How good is your website’s user experience? If your user experience were poor, how would you know?
There are many factors that can impact user experience (UX), from the words on a landing page to the images you use. The balance between each element is equally important, too.
The right pictures combined with the right words, for example, will create an ideal environment for customers to buy your product or subscribe to your service when they may have otherwise taken a pass.
On the other hand, the wrong pictures – even with the right words – can send a customer running for the hills.
So how do you know if your user experience is bringing in business or turning it away? You perform a UX audit, of course.
Here’s what you should know…
The Benefits of a UX Audit
If you’ve never performed a UX audit before, the idea may seem daunting. But rest assured, taking the time now to review your site for optimum performance will do wonders for your conversions in the long run.
Your UX audit should allow you to see things like:
- Areas where customers are getting confused or stuck
- Customer pain points that aren’t being addressed
- Places on your site where conversions are lowest
- Onboarding practices that keep customers from converting
- Any holes in your sales funnel
By performing an assessment of your site, you’ll have a clear understanding of who is using your product or service (not just who you thought was going to use your product or service), any issues preventing conversions, and the ROI of your site as a whole.
What Areas Should You Audit?
The goal of an audit is to pinpoint any areas where customers aren’t converting. This means looking through your site’s content, design, and functionality.
Your text should be easily digestible and enticing – words should be simple and straightforward (not too many buzzwords) and clearly communicate the value of your product or service (the higher up on the page, the better).
Quantity of text also matters. Too much of it and someone won’t bother reading it through; too little and they won’t get enough information to make a decision. Your content on any given landing page shouldn’t take more than a minute or so to read, but it should also keep them on the page.
A good rule of thumb is for content to be readable (out loud) for a length of 15 to 60 seconds.
The CTA is one of the most important elements on any landing page, and the phrasing of the words can make a big difference to conversions.
A good CTA will clearly tell the user what they should do while letting them know they’ll receive something of value on the other side of the action.
Words like “contact us for more information” don’t offer enough value, for example, but “click here” may entice them to click on a link if what follows is something important to them (“click here to get your free copy of our ebook”).
Design is another factor in conversions, and above-the-fold design – what appears at the top of your landing pages without someone having to scroll – is arguably one of the more important aspects of good design.
If the information and imagery at the top of your page isn’t appealing enough to hold someone’s interest, there’s less of a chance they’ll continue to scroll through the rest of your information or become a customer.
The top of your page should help visitors understand what your company is about, determine if your product is worthwhile, understand the exact value you have to offer, and show them how they should proceed through your site (call-to-action).
Part of your UX audit will involve looking at your image choices to determine what message they communicate to potential customers, particularly on your homepage.
The first images your customers see will be the impression of your business. If the images are irrelevant to your product or service or are generally low quality (or boring stock images), it reflects poorly on your site and your company as a whole.
The key is to find images that are high quality, reflect the relevant surrounding content, and appeal to the aesthetics of your target market.
You may not specifically target mobile traffic with your design and content, but that doesn’t mean it’s not playing a role in conversions. In fact, mobile traffic represents almost 65% of all digital interactions.
If someone has to pull or pinch their screen in order to see content on your mobile site, that may frustrate them enough to navigate away from the page all together.
If your website is hard to view or navigate on a mobile device, it will cost you customers. When performing a UX audit, it’s essential to test the usability of your website on a variety of different devices.
There are a lot of ways to generate traffic to your site, including things like content marketing, word of mouth, and social media. But search engine traffic is another key area where many websites fall short.
While SEO can be complicated, many websites fail to rank because they don’t use the appropriate keywords in their content, or they’re using them in the wrong places.
If possible, you will want to create a list of ranking keywords and phrases for your business and follow SEO best practices to ensure that your site appears in search engines when and where it should.
Another important element of any UX audit is site speed. Studies show that most website visitors will wait two seconds for website content to appear before navigating away from a page. That means if your content takes longer than that to load, you could be missing conversions.
Part of your UX audit will involve testing your site speed on a variety of different devices and browsers to ensure that download speeds fall in a reasonable range. (If you need to test your site, Pingdom has a tool for that here).
You will also want to look into anything on your page that may be slowing down your site and do your best to remove, replace, or rearrange elements as needed to keep things working as fast as possible.
Tips for Conducting a UX Audit
If you’ve never performed an audit before, you’ll want to follow a few guidelines.
During the audit:
- Don’t assume you know what users are thinking. Instead, look at the results for clues to any conversion gaps
- Go through the process as if you had never been to your site before (if you can’t do this without bias, find someone who can and have them report on the experience)
- Record user screens during the audit if possible so you have both objective and subjective data
- Create a timeline for your audit and stick to it – make sure you set aside enough time to review your site but don’t get so caught up that it consumes you
- Start with your content and eliminate other elements – like images – from there (so you know your core message is still being communicated)
- Make sure your user experience is the same on both PC and mobile devices
If you’re performing your own audit, check out Somia Customer Experience’s DIY audit toolkit here. If you’re not sure you know enough about what you’re doing to do it yourself, consider outsourcing your UX audit to a third-party, like Unfunnel’s UX Audit Tool.
Consider doing an audit at least once a year, or more often if you’ve noticed significant lag in your conversion funnel, or if there have been any major changes to your site.
Be sure to look at a variety of different elements in both your content and design, and don’t forget to check pages that are often overlooked, like a contact page.
As much as possible, try to be objective about areas where you feel conversions are lacking, and don’t take it personally if things are falling short. The whole point of a UX is to spot errors so you can make things better.