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      How to do a WordPress Design (UI/UX) Audit: A Comprehensive Guide

      Wordpress Design UX UI Audit

      The word ‘audit’ can evoke fear, conjuring images of endless paperwork and uncertainty. 

      However, in this guide, we aim to help you understand what a WordPress web design ( UI/UX) audit is, why it’s important, and how to conduct one on your own site. 

      By the end, you’ll know the steps to take to improve your WordPress website design and create a delightful user experience.

      Why do you need a UI/UX audit?

      It’s no secret that the first impression pretty often determines the visitor’s experience and the ultimate decision. 

      Then, a design UX audit can ultimately help your website to keep its positioning, staying competitive and attractive to its target audience. A design audit will allow you to increase your website’s functionality and engagement, improve its user-friendliness, user experiences and conversions, and build a stronger and more authentic brand identity. 

      One of the main reasons is that a WordPress design UI/UX audit assesses the users’ experience – “the feelings and thoughts of people when interacting with a website”. 

      Good user experience helps identifying how much your users readily find the site helpful and easy to use while poor user experience means users find the site problematic and bothersome. 

      User experience is one of the most important components of your overall digital marketing strategy since it helps the users to get the most of your website. Or, on the contrary, it persuades them to leave your site without completing the targeted action.

      Types of design audit you need to conduct

      There are two main areas to consider when conducting a design audit—User Experience (UX) Design and User Interface (UI) Design; both are vital for the user’s ability to engage.

      1. UX design audit:

      The purpose of a UX design audit is to investigate and improve users’ interaction with your website by asking questions like: 

      • How does the user access your pages, and how easily do they navigate through? 
      • How quickly do users understand a page, and how likely are they to navigate away? 
      • Can a user accomplish his objective on your page? 
      • What is the user’s perception of the encounter with your site? 

      UX Audit

      In other words, user experience involves every aspect of the end-users’ contact with your website from the time they log in until they log out. Conducting a UX design review can help identify problem areas and address them by making your website more accessible, user-friendly, and “delightful” to use.

      1. UI design audit:

      The UI design aspect of the audit involves assessing how the website’s visual elements may be perceived. The colors, fonts, layouts, and general design are aspects that users see and interact with daily. 

      Ask these questions for more clarity: 

      1. Is the design easy to use and discern? 
      2. Is it attractive and enjoyable to look at? 
      3. What is the user’s reaction to the majority of visual elements? 
      4. Is the design centered on the user and is it consistent from page to page? 

      UI AuditA well-thought-out user interface helps to enhance the overall user experience by creating an appealing, visually pleasant environment. Conducting a UI audit can reveal that your current visuals may not meet the required criteria, helping you to develop a design that is both beautiful and reflects your brand.

      Best Practices for WordPress Design UI/UX Audit

      • Navigation: 

      Navigation is an integral element of a website’s design, and it is essential to focus on its evaluation during an audit. The top or primary menu is one of the first and most essential user-interface items on a website. 

      Consider the following factor: The navigational menu should be prominently located at the top or center of the web page.

      Previously popular dropdown menus are now discouraged because they pose technical SEO issues and are generally tiresome for users. 

      Research indicates that dropdown menus are unpopular because the eye moves faster than the hand, leading to reduced page views.

      • Loading speed

      More than half of all website visitors expect a website to load in no more than 2.5 seconds. 

      If the page takes longer than 2.5 seconds to load, about 40% of users will leave the page and probably never return. This has serious financial implications, as a slow loading speed can reduce sales by up to 27% for each second added.

      • Accessibility

      The internet is designed to be accessible to everyone, including people of all hardware, software, language preferences, abilities, and locations. 

      However, many websites prioritize design over accessibility, potentially alienating a significant portion of their target audience. 

      Accessibility standards ensure that websites can accommodate people with disabilities, different devices, the elderly, and those with temporary or situational limitations. Adhering to these standards not only makes websites more inclusive but also benefits users with slow internet connections or those accessing the site under less than ideal conditions.

      • Responsive design

      Responsive design not only enhances the user experience but also provides several other benefits. It eliminates the need for separate mobile websites or apps, reducing development and maintenance costs. Additionally, it ensures that your website is accessible to users with disabilities who may be using assistive technologies or alternative browsing methods.

      For example, when you resize a browser window, the website’s images and content blocks will fluidly reposition and resize themselves to fit the new dimensions. At the smallest screen sizes, typically representing a smartphone, the website will present a streamlined, mobile-friendly version with optimized content and navigation.

      The HTML content remains the same across all devices, but it’s presented in a way that’s optimized for the specific screen size and orientation. This approach ensures that users can easily navigate, read, and interact with your website, regardless of the device they’re using.

      How does cmsMinds approach WordPress design auditing?

      1. Understand your users and their needs

      2. Ensure that you comprehend the users and their purposes before you start executing a web design (UI/UX) audit. Your website will be of no use to visitors if it does not provide the help they require. 

        Therefore, having a better view of your ideal consumers will enable you to complete the audit with consideration, resulting in your site helping users to fulfill their purposes.

        Create or update user personas during the audit process—detailed profiles including background, objectives, pain points, etc. Also, develop a customer journey map to track both current and potential interactions of your users with your website. If you use a jobs-to-be-done framework, include tasks that your users need to accomplish with your product.

