Successfully reviewing a website design can be harder than you think! Whether it’s a fresh design from an agency for your new website, or whether you want to review your existing website design yourself, it’s important to consider various aspects. If an agency has produced your design, they should have considered all of these, but it’s important to be aware so you can understand their thinking and reasoning for what they have designed.
Ensure Alignment with Company Brand
It’s important to check that the design complies with your company branding or brand guideline. This includes making sure the correct logo, colour scheme, fonts etc. are being used. Depending on how extensive your brand guideline is, it may also include things such as writing and imagery style, which also need checking.
If you don’t have a brand guideline, maybe now is the time to consider it? As a minimum, you need to ensure consistency with other company materials and online presence – such as social media profiles.
Consider Target Audience – Ignore Personal Tastes
When reviewing your website design, try to really focus on who your target audience is and what they would like. Try and be objective and ignore your own personal tastes. It’s most important to make sure your website appeals to your target audience. As an example, if your audience is senior managers in manufacturing businesses, the design would be different to that which would appeal to an audience of teenagers interested in fitness.
Check Information & Structure
When reviewing your website design and the text content, you need to consider some key points:
- Is it obvious what the company is offering?
- Is there any information on why this company/website is better than others?
- Is it obvious what I can do on the website?
- Is the navigation clear?
Ensure Call to Actions (CTAs) Are Clear
Call to Actions (CTAs) are text and/or graphical devices which are intended to encourage the visitor to take an action. For a website, this is often to encourage them to become a lead – perhaps download a PDF, join your mailing list, or contact you (via a contact form, phone, email etc.)
You need to make sure the CTAs on your website are clear and obvious. It’s also important to make sure there aren’t too many! You don’t want to overload users with multiple CTAs, excessive popups etc. On a website design, research has shown that having at least one CTA that you can see without scrolling down (known as ‘above the fold’) will be more successful.
Your website design needs to consider accessibility and ensure it complies with the Equality Act. This will ensure it is usable for people with disabilities. There are several points to consider, including design/visual related things such as text size and ensuring the colours chosen provide good contrast.
Consider Search Engine Optimisation and Speed
When reviewing your website design, have a think about search engine optimisation and speed. Make sure the design incorporates many fundamental SEO factors. SEO is changing and a website design that provides a genuinely good experience for visitors is also likely to be good for SEO.
Website speed is something else to consider – a lot of it is down to technical factors (such as how it is built), but there are aspects of the design that can influence it – such as how many images are used on the page or if large videos are incorporated. People’s connection speeds are increasing all the time, but it’s still important to ensure the design considers speed.
Collate Feedback – Don’t Drip Feed
If you are working with an agency or external company, try to collate your feedback – don’t drip feed it. Many agencies will limit how many ‘rounds’ of feedback are allowed – typically 2 to 3 rounds. Therefore, try and give as full and detailed feedback as early as possible. If the feedback rounds go on and on, many agencies will either force a stop or say that there will be additional cost.
When giving feedback, this is often via email. Various tools such as Adobe XD support giving feedback via annotations or you may discuss it during a call. If it’s discussed during a call, ensure somebody produces a summary of points so all are clear about what needs to be changed.
Website design is a complex area and this post covers some of the most important things to consider when reviewing the design. For specific types of content (such as a form) there are several other design factors that come in to play.
Overall, you want to ensure a good user experience (UX) for your website visitors.