There are a lot of goals marketers care about, from brand awareness and reach to engagement, but their greatest focus is on conversions.
To improve website conversions, marketers implement many tactics. They invest in advertising and SEO to bring more visitors to their website. They send targeted email drip campaigns to promote sales and content. They implement A/B testing and conversion rate optimization (CRO) to refine page elements and improve conversion rate.
But the best marketing tactics and CRO can only get you so far. If your website isn’t designed to funnel your visitors towards conversion, your conversion rate will suffer.
That’s where a user experience (UX) audit comes in.
A UX audit can root out fundamental design issues that prevent your website visitors from converting or that distract them from using the site.
What Is the Purpose of a UX Audit?
A UX audit is an audit of a website’s overall design, usability, and user experience. Informed by business goals and user research, the goal of a UX audit is to assess how well the website is meeting the needs of its users and nudging them along the path toward conversion. That path is known as the “user journey,” and it’s a major focus of any UX audit.
A good user journey makes it clear to the user what action they should take next. In an ideal world, your website should offer a user journey that intuitively encourages people to click and explore in a way that eventually leads to conversion. Their journey should feel natural, not forced.
For example, when you land on the homepage of an eCommerce website, you may encounter a carousel of header images that highlight the company’s bestsellers or new collections. There may be a banner at the top that advertises free shipping or a current promotion.
If those don’t grab your interest, the navigation will offer a clearly delineated way to drill down to reach a specific department, or you can type something into the search box at the top right. To take these actions, you’ll be able to click buttons that are easily identifiable by size and a color that contrasts with the background.
Together, all of these elements encourage people to browse and add items to their cart. They don’t have to think about what to do next – the website suggests the next action for them.
Design mistakes and a lack of a clear user journey can be major sticking points that prevent people from converting, no matter how great your products or services are. In addition to rooting out these issues, an experienced UX designer will review the website analytics, speed, and performance to identify additional underlying problems that may be distracting your users or causing them to leave.
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The Risk of Poor UX: More Than Low Conversions
Some businesses try to skate by with a poor user experience for years. Unfortunately, this can lead to disastrous effects.
When a website is too difficult to use, users may abandon it. Think about bad websites you’ve encountered. Government websites, for example, can have notoriously bad UX designs. If you’ve ever been called for jury duty, you know the headache of trying to navigate a government website and finding out what you need to do to call in. You want to get out of there fast!
With well-designed websites, on the other hand, you don’t mind sticking around and staying a while. You are more willing to explore upsells or related product suggestions, or check out a gift guide the company just published. When you have a good UX design, people actually enjoy using your website.
And when people enjoy using your website, that means lower bounce rates, lower cart abandonment rates, and fewer lost sales. The stakes are high. Seventy-five percent of consumers say they judge a business’s credibility based on its website design, and 42% of consumers won’t buy from a poorly-designed website. Worst of all, the majority (88%) of users will never go back.
If your website loads too slowly, you can forget about conversions as well. Research shows that for each additional second of load time, website conversion rates drop by 4.42% on average.
Fortunately, a UX audit can help you avoid these potential pitfalls and instead enjoy the conversion-boosting benefits of a well-designed website.
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Top 3 Conversion-Focused Benefits of UX Audits
Through an analytical and user-centered approach, UX designers uncover key issues that hinder conversions on your website. Through the course of their UX audit, they’ll take note of these conversion blockers and provide actionable suggestions for improvement. When businesses implement those recommendations, they can enjoy benefits like improved conversion rates and higher sales.
1. Higher Conversion Rates
Businesses that invest more in UX design see higher conversions. A better UX design can yield conversion rate improvements of 200% to 400%.
The logic is simple. The easier it is for people to convert on your website, the more likely they are to convert. Design issues like confusing navigation, hard-to-see buttons, an overly long browse-to-checkout process, and poorly placed conversion elements can make it difficult for a user to convert. Worse, they may get fed up and seek out a competitor who makes it easier.
When you conduct a UX audit, a UX designer can find these issues and recommend how to fix them. Follow their suggestions and you may enjoy a similar lift in your conversion rates!
2. Higher Revenues and Cart Totals
Greater conversion rates often go hand-in-hand with greater revenues, so this one should come as no surprise. With a conversion-optimized UX design, cart totals can also increase.
UX designers can help you identify areas for cross-sells and upsells and make sure you’re designing those elements in a way that grabs a user’s attention and encourages a user to click.
3. Fewer Abandoned Carts
Speaking of cart totals, 18% of users abandon a website due to a poor or complicated checkout flow. This can take many forms including the following: long loading times, too many forms or pages, poor interactivity, or a mix of all.
Fortunately, the Baymard Institute estimates the average eCommerce website can enjoy a 35% increase in conversion rate, simply through a better checkout design. A UX designer can help you design a checkout process that feels safe and secure, intuitive and easy to use, and discards friction-causing elements like unnecessary form fields.
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UX audits can provide powerful insights for businesses struggling with a low conversion rate, whether you’re in the middle of a total redesign or just seeking to make quick-win improvements.
The average eCommerce conversion rate hovers between 2% to 3%. If yours is below that, and you’ve exhausted potential reasons for why it may be time for a UX audit.