Five things to consider during your next usability audit

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Your website is the cornerstone of your online presence, so don't let it just sit there! It should be working for you. If your website isn't meeting your goals, you probably need to reevaluate. One of the best ways to figure out what's going wrong is usability testing.

Over the past few weeks, we've been talking about usability audits. We started with the basics, then last week we pointed out a few red flags that mean you should add a website usability audit to your projects list. So, now that you know you need one...

What should you audit?

In order to complete a good usability audit, you must think like your user. What are you trying to find or do? And can you find it or do it? Answer these questions to find areas of opportunity for your website.

During an initial usability audit, we look at these five areas for information on key user interactions:

1. Navigation

Looking at the navigation can help you evaluate the information you're offering, the calls to action for that information, and how easy it is for the user to follow through. These questions will help you to determine if your content is being prioritized correctly:

  • Can users find what they're looking for?
  • Is all information relevant to your users displayed prominently?
  • Is each piece of content placed accurately in the information architecture?

2. Functionality

Review the functionality on your site. These questions can help you determine if your site is functioning the way it was intended to when it was built:

  • Does each form submit?
  • Does the calculator or comparison tool you've added to your site work properly?
  • Does your site search work as intended?
  • Is it obvious to the user if they've made a mistake or completed an action successfully?
  • Is the site responsive?
  • Is the correct prioritization of information consistent throughout devices?

3. Heat Mapping

Part of evaluating your site is knowing exactly where users are clicking. This information can be difficult to track, but using heat maps allows you to see more than just what page the user went to next. At Integrity, we've used HotJar to track heat mapping on our site.

4. Deeper Analytics

Google Analytics is an essential tool for evaluating your site. Not only can you get basics like number of site visits, number of users and how users are getting to your site, but also demographics, conversion tracking, e-commerce tracking and more. This is a free tool from Google that can completely change how you think about your site because you'll be able to provide data-backed insights and recommendations.

5. Search Engine Optimization

The last thing on the list is to perform an SEO audit. Completing an SEO audit is not all about your keywords, but about your site structure, meta descriptions and if your site can be crawled. It is important to have your site structured in a way that makes sense to search engines. This includes having set page titles, consistent heading hierarchy, filled out meta descriptions and alt descriptions, and more. Moz is a great resource for learning more about SEO. Another useful tool for assessing SEO is Search Console. Linking your site to Google's Search Console is a great way to see how your site is showing up in Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), submit new content to be indexed, and see which keywords brought users to your site.

Looking for some expert assistance on your next usability audit? Let us know!

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