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Website Design Audit: Importance and Benefits (Checklist)

9 min read

Many businesses may wish that there was a way to tell whether their website was functioning the way they desired. In other words, is it offering the value that is intended? Fortunately, this is precisely what a design audit is for.

Hearing the word “audit” can have a negative connotation to it, but a design audit is far from a bad thing. While it may take a little time to perform a full design audit, it can result in significantly better outcomes for a website.

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What is a Website Design Audit?

A website design audit operates as a magnifying glass on a brand’s website to evaluate visual elements, images, usability, interface, and everything in between. The intention is to determine that everything is working correctly and communicating to the audience. This helps to discover inefficiencies, inconsistencies, and general issues.

While there may be some obvious issues to fix, a design audit also discovers various design fails that cannot be blatantly seen.

Importance of Web Design Audit

Some businesses may push the importance of web design audit by the wayside.

However, design audits are essential in the modern age to stay ahead of the competition. This is especially true when a business grows, as it must effectively deliver to a broader audience.

A design audit may need to be done as a refresh to a site.

After all, the internet is a rapidly changing landscape, which means the effective techniques and elements also change. Some websites may have been incredibly successful years ago, just to see statistics plummet as the landscape changes.

A design audit helps to discover the areas that aren’t effective anymore and allows designers to remedy these issues.

Moreover, a design audit should not be considered a one-time thing. After an audit to bring everything up to speed, evaluating and maintaining these standards should be an ongoing practice.

What are the Benefits of a Design Audit?

Some businesses may wonder about the effective benefits and returns of a website audit. After all, it can take time and resources to conduct a website audit, especially if hiring a third party to do so.

As long as corrective changes are made as a result of an audit, it will have a positive impact on the customer. In turn, this will lead to significant and measurable returns.

Firstly, let’s look at the general benefits of an audit for users.

Better usability and user experience

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether the site seems usable internally. The exterior users and customers are the ones who truly gauge usability.

Improved site usability will make it easier for visitors to navigate and find what they want.

Customer satisfaction

Virtually everyone who has browsed the web has stumbled upon a page that is difficult to navigate, is too cluttered, or has some other type of issue. Issues like these can lead to a user becoming frustrated and leaving the page.

A design audit helps to locate and eliminate these stops or barriers. This means visitors and customers will be more satisfied with conducting their business on the site.

Brand image

Let’s be real, a poorly designed or difficult-to-interact-with website does not reflect well on a business. This is especially true if the website has not seen a modern branding refresh in some time.

A design audit can help to flesh out issues like these, which leads to a new coat of polish for the brand image.

The results of a design audit

All of this amounts to a website that is better looking, more navigable, and easier to use. These factors mean more user activity and a longer session time, increasing conversions.

This means the site will see increased:

  • Sessions
  • Registrations
  • Subscriptions
  • Info requests
  • Leads
  • Purchases
  • General actions completed

So, when design issues are found and addressed, it can actually lead to increased profits.

After all, users will be more able to readily access the site, navigate, understand the product, and purchase/sign up/etc.

How Long Does an Audit Take?

The next question is, how long does an audit take?

There is no set length to an audit, primarily because it can vary depending on the extent and range of the issues.

Typically speaking, a business should expect the audit to take a few days up to a month of evaluation. This is quite a large range, but it is difficult to gauge until the audit is underway.

Website Design Audit Checklist

There is no standard or correct way to conduct a design audit.

The first step is to create a checklist of all of the areas that should be addressed.

We created a list of questions a team can ask themselves to discover areas of improvement.

Imagery and design

  • Is typography consistent throughout the entire site?
  • Are icons and logos the same style?
  • Are backgrounds and patterns consistent across pages?
  • Is the overall design cohesive, and does it adhere to a similar style?
  • Do additional landing pages follow the same pattern as the primary site?
  • Are brand and logo colors consistent across the site?
  • Are images appealing and relevant to the content?

Coherent navigation

  • Is each page of the site consistent and navigable?
  • Is information well-written, credible, and easy to digest?
  • Can content across the site be easily scanned?
  • Can users quickly find contact and location information for the business?
  • Is there a visible search bar for users to find what they are looking for?

User accessibility

  • Does text contrast against the background for easy visibility?
  • Are links functional and direct to the right pages?
  • Is SEO functioning well enough to rank the site on search engines?
  • Is signing up, subscribing, or purchasing straightforward and hassle-free?
  • Do input forms only ask for pertinent information?
  • Is the website accessible to those with disabilities?
  • Is the site mobile-friendly and easy to navigate across all devices?

These are not necessarily all of the questions a team needs to ask, nor do they cover everything a team may need to address. After all, every business and website is different and may require varying degrees of review and overhaul.

However, the above questions cover most areas where flaws may exist. This can help the designer or team get started and can help to prompt other questions that may come during the audit.

Do You Need a Third Party to Conduct the Audit?

Any business can conduct its own internal audit through the above steps, provided they have the team and skills to do so.

However, in some cases, it may be better to recruit a third-party service to conduct a design audit.

Firstly, if the internal team isn’t familiar with design points and inefficiencies, the audit may not have the ideal results.

Additionally, the internal team may not be able to spot the issues and inconsistencies that an external pair of eyes will.

All of Your Selling Platforms on One Dashboard

If you own an ecommerce store or want to start one, Ecwid is here to help you make it easy. Our easy-to-use selling platform can be integrated with various website builders, platforms and social media. This allows you to see all of your sales on one dashboard.


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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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