        For a meticulous comprehension of your users, contemplate such questions:

        • Who are your target audiences?
        • What objectives do they have?
        • What tasks do they need to complete?
        • What worries and annoyances bring them to your site?
        • What touchpoints do they have with your site?

        If the responses to these questions have changed, consider launching an on-site or independent survey to update your user data.

      3. Research and Explore: 

      4. Conduct a thorough study to uncover market gaps, analyze your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, and assess the advantages and disadvantages of your own user experience design.

        Find market gaps: Identify necessary features missing on your site. This will help you find new functionalities or enhancements for your UX design, such as improved filtering options, optimized payment processes, or enhanced accessibility.

        Know your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses: Review the user experience your competitors provide to learn about their design details, user journeys, and the emotions they evoke. Learn from their successes and failures to identify improvements for your own site.

        Determine your own strengths and weaknesses: Compare your website against competitors to identify the strong and weak aspects of your current UX design. This will help you formulate an improvement plan.

        Collect evidence for your design changes: The research you conduct will provide clear insights on what and why changes should be made. Instead of following mere ideas, you’ll have strong evidence to back up your suggestions.

      5. Empathize with Users and Map the Experience

      6. Group and Organize Content: Begin by grouping and organizing your content into relevant categories. Use methods such as card sorting to determine which data sets should be retained and where to place them. If redesigning a website, review the entire structure, ascertain the critical information that people may require, and avoid irrelevant information.

        Create a Site Map: After organizing the content, create a site map which visually represents how the content will be organized on the website. A site map, also called a content outline, lists all the pages and their corresponding content and functionality.

        Outline the Navigation Structure: This structure determines how different pages on your website are organized and interconnected. Some pages and content can only be accessed by following specific paths. Revisit the user journeys created during the initial design phase to determine how the pages will interlink.

      7. Create Wireframes, Low and High-Fidelity Mockups 

      8. After positive usability test results, it’s time to focus on the visual design elements, such as layout, colors, typography, images, logos, icons, formatting, and input boxes. These elements should reflect your brand’s identity and ethos while appealing to the audience and enhancing navigation.

        Using wireframes can guide you, your client, and your developers through the website’s structure without distractions like color or images. It’s crucial to test your information architecture early in the project to allow for incremental adjustments. 

        At this stage, create a comprehensive design system and style guide that clearly defines everything you will need, including the components of the visual language and principles that must be consistently applied across the website. This will ensure users have a coherent experience and leave a memorable impression.

        For each usability issue identified, develop SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) recommendations. You should also establish how success will be measured to keep all parties accountable and ensure alignment with business objectives.

      9. Testing: (AB testing, Usability test, reviews, feedback)

      10. Utilize feedback widgets to evaluate your visual design. Install these widgets on relevant pages of your website, allowing users to describe their experiences and point out elements they find compelling or lacking. 

        This direct feedback is crucial as it helps identify areas for improvement and successful elements that could be implemented across your platforms.

        Considerations when analyzing visual design:

        • Does the visual design align with your brand identity and effectively convey the intended message?
        • Are the visual design elements consistent across the website and cohesive with one another, creating a unified experience?
        • Is the visual design appealing and engaging to your target audience, meeting their preferences and expectations?
      11. Gathering Feedback

      12. After analyzing the data, review the information as a team and decide which design elements to keep, remove, or revise. This decision-making process should be guided by user priorities, identifying design changes that will significantly enhance user experience and address pain points. 

        Also, evaluate which changes are likely to positively impact conversions and other key performance indicators (KPIs). Finally, prioritize tasks based on their importance, impact, and complexity, creating a roadmap for tackling the most critical issues first.

        How to deal with UX/UI design issues

        When considering a website redesign, you have two main options: a complete overhaul or a partial redesign with cosmetic changes. The choice will depend on the specific issues and goals you need to address.

        Complete Redesign

        This approach is suitable when your website faces fundamental challenges that require a comprehensive solution. A complete redesign entails reimagining every aspect of your digital presence.

         In some cases, this may involve redefining core elements of your brand identity, such as the logo. In other instances, it means completely transforming the website’s structure, layout, and functionality to better suit the needs of your current user base. 

        Though demanding, a complete redesign allows you to start afresh, implementing innovative solutions that were likely impractical within the confines of your existing site.

        Partial Redesign or Cosmetic Changes

        Alternatively, if your website’s foundation is sound but needs a visual refresh to stay modern and engaging, cosmetic changes are a viable option.

         This method keeps the core structure and functionality intact while updating visual elements. You might update fonts, color schemes, and imagery, or modify the layout of key pages like the homepage or product pages to enhance user experience and engagement. 

        Although less extensive than a complete overhaul, a partial redesign can revitalize your brand’s visual appeal, ensuring it remains in step with evolving design trends and effectively addressing any elements that might hinder user engagement or conversions.

        Each approach offers distinct benefits, allowing you to either fundamentally transform your website or refresh its appearance while maintaining its foundational structure.

      Author's Bio

      Pritesh Kanteliya
      Pritesh Kanteliya

      Pritesh Kanteliya is a dynamic Team Lead in UI/UX and Web Design, known for his innovative approach to creating engaging and user-friendly digital experiences. With significant expertise in design and front-end development, he leads his team to craft designs that captivate users and meet business goals. His skills span UX and UI design, including wireframing, prototyping, and responsive design. Beyond the screen, Pritesh's passion for travel, cricket, and culinary adventures fuels his creativity, bringing unique perspectives to his work.

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