to edit the checklist and access the dropdown menus, you must copy the base (found in upper right corner of screen) and create your own within your Airtable account. Free account up to 2gb per database. Unlimited. Awesome!

HERE’S THE LINK: https://airtable.com/shrZjdeR1ExPdNuOx/tbl6py59pxp1Ndb2k/viwqJfYLNqurcIw88

Feel free to comment & critique. Always striving for excellence!

Enjoy and Happy New Year!

Resources used for inspiration and guidance in creating this checklist:

(1) https://www.nngroup.com/articles/ten-usability-heuristics/


(3) Lund, A. M. (1997). Expert ratings of usability maxims. Ergonomics in Design, 5(3), 15–20. A study of the heuristics design experts consider important for good design.

(4) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_stages_of_action

(5) https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/

(6) Checklist by Dr. Peter J. Meyers (marketing scientist at Moz). http://drpete.co/?topic=25-point-website-usability-checklist

(7) Checklist by Stay In Tech . https://stayintech.com/UX

(8) Checklist by UX for the Masses. http://www.uxforthemasses.com/usability-reviews/

(9) Checklist by David Travis (UX consultant at Userfocus). https://www.userfocus.co.uk/resources/guidelines.html