A web design audit can help you find and eliminate interface issues to boost your website's KPIs. In this article, you will get to know the types of usability analysis, their purposes, and the benefits they can bring to your business. Thanks to the table at the end of the post, you will identify the best option exactly for you.

So, the UX audit is intended to solve three major tasks:

  1. fixing interface errors,
  2. increasing the key website metrics,
  3. defining further development steps.

The depth of the design audit and its focus vary depending on your purpose.

1. Design audit for identifying usability issues

In this sense, a usability audit is an expert assessment of how your potential customers interact with the website, what problems they face, and what prevents them from performing the targeted action.

Based on analytics and user behavior analysis, the expert identifies critical interface issues that may influence business conversion and develops a plan on how to eliminate them.

When it is useful:

  • If the website has poor conversion and noticeable usability issues.
  • To choose the further project development strategy –  gradual step-by-step evolutionary improvements or revolutionary redesign.
  • For those who are looking for a specialist to resolve website issues and want to test him/her in action. Such a short time frame will help you assess the level of competence of the company's specialists and understand whether further cooperation will work.

This type of design audit includes the following stages:

1. Requirements collection

This step includes communication with the business owner, records of requirements and expectations, identifying the target audience, its needs and objectives, analyzing analytics metrics, if available.

In some cases, additional tools such as heat maps, feedback collection services, and others may be used to get deeper insights.

This scroll map shows that the Price Range filter button was placed too low
Example of high clickability of a block that is highlighted on the click map

2. Issues identification

To do this, specialists investigate the website interface:

  • Analysis of the user path from their first interaction with the website to the checkout.
  • Checking conversion paths: analyzing all key pages that a user goes through to place an order.
  • Analysis of all pages involved in user scenarios. All website versions are checked, including responsive and desktop ones.
  • Analysis of structural elements: whether the navigation is clear, blocks are conveniently arranged, filters and links work correctly.
  • Evaluation of technical parameters: loading and display speed on different devices, cross-browser compatibility, the functionality of all elements;
  • Content quality analysis: consistency, readability, correct display of images and videos, and relevance of the content to the pages' purpose.

3. Development of hypotheses

Based on the analytics and the specialist's own experience, a team works out a number of hypotheses on how to tackle problems users face while interacting with the platform. 

En example of a UX audit report - a table with all the hypotheses

As a result of this stage, we get a table with all the hypotheses and their expected level of influence on website conversion. This table also includes analytic data, web viewer records, heat maps, and data from your project's mini-study that serve as the basis for the hypotheses.

4. Report preparation and presentation 

In the report, you will find:

  • applied research methodology 
  • description of the identified interface issues with screenshots for their visualization
  • conclusions based on analytics 
  • recommendations for eliminating identified issues.

This way, you will have a detailed guide for further actions. Then you decide whether to implement these recommendations on your own, apply to UX designers for help, or order a website redesign.

Examples of issues and report recommendations 

Example #1

The competitive audit UX for the Spy Store has shown that a session for new users ended in 54% of cases, and the e-commerce conversion rate was three times worse than that of regular users. And the main reason for this — is complicated website navigation.

The website header was overloaded with information and included 4 informational blocks of contrasting colors, so the navigation elements have little contrast with the background. Because of this, customers, especially new ones, couldn’t find the needed information, immerse into the project, and navigate the website properly. 

Website header before and after interface redesign

Recommendation: Since the website header is a pivotal element for navigating the website, we offered to simplify and shorten it, making the header stylistically and functionally more accessible. Based on the analytics data, we prioritized all the elements due to their popularity and placed appropriate accents, making navigation more intuitive. Since brand consistency can help to increase revenue by 10-20%, we tailored it to a specific color palette and style associated with the company, but made the website design more clear and more user-friendly.

Example #2

During the design audit for Glo we identified poor engagement of regular customers. The home page had low scrolling and interaction rates with the website’s elements, which means that it didn’t not fulfill its main task of encouraging users to interact with the website.

Recommendation: Adapt the home page to the interests of regular customers: displaying a list of different product models instead of showcasing 6 identical ones.

Popular products on the home page may not interest users due to small photos and identical models
The home page after redesign: blocks that demonstrate new device models, related products and accessories for encouraging users to move further the website. Disclaimer: “This product does not eliminate all risks and contains nicotine, which is addictive.”

When is it beneficial to conduct a usability audit to find out interface issues?

