Your site design isn’t just the look and feel of the site; it encompasses brand perception, user experience, and accessibility.
This said, successful site design should be aesthetically pleasing (First impressions are 94% design-related—content matters a lot but is powerless when embedded in poor design), use consistent branding and design elements (Research shows consumers trust brands they recognize), and allow users to quickly locate important information and achieve their goals (Users that visit a website with disorganized navigation feel it is similar to driving somewhere with hazy directions, feeling lost along the way).
To evaluate your site, use the three tactics below:
1. Interface Inventory: Checking the site’s design consistency.
An interface inventory will quickly tell you how consistent a site is regarding visual branding and design elements. The idea here is to ensure your organization is maintaining a consistent identity throughout the site. To solidify this, every permutation of buttons, hyperlinks, headers, and any other distinctive design elements are gathered in a place and reviewed for consistency. This inventory clearly defines design needs and helps scope the project. It creates a compelling argument for stakeholders to approve the development time you’ll need to clean up these inconsistent design elements.
2. Heuristic Review: An expert tells you how usable your site is.
In a heuristic review, a usability expert will grade how well your site adheres to “rules of thumb.” Some examples of common usability heuristics an expert might grade are visibility of system status, user control and freedom, and flexibility and efficiency of use. It’s also a good practice to conduct a parallel heuristic review of a competitor’s site, so you can have a clear measure of how well your site is performing in your industry.
3. Usability Testing: Evaluating a product by watching users interact with it.
Before conducting usability testing, you will first need to identify the critical tasks a user needs to be able to complete on your site. If you aren’t sure where to start, just answer the questions, “Why does someone come to my site? What are they trying to accomplish?” Your critical tasks should be facilitating that primary user goal. Usability testing is done observing real people attempting to complete these tasks without guidance. It can be time-consuming to arrange these sessions, but testing with just five people can uncover 85% of usability problems. Usability testing is an area where a little effort goes a long way.
When auditing remember these steps: First, evaluate both your visual design and user experience on your site. Next, use interface inventories, heuristic reviews, and usability testing to access the state of your design. Finally, use the results of your audit to target your site’s problem areas first.
If you have any questions about usability on your current site, feel free to send us a message HERE and we will be glad to answer your questions.