Technique used in user-centered interaction design to evaluate a product by testing it on users.
Usability audits are evaluated against usability heuristics (which are agreed upon industry best practices or company specific usability standards) whereas user research includes testing with actual people to evaluate the product.
User experience design is an essential factor in a successful website. It's important to have a website design that users can enjoy using and they can find what they are looking for easily.
How can you be sure that your users are having a good experience on your website?
Implement a usability audit to discover where your users are clicking, looking, and moving within your site. Usability audits can be easily broken down into three main components: human usability, search engine usability/crawl-ability, and conversion tracking.
Navigation. If people cannot find what they are looking for as quickly as possible they will move onto another website where they can find it. A usability audit goes through and makes sure that your navigation is set up properly so that your website is easy to navigate. It tells you if your website flows well, making sure that you are linking internally to different pages and that those links actually take users somewhere.
Functionality. What's the use of a website with useful functionality if it doesn't work? A usability report will tell you if functionality on your website works or doesn't work. If it doesn't work then users aren't going to be using it.
Heat Mapping. Wouldn't it be nice to know where people are clicking on your website, what links they are using, and even where they are looking? With the analytical tool referred to as heat mapping, you are able to find all of this out. A heat mapping campaign tells you what links people are clicking on so that you can get rid of the ones that aren't being used, and focus your attention on the popular ones. It will show you if people are getting to the bottom of the page and clicking links there, which means they are actually reading your content. It will also show you where people are focusing their attention on your website by tracking their scrolls and estimating where people's eyes are focused.
Deeper Analytics. A great usability audit goes even deeper than heat mapping. It tracks how many visits your website is receiving, where those visits are coming from, and how effective those visits are. It will tell you how many pages users visit while on your site and how long they spend on each page. It will also track your bounce rates, which are the amount of times users spend a short amount of time on your website and click out of it. This usually means they couldn't find what they were looking for so they moved onto a different source.
A great human user experience is crucial for a successful website, but you also need to consider how search engines are reading your site as well. A usability audit will provide you with a search engine craw-ability report. This will give you good information on search engine crawl-ability, which essentially means how easy is it for search engines like Google to go through your website.
Crawl Reports. Search engines need to be able to crawl your site for information in order to index pages and rank you their search results. A crawl report analyzes your website's URLs, site maps, links, and redirectors to make sure that search engines like Google are finding and your content and accurately indexing it.
Canonical URLs. A usability audit will go through your website and make sure you do not have duplicate content on different URLs. If the same content is needed on multiple pages, then your website needs to tell search engines which page is the main URL for that content.
Crawl-ability. If search engines cannot crawl your website, your business will never rank high in search results. A usability analysis goes through your website and makes sure that your site maps are indexed and accurate, you have no 404 page errors, and that your redirects are set up properly. It will also provide you with information to assure that your page titles, and headers match the content on that page.
Conversions are the focus of any website, so it is very important to track how many users your website is converting into customers or leads. A usability audit should include a statistical and analytical tracking system, such as Google Analytics, which will help keep track of user conversions.
It should also provide you with information about how links are affecting your conversions. You want to be sure to have your internal links funneling users to a call-to-action, which will hopefully lead to more conversions, and better results.
Partner with us to implement a usability audit for your website. We can help you achieve the results you are looking for.