What are the pros?
- They take little time
- Great breadth of analysis
- Serves as a starting point
- Insights based on experience
What are the cons?
- One person's opinion
- Problems, not yet solutions
What data will be analyzed?
During an expert review (also known as a heuristic evaluation) we will look at several factors that influence how well a page converts. All important pages and page groups (as determined via web analytics and user testing) will be analyzed in this process.
How relevant is the page? In this part of the expert review, we'll look at the match between the landing page and what was shown on the referring page. This includes pages like Google Ads, an organic search result page, a link in an article, a banner, etc.
Questions related to relevance
- Is the promise that was made on the ad also present on the page?
- Do breadcrumbs show on the page to remind visitors of the information hierarchy?
- Are pages optimized for relevant segments?
How clear is the interface of the landing page? This factor of the analysis deals mostly with graphical aspects of the page, which can later be verified using a visual design review.
Questions related to clarity
- Is enough white-space used in the design of the page?
- Does the page have a proper amount of contrast between text and background?
- Was the primary Call-To-Action button styled distinctly?
What value does the page offer? After all, if the page doesn't seem to offer an appropriate amount of value to a visitor, he or she will leave no matter how well the other aspects are handled.
Questions related to value
- Does your page clearly state what value it offers to its prospects?
- Is the page mentioning benefits and not features?
- Does the page show the product in use?
Which distractions are present on the page? By eliminating as many unnecessary distractions as possible, more visitors will take the desired action on the page and proceed to the next conversion step.
Questions related to distraction
- Are any sliders or other moving elements present on the page?
- Does the page show a multitude of sharing buttons?
- Is the full design still visible during the checkout phase?
What elements are causing friction? These are aspects that not only distract visitors on the landing page but actively hinder them from going forward in the conversion funnel.
Questions related to friction
- Are any unnecessary form fields present?
- Does the page provide a dedicated experience for mobile devices?
- Is the website loading slow?
How effective will this be?
Other research methods
While you can be sure an expert usability review will highlight plenty of problems, it doesn't verify if these problems indeed exist for visitors.
Using multiple conversion research methods
Therefore, if only the experience of the expert is trusted, a lot of valuable information that is needed to improve a page will be lost. If, on the other hand, the expert review is combined with techniques such as user testing, a technical audit or mouse tracking, then the findings from the review can be validated in the real world.
Including the team
By allowing other members of the organization to provide input for the expert review, the effectiveness increases. For instance, this would allow customer service specialists to provide input on which are perceived pain points on the website. Additionally, it would also enable the social media team to relay information that they have on the level of friction visitors from social media platform experience. Of course, it goes without saying how much value managers and subject matter experts can provide for a review of the website.
Which findings will it deliver?
✓ Learn what aspects of your pages are lacking
The expert review of the page will clearly (both in words and visuals) show which aspects of what pages are lacking. For instance, if your product page is performing well in most aspects but is showing a large number of distractions, it makes sense to focus on those first.
✓ Learn which pages on the website are the weakest
By discovering which pages have the most problems, you can determine where the conversion research should focus on most. This in turn will allow you to determine on which pages the optimization efforts will be the most effective.
Can't I just do this myself?
The power of an expert review lies (as the name suggests) in the level of expertise that the reviewer has. Such expertise is built up in years of experience doing website reviews, reading industry blogs, and knowing how the technology behind a website works in detail.
Less effective results
While it is most certainly possible to perform an expert review on your own (or have your web developer / marketing manager) do one, the results will be far less effective.