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UX Design - How to Design a Website: Site Audit

How do you define the user experience based on a site audit?

In this video, Chris Do and Jose Caballer break down the user experience (UX) strategy for a client website. Following the CORE framework, they perform a site audit to determine the user’s needs, their profiles, and the content strategy to move onto the site map development phase.

They answer questions from the audience and start by reviewing who the client is, their current website, and their competition.

Start with CORE

For this website design in particular, Chris and Jose are working with a current client’s website. They’ve already redesigned the landing page, and have been asked to tackle the redesign of the entire site.

Prior to this, they applied the strategies and tactics laid out in the CORE framework to define the client’s brand attributes, user profiles, and their goals as a business.

The client is a higher-end fishing lodge located in British Columbia, Canada. The lodge attracts a variety of guests, mostly middle-aged, wealthier males.

The CORE framework has helped Chris and Jose establish the company’s culture, customer, voice, benefit, value, and x-factor to redefine their brand and design a landing page that reflects it.

The Site Audit

As they prepare to tackle the rest of the site, they first need to do a site audit to get a sense of where the current site is and what content exists already.

This will help them determine how to best design the new website and the content for the target audience of new and returning customers.

Chris and Jose will also need to research the websites of competitors. They’ll study things like: how the navigation is set up and organized, how many links are throughout the site, and what the online booking experience feels like to an incoming guest.

The Biggest Challenge: Content

Oftentimes, the biggest challenge with designing and building a new site lies in the content. If the site already exists, repurposing the content brings its own challenge: what do you keep, and what do you leave out?

Performing the site audit with the client will help you determine what content should be included in the new site, and what should be left behind. Once you have the user profiles classified, the narrative and flow of the content is easier to pull together, too.

Defining the User Experience

UX design is mainly focused on the usability of the website. It’s determined by the needs, behaviors, and personalities of users to help them accomplish a specific goal on a website.

For repeat guest at the fishing lodge, for example, they’ll want to get to the booking page as quickly as possible since they’re logging in with the intent to book right away. It’s important that the booking page, then, is easily accessible and takes as few clicks as possible to get there.

A good user experience takes the user’s needs and behavior into account. They don’t have to thoroughly search the site for what they need; it’s one or two clicks away.

Next Steps

After you’ve established the user profiles and needs, as well as the content, you can start to develop the site map and wireframes, and hone in on the final design of the new website.

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