This kind of UX audit is a good option if your online store has some usability issues, and you want to get rid of them quickly. It will give you a clear understanding of what prevents the website from working flawlessly today and what changes must be done first of all.

2. Competitive audit UX as the first step to improving KPIs

A usability audit for increasing business revenue is an integral part of the evolutionary approach to website redesign. The main task of such an audit is to identify ways to optimize the interface that will lead to revenue increase. In other words, it is a preparation for a step-by-step improvement of the website design.

Competitive audit UX lies in identifying issues that affect website conversion and key performance metrics along with growth points.

This type of audit involves the application of additional tools and detailed web analytics to get objective indicators of website performance. After adjusting changes to the interface, you can compare the results ‘before’ and ‘after’.

As a result of such an audit, you receive several documents:

  • a detailed report on identified interface issues and growth points,
  • accurate analytics on the current website performance,
  • a table with worked-out hypotheses and their priority.
  • dynamic Looker studio dashboard to track your website's KPIs changes easily and quickly in real time.

This will give you a detailed plan for increasing the income of your e-commerce project.

When it's useful:

  • For online stores that do not require a complete redesign.
  • When you deal with a usability issue that decreases e-commerce profit.
  • There are growth points that can boost your business.

A design audit helps you navigate analytics correctly, understand your business better, and get not only an expert's opinion but their expertise in digital issues. The keyword here is not the result in the form of a report or table but a constant development process. Therefore, such a website design audit is better for more mature online businesses looking for a reliable partner for further development.

This process consists of the following steps:

1. Requirements collection

We identify the project's goals and objectives. Our team immerses itself in the subject area: web analytics, industry and target audience peculiarities, business processes.

The further development of the online store is assessed based on available data: average transaction cycle, traffic sources, analysis of user behavior and their paths, etc.

User flow analysis

2. Setting up site analytics and other tools

During this phase, we check Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager settings and create a funnel that is later divided into micro-funnels. Our specialists also form reports on audience engagement, analyze data by pages and catalog sections, and correlate the actions performed with micro and macro conversions.

The necessary events are placed on the user's path to transfer data to Google Analytics.

An example of a built funnel in Google Analytics

Conversion paths are tracked using heatmaps, scroll maps, webvisor, exit intense popup, UX feedback, and others.

We also set up the Looker Studio Dashboard to visually track key project metrics on the dashboard.

Dynamic Looker Studio dashboard 

3. Identifying interface issues and potential growth areas

Website analytics is collected for 2 weeks, and its quality is constantly monitored. We analyze the interface and the obtained data to come up with the best hypotheses for project optimization.

4. Developing hypotheses

The team develops a list of hypotheses about interface improvements and creates a plan for their implementation. All observations and data from customized reports are recorded in a document as graphs and tables for further comparisons and correlations.

5. Creating reports

We prioritize each hypothesis based on its impact on key website metrics. The specials evaluate and build the procedure for implementing interface solutions and calculate their commercial efficiency.

Thus, the business owner receives a structured list of recommendations based on qualitative and quantitative indicators.

An example of prioritized hypotheses with necessary adjustments

The results of the analysis are presented in the form of a table, which is a long-term plan for website redesign with examples, best practices and expected results.

6. Presentation with hypotheses and video call with explanations from a UX specialist

In addition to the table reports, we prepare a Google Slides presentation with the most critical hypotheses and our detailed recommendations for interface improvements. And a UX specialist will provide you with detailed explanations of the key hypotheses in a video call.

A slide from the presentation with hypotheses

After that, you will have a clear understanding of all the following steps to increase your conversion rate.

Do you need such a usability audit?

If your online store is profitable, but you want to scale it and make it more profitable, consider this usability audit option. It is inextricably linked to the evolutionary approach and is essentially a ready-made action plan for improving the interface based on specific numbers and analytics data. Already at the stage of implementing the first recommendations, you will see how your website's KPIs change. Read the Intertop case study to find out what results can be achieved as a result of an evolutionary approach.

3. Express website design audit

In addition to the two main areas of UX audit we have considered, there is also a website design audit without a deep dive into the business. This is a quick analysis of the website by a UX expert to determine the website's usability for defining further development vector.

Such an audit will not give you a complete picture of user interaction with your website but will present you with an idea of where to go.

Even without access to analytics, an expert can find critical errors and point them out based on his or her experience.

You can see an example of such an express audit here. 

Choosing the best design audit option

UX audit options available

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