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How to do a 30-minute website evaluation

Posted by Clare Dodd
Picture of Clare Dodd
on 16 October 2012
Writing Websites

Make it personal. Reviewing a site and undertaking website optimisation starts with instinct. Are you smiling when you look at the homepage? Are you compelled to click on? Focus on your immediate reaction and then go on to ask how and why.

Start at the beginning

  • What is your first impression of the homepage?
  • What are your eyes drawn to?
  • What have you found out so far?

Think about text size, font and colours. Break down the key information that you retained, and consider if any content was extraneous. Look at the layout and question if you were drawn to the points that were actually the most useful.

The meaty middle

  • Do you understand what the product does or idea is?
  • Are your questions answered?
  • Can you get back to where you started?

Copy should be clear, concise and exciting. Images should aid explanation so watch for any unnecessary distractions. Layout and navigation should be intuitive so find where your thoughts were interrupted by having to work the site rather than learn from it.

The plot twist – competitor websites

  • What works?
  • Are they doing something better than you?
  • Are you doing something better than them?

Don’t spend long on this, just concentrate on what stands out, good and bad. Comparison puts your site into perspective and seeing how another site works can help you understand why something jarred or felt out of place on your own site.

Tie up the loose ends

Finally go back to your site and note all typos and grammar mistakes, jot down any erroneous uses of language and watch out for inconsistencies in branding or message. Running through the site a second time also alters the impact of any problems and helps to narrow down the worst offenders.

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See also: website optimisation

Related service: Websites