Critiquing A Website Front End

At Liven we often get asked to give our thoughts on an existing website design and build. In light of this, we thought we would share six key things we always look at as a starting point in critiquing any website. It should be noted that the following stages are considered from looking simply at the existing look and feel and not the backend system or structure of the site. We aim to explore this at a later date.

Stage 1: First Impressions

The first stage to consider is overall first impressions. Aspects that influence this include: Does the website provide clear guidance to stakeholders in terms of navigation? Is colour used effectively to reinforce the brand? Is the content easy to read and is there a distinct tone of voice? Are images used and, if so, are they relevant and visually engaging? Are contact details prominent?

Stage 2: Navigation

Is it easy to navigate around the website, or is it difficult to find what you are looking for? Does the website aid navigation; for example, does it include a breadcrumb trail so that you always know where you are? Or does it have a number of additional useful links at the bottom of each page?

Stage 3: Content

Does the website show page after page of scrolling text or is the content very light? Is there a balance between informative and engaging content? Informative content might provide general information about a company, whilst engaging content is content designed to encourage a response. For example, after reading some copy you might then be given the option to call to find out more or visit a portfolio. Another important area to consider in terms of content is whether consideration has been given to keyword density and phrases that potential clients might use when undertaking a search.

Stage 4: Level of Interaction

Does the website encourage feedback and interaction? For example, if you have a number of distinct customers, does your website allow for sufficient interaction between these different audiences? Do you have a blog or encourage comments and feedback in anyway?

Stage 5: Attractors

Does your site have any attractors? For example do you have a news feed which provides informative information that might be of interest to your stakeholders and repeat visitors? Do you run a Pay per Click (PPC) campaign to draw potential clients to your site? Do you link to social media platforms and maintain these regularly? Do you have a comprehensive portfolio to show what you do and what you have done recently? Have you linked your website to any online directories? All of these factors will help to increase the number of potential inbound enquiries.

Stage 6: User Satisfaction

How do you currently monitor traffic levels to your site? For example, is Google Analytics or another site analytics package running? Does your site currently have a high bounce back percentage? How many pages is a new visitor looking at compared to a regular visitor?

This is just a quick insight into the first few things we look at when reviewing a website design and build. If you have any other top tips, please leave a comment. And if you would like to discuss your digital requirements then please get in touch.

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James Glass

An accomplished brand expert, I believe passionately in the integral role that effective design can play in solving business challenges. My approach when working with clients centres predominantly on strategic account planning and direction: listening, distilling critical information and providing innovative and commercially viable solutions which represent a client’s core values and unique strengths to ultimately address the challenges they face.