Usability audit for a website or online store

18 April, 2018


This article comprises answers to the most popular questions regarding a usability audit.

Here’s what you’ll get to know about the usability audit:

The usability audit is a check out of website usability. In the process, specialists detect issues in the structure, functional set and interface of a website that can lead to a conversion decrease.

What is the usability audit?

The main goal of the usability audit is to analyze users’ behavior. In current conditions, the analysis defines traffic by device, so the whole audience is divided into mobile, tablet, and desktop users. This approach is caused by drastic increase of mobile traffic.

The comparison of search results for “makeup”:
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You’re going to be surprised, but statistics says that 62% of companies that improved their website design for mobiles increased their sales.

The statistic of a website where the target audience actively uses smartphones:
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The usability audit allows to see what components of a website work properly and what don’t work at all. It also makes it clear why users’ behavior differs from what was forecasted. Such anomalies are impossible to detect without checking the website interface and its comparison to users’ experience.

As a result of the audit, a client gets a precise report (above 20 A4 pages). A quality report includes a list of mistakes and inaccuracies, suggestions for their elimination, and recommendations regarding website optimization.

The most often, the recommendations aim for

  • A conversion increase (in some niches it is 0,4 %, but can potentially grow to 0,8 % or even 1,3 %);
  • An average check increase (due to cross-selling and upselling as well);
  • Repeated sales ( due to the lifetime value, keeping a client and repeated sales reduce expenses on bringing a new audience. Moreover, a satisfied client can also bring a new audience).

Who needs the usability audit?

The usability audit makes sense for projects having stable or increasing traffic.

Most of times, it is internet marketers who need the usability audit. Usually they seek the most effective ways of attracting potential clients with a further improvement of conversion on all stages of a sales funnels.

A website heatmap in dynamics in an online store:
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The more the competition grows, the more attention the usability audit gets, 86% of marketers are already doing or planning to do usability testing to improve website conversion. Seems like this number will only grow.

What does the usability audit consist of?

The whole process has 4 steps. Each of them means a group of tasks:

  1. Target audience description. The first stage of usability audit is to determine the target audience. A marketer and a usability specialist must understand its habits, behavior, and expectations. It makes it possible to see what a website lacks and what is unnecessary.
  2. Analysis of users’ experience. This is work with statistics. An important part here is played by website heatmap and scrollmap. They allow to detect the most problematic spots and how users interact with a website.
  3. Detecting obstacles. The third stage is a search of obstacles that decrease conversion. This aims to detect the most problematic areas in design. It can be improper contrast of colors, too many dynamic objects, unfunctional buttons. In fact, the list of obstacles can have more than a hundred items.
  4. Recommendations. On the forth stage, recommendations regarding website improvements and optimization are prepared. It can be about the structure, functional set, or design.

What does the usability audit check?

What specialists analyze in the process:

  1. Website quality. Not only the look of a website is analyzed but also its technical implementation: speed, mistakes in the functional set, etc. Quality is, first of all, connected to speed. Slow page loading can lead to 80% bounce rate. Moreover, 94% of users say that design is an important factor of being trustworthy.
  2. Usability level.. Every user relies on a previous experience, so it’s important that a website has a user-friendly interface and some hints and instructions if necessary.

A website with no usability:

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  1. Proper look. The presence of identity, the volume of content, locations of CTAs. Colors make a website 80% more recognizable.;
  2. Indicators of behavioral factors. Detecting where users enter a website and where they leave it, exploring ways of conversion, studying the most often clicked components, etc.

These data form a list of recommendations for optimization of a website.

What problems does the usability audit solve?

The main problems that require the usability audit:

  1. Low conversion;
  2. Unsatisfactory or decreasing sales;
  3. Anomalies of user’s behavior;
  4. Too high price to bring a new client;
  5. Low average check;
  6. High expenses on customer support;
  7. Short “lifetime cycle” of a client.

How much time does the usability audit take?

The duration of usability audit depends on difficultness of a project. The minimum time required is 1 month.

Conclusion

The usability audit should take place at least once a year or when required. Design trends change approximately every two years. It doesn’t mean that a website needs to be updated externally in the same periods. More important is to monitor global trends connected with users’ experience able to improve conversion.

For example, a few years ago, chats on website weren’t widespread. Now, online support is obligatory for any service. New solutions are usually acquired by a market in 2-3 years. So, to be ahead, you need to monitor the main tendencies and implement them on your website.

If you want to improve conversion on your website, delegate the usability audit to experienced specialists.