The redesign of a website is a prime opportunity to make important changes to content, navigation, and functionality. It’s also a good time to step back and analyze the business objectives of the site and overall internet efforts, as well as to develop a long-term plan for getting the most from this communication channel.
One thing is evident: Excellent sites have great design and navigation. An organization that puts effort into developing a site that makes it is easy to find information also understands the importance of providing solid content and functionality.
Doing a website usability evaluation will help highlight areas where you would expect site visitors to experience problems, and provide a thorough analysis of the website’s usability strengths and weaknesses. For a brief website audit/evaluation process, it is important to create a detailed report showing where the site falls short of best practices. A full-blown website evaluation should also provide actionable site optimization recommendations and improvements. The report is a benchmark for future success and should create a prioritized plan of action.
Sometimes, my company is tasked to do a top-level analysis of competing sites as part of the website usability evaluation. The competitor analysis helps to identify strengths and weaknesses of competitors’ websites, which provides useful recommendations for guiding website strategy decisions, new ideas for improving the effectiveness of the website, and examples of what should be avoided.
Web Site Usability Evaluation Process:
• Assess your website’s objectives and intended audience.
• nteract with your website by posing as prospective and current customers.
• Identify your website’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
• Create a detailed report showing where the site falls short of best practice, and provide actionable site optimization
recommendations. (This report can be set up in tables in InDesign or Microsoft Word.)
Evaluations should be based on:
There are several key performance categories that are used to audit website performance. They include: Marketing, Design, Navigation, Page Layout, Site Content, and Site Features/Technology.
The marketing category consists of several strategies and tactics used to identify, create and maintain satisfying relationships with customers that result in value for both the customer and the company.
Interface design is the development of the graphics and interactive processes that drive user experience. Success with design translates to higher conversion rates, increased usage, and greater user satisfaction.
A website’s navigation scheme and features should allow users to find and access information effectively and efficiently.
All web pages should be structured for ease of comprehension.
Content provides the information needed by users and has competitive value.
Just as designers consider their users’ needs for specific information, they must also consider any constraints imposed on them by their users’ hardware, software, and speed of connection to the Internet.