A usability audit is a comprehensive analysis of a website for the ease of use of the site itself by visitors. A usability audit is a complete check of all possible factors that affect conversion.
When is a usability audit necessary?
Despite the importance of usability, many business owners believe such an audit is unnecessary for their resources, even if the site currently has traffic problems. However, the need for such an analysis may arise in several cases:
- Companies are not happy with their site’s current conversion rates. They are not ready for a complete redesign and redesign and want to know what can be fixed on the existing website to improve performance;
- Contextual advertising has been launched and is actively working. There are users on the site. They look at the pages and navigate the sections but do not call or write. The cause must be found;
- The website is under development, and before launching it, it is necessary to understand whether visitors will be comfortable with it;
- It is planned to add new options and functions, and you need to understand how best to implement the new functionality.
How to understand that there is a problem?
Most often, the site owner himself understands that there is a problem (few calls, high bounce rate, visitors do not fill out the feedback form). However, there are cases when one of the acquaintances went to the site and expressed his opinion. So, how to understand if everything is in order with the usability of your resource? Here are a few factors that can tell about the problem:
Conversion rates in Yandex Metrica. After opening Metrica, pay attention to the bounce rate, time spent on the site, and the depth of views. This data indicates visitors’ interest and convenience with the site’s pages.
The metric allows you to determine the behavioral factors of the entire site and a particular page. For example, this can be extremely useful for the product card page of online stores and other internal sections.
The opinion of others. It is enough to send a link to the site to colleagues and friends with a request to evaluate the convenience of the site. You will receive a more than honest and unbiased opinion on the usability of the resource. Of course, the business owner will not receive a deep analysis. Still, even a superficial analysis can immediately understand if the website has problems.
Expert opinion. Turning to experts, you can get not a subjective assessment but a balanced, reasoned opinion of a usability specialist. As a rule, the conclusion is provided in a detailed file explaining each point. Still, there are also cases of personal consultation with a demonstration of problem areas of the resource.
What is checked during a usability audit?
There is often a misconception that a usability audit analyzes only design, and often the conclusion is based on the personal opinion of an expert, which can be subjective. Fortunately, this is far from the case. Website analysis is carried out according to various metrics and includes the design side and many other parameters. So what is checked during the usability analysis?
- Download speed and code cleanliness. The main requirement for any site is its fast loading (especially on mobile devices). The parameter to be checked is Pagespeed, response time, and site loading speed in seconds. In addition, the website code itself is carefully analyzed for the absence of critical validity errors.
- Section structure and navigation. The more pages a site has, the easier it is for a user to get confused for the first time. The navigation check will consider menu nesting, ways to quickly navigate between sections, types of linking, and the absence of empty (broken) pages.
- Content. Another common misconception is that content is just text. Content checking means text structuring (headings, bulleted lists, paragraphs), readability, absence of grammatical errors, and presence of images and info-graphics.
- Visual component. Checking all site pages allows you to find problem areas in terms of design. It can be either separate sections or simply “dead zones” of specific pages. Particular attention is paid to testing adaptive displays on mobile devices.
- The presence of conversion elements and capture points. The final checkpoint is the search and analysis of feedback forms, quick call buttons, subscriptions to a special offer, and other capture points. It is a mistake to assume that various online forms are necessary for large sites and stores. Even small business card sites should also have conversion elements.
Usability analysis is an important job that takes a lot of time (preparing a report can take several weeks). Still, it allows you to find and eliminate conversion and site performance errors. Cases when, after the audit and subsequent edits on the site, the number of hits increased sharply occur all the time. Therefore, do not put off a usability audit if you have doubts about the effectiveness of your website.