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Web Design Audit: Step by Step Guide

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man using a magnifying glass to look at a website

Web Design Audit: Step by Step Guide

Setting up a website so you can grow your business or earn money doesn’t stop after the website is launched. If you want to stand out from your competitors, you need a website that’s easy to use, looks good for your target audience, and keeps up with the latest trends and algorithms.

This is why the idea of checking over your own site on a regular basis or doing a web design audit is important. 

This article explains a web design audit, why it’s important, the process behind it, and how it can improve your website.

What Is a Website Design Audit?

A web design audit is a comprehensive evaluation of a website’s design elements, usability, performance, and overall alignment with business goals. 

It investigates various aspects of the website, including its visual appeal, navigation, content quality, functionality, SEO strategies, and mobile responsiveness.

Importance of Website Design Audit

A web design audit is a process that must be done regularly to check your website’s metrics. It provides important insights that can affect your website’s performance. 

Improves User Experience

A website design audit identifies areas where the user experience can be enhanced, making the site more intuitive and user-friendly. 

Enhances Website Performance

Website audits often uncover issues that slow down a website, such as unoptimized images or bloated code. Fixing these issues can improve load times, positively affecting visitor retention and search engine rankings.

Boosts SEO Rankings

A website design audit can help improve a site’s visibility on search engines by identifying and correcting design elements that negatively impact SEO, attracting more organic traffic.

Increases Conversion Rates

An audit can pinpoint design flaws that hinder conversions, such as unclear calls-to-action or complicated navigation. 

Ensures Mobile Optimization

With the increasing prevalence of mobile browsing, a design audit can ensure that a website is fully optimized for mobile users, providing a flawless experience across all devices.

Identifies Outdated Content or Design

Audits help recognize outdated content or design elements that could harm the brand’s image.

Improves Accessibility

A website design audit can highlight accessibility issues, ensuring that the site is usable by people with disabilities. 

Strengthens Brand Consistency

Ensuring consistent use of brand elements (like logos, colors, and fonts) across the website strengthens brand identity and trust with visitors.

Facilitates Better Content Strategy

By analyzing how content is displayed and consumed on the site, an audit can provide insights into improving content strategy to engage users and website visitors more effectively.

Supports Scalability

Identifying elements that could hinder the website’s ability to grow with the business ensures that the site can evolve without requiring a complete overhaul, saving time and resources in the long run.

woman working on a laptop

Signs It’s Time to Conduct a Web Design Audit

Poor User Engagement Metrics

High bounce rates, low average time on site, or negative feedback from users can point to design flaws, poor content quality, or technical issues that need to be addressed.

Outdated Design

If a website looks outdated or does not follow current design trends, it may fail to attract or retain visitors, suggesting the need for a design overhaul.

Mobile Incompatibility

With the increasing prevalence of mobile browsing, a website that is not mobile-friendly is likely to suffer in terms of user engagement and search engine ranking.

Slow Page Load Times

When your website takes too long to load, it can frustrate users and lead them to leave before the page even fully opens. Regular monitoring of page load times can help identify when it’s time for a technical website audit or performance audit to optimize speed.

Difficulty in Updating Content

If updating your website’s content is challenging due to an inconvenient content management system (CMS) or hard-coded elements, it could be a sign that your website’s backend needs an audit.

Low Search Engine Rankings

If your website used to rank well on search engine results pages (SERPs) but has recently seen a drop, this could signal issues with your search engine optimization strategies or changes in search engine algorithms. 

An SEO audit can identify what’s causing your rankings to suffer and provide actionable recommendations to regain your search engine visibility. It can also help optimize your website for search engines.

Web Design Audit Process

Step 1: Define Your Objectives

Start by clarifying what you hope to achieve with the audit. Setting clear goals will guide the entire audit process and help you focus on what matters most for your website.

Step 2: Gather Your Tools and Resources

Select the tools and resources you’ll need to conduct the audit. 

Some offer insightful heatmaps and user session recordings to analyze user interactions, while others provide detailed data on user behavior, traffic sources, and engagement metrics.

Step 3: Review UX and Visual Elements

Examine your website’s design and user interface. 

Look for visual consistency, branding alignment, and overall aesthetic appeal. Assess the user experience by navigating the site as if you’re a first-time visitor. Design audits are usually the easiest part since you just need a keen eye and good observation skills.

Step 4: Review Your Content

Assess the quality, relevance, and organization of your site’s content. 

Look for outdated information, broken links, or web pages that lack engagement. Having an SEO background makes content audit faster and easier.

Step 5: Test Accessibility and Compliance

Ensure your website is accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities, by testing compliance with standards like WCAG. 

Check for features like keyboard navigability, proper use of ARIA labels, and sufficient color contrast.

Step 6: Compile and Analyze the Results

Gather the data and insights from each phase of the audit into a comprehensive report. Highlight key findings, identify patterns or recurring issues, and prioritize them based on your initial objectives.

Step 7: Develop an Action Plan

Based on your audit findings, create a detailed action plan outlining the steps needed to address the identified issues. 

Assign priorities and set realistic timelines for implementing these changes. Include both quick wins and longer-term projects in your plan.

Step 8: Implement, Monitor, and Repeat

Begin executing the improvements outlined in your action plan. Monitor the impact of these changes on your website’s performance and user experience.

How to Analyze Web Design Audit Results

When you look at the results from an audit, it’s like reading a detailed report card about a company’s operations. The goal is to get a clear picture of where the company stands so you can figure out what needs fixing and what should stay the same.

Here’s how to do it:

Interpret the Data and Findings

After collecting and analyzing audit results, the next step is to make sense of all the numbers and facts. This involves looking at the big picture and understanding the story behind the data. 

Why did certain issues arise?

Identify Areas of Strengths and Weaknesses

Once you understand what the web design audit data is telling you, you can pinpoint exactly where the website shines and where it struggles. 

Identifying strengths and weaknesses is about recognizing what it does best and where there’s room for improvement.

Create an Action Plan Based on the Audit Results

After finding what’s working and what’s not, the next move is to create a roadmap for improvement. 

This action plan is a detailed strategy that outlines specific steps to address weaknesses and build on strengths.

person looking at charts, a laptop and glasses

Implementing Changes and Best Practices

After figuring out what needs improvement from an audit, the next step is to take action, make those improvements, and incorporate best practices. 

Firstly, knowing what needs changing after a design audit is one thing, but applying those changes smartly is another. Best practices serve as a roadmap for smooth and effective implementation.

When making changes post-audit, it is important to keep an eye on the ultimate goals. Each adjustment should contribute directly to advancing business growth or enhancing the website.

Keep in mind that improvement is a continuous journey, not a one-off event. So, regular web design audits are important for maintaining momentum and catching issues early.

Leave Web Design Audits to LeftLane Media

If you need any help regarding web design audits, let professionals from LeftLane Media help you. 

Visit their website or simply click here and schedule a call. You can also dial 714-676-9253 or visit our office located at 3040 Saturn St #205 Brea, CA 92821.

 

FAQs About Web Design Audit

Do search engine crawlers look for outdated websites?

Yes, search engine crawlers are detectives looking for outdated websites, which can be a red flag for them.

What does the connection between user flow and user research have to do with a good web design?

User flow and user research are partners with good web design because they show how real people use your site. 

How often should you do a web design audit?

It’s a good idea to conduct a website audit at least once a year. Think of it as an annual checkup to ensure that your site’s visual elements, key user flows, and relevant content are in top shape.