There’s a common fallacy about websites that continues to live on in the collective consciousness of small business owners. It is the perception that if you build “it” (the website) “they” (meaning customers) will come and this will drive more inquiries and sales. Unfortunately, this is simply not true, unless several other conditions are met such as having great content, implementing a solid SEO plan and investing in targeted promotions to get visitors to your site.

From my experience working with clients, an even greater myth about websites is that if you can just get more traffic to your site (using the methods described above) the people who visit it will take the actions that you need them to in order for your business to make more money. It just doesn’t work that way—unless you design your website to make it so.

How a UX website design saves you money and increases ROI

Instead of designing a website from your company’s perspective it is vital to design it based on how a real, live user of your website (also known as a human being) will use it. Why? According to user experience (UX) designer, Rebecca Sweeton, who owns Out of Sight Designs, a website and user experience development company located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the reason is two-fold:

“Having a website design that focuses on the user’s experience saves money in the long run because you won’t have to keep tweaking your design because things aren’t working for visitors. It will also increase the return on investment in building your site by guiding website visitors through the series of steps necessary to indicate interest in and/or purchase your products and services.”

The missing link for more online leads and sales

In short, the art and science of user-experience design (also called UX design) is often the missing link between a website that works as a lead and sales generating hub and one that does not. There’s more emphasis than ever on UX website design these days by big companies constructing large web sites, but it is something every business needs to consider to truly maximize the value of their website.

“An excellent and cost-effective first step toward understanding how effective your website is from a user experience perspective is to conduct a UX audit,” said Rebecca. “A UX audit is especially valuable if it is done before you start building a new website—or before you decide to rework an existing site.”

Essentially, user experience audit, or UX audit, is a way to identify problem areas of an existing digital product or service, revealing which parts of a website or application are causing issues for users and blocking conversions.

Rebecca likens a UX audit to a financial audit: “A UX audit uses empirical methods to expand an existing situation, and offer heuristics-based recommendations for improvements, in this case, user-centric enhancements. Ultimately, a UX audit should let you know how to boost conversions by making it easier for users to achieve their goals on your website or application.”

You may be thinking that you did user testing when you built your website—but a UX audit is different. “The direction of the flow of information is the distinguishing and key difference,” explained Rebecca. “An audit assumes problems from a set of pre-established standards or goals. In contrast, user testing figures out problems from observing user actions. A UX audit may include user testing in addition to other methods of data collection over and measure them up against heuristics, industry standards, and business goals.”

Is a UX audit something your company should consider?

Rebecca identified the following questions that can help you determine if a UX audit is something your business should think about doing:

These questions are really just the beginning—in general, if your website is not helping to grow your business, you should determine why that is. Otherwise, you are missing out on maximizing a critical element of your company’s marketing and sales infrastructure. This is a situation no business can afford to be in—especially given the imperative to strengthen your website to capture more online customers driven by the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Discover the benefits of a UX audit for your business

“The greatest benefit of conducting a UX audit is that in the end, you end up with a list of actionable recommendations that are based on data for your specific product or service,” said Rebecca. “You can then use those recommendations to better understand your users, implement a redesign (not necessarily of the entire product or service), and reach your business goals. The report generated from a UX audit usually includes a summary of research findings, wireframes for you’re an improved website design, and UX-driven recommendations for everything from general usability to accessibility and content for your site.”

Although a UX audit  may sound like something only meant for bigger businesses, nothing could be further from the truth. A UX audit is in fact a critical element in connecting and engaging with your current and prospective customers. It’s really a roadmap that you can use to increase leads, educate website visitors about your products and services as well as drive more sales—which are extremely valuable to any business.

Do you have questions about UX website design or a UX audit for your business? Contact Rebecca at Out of Site Designs for a consultation.

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