Auditing usability in your Magento site

Magento is one of the most powerful and robust eCommerce platforms available. It provides solutions for any product you can imagine, from highly complex product bundles, to digital download products and online training and event ticket sales. Any product under the sun can be configured and sold through Magento. But despite its power, your Magento store can succumb to the ubiquitous pitfalls of any online store: low conversion rates, high bounce rates, abandoned carts, and frustrated users.

Watermelon Web Works assists many of our Magento clients to not only develop this powerful system, but to improve the user experience to reduce and remove these obstacles wherever possible. The answer for better user experience and store performance boils down to improving usability.

Your competition is going through the same issues you are. The key is not simply to follow a set of guidelines and hope for the best, but completing a serious audit of your online store that fits your unique brand and product line, and ultimately your unique customer base. There is no catch all solution, so you need to read between the lines and discover the solutions that make sense for your business, your customers, and your business strategy.

Auditing Magento to Suit your Brand

The first part of any deep analysis is to start with a typical best practices analysis. This is just the beginning, where we set the barometer for the deep dive into your unique customer base. There are many online resources that define what these best practices are, and once these basics are identified, you can go further with specific analysis. These best practices include reviewing some of the obvious portions of your site.

Navigation Best Practices

  • Is your navigation clearly defined to let your customers access your entire catalog?
  • Are your categories clearly defined?
  • Is the navigation mobile responsive for any device?
  • Are all pages displaying breadcrumbs to inform the user of where they are in the catalog?

Home Page Best Practices

  • Is your homepage being utilized to engage your audience?
  • Are they presented with a plethora of options to start finding what they are looking for?
  • Are your promotions front and center to entice your customers to get excited about shopping with you?

Design and Branding Best Practices

  • Is your site design attractive and styled with your brand fonts and colors?
  • Are there any portions of the site where font sizes are difficult to read?
  • Are your products presented with their attributes clearly defined and displayed?
  • Are the right attributes being displayed to get a good ‘at a glance’ view of a product or product set?

Shopping Cart Best Practices

  • Is it easy to find your shopping cart when you are ready to purchase?
  • Is it easy to see what you have in your cart from any page on the site?
  • Is the shopping cart button your brightest call to action?

Customer Trust Best Practices

  • Is your site displaying all the necessary information to build trust?
  • Is your site security clearly displayed where appropriate?
  • Is it easy to see reviews and customer testimonials to build trust from your own customer base?
  • Is it easy for your customers to contact you with questions or concerns?

For more reading, check out Spyre Studios’ usability article for even more tips.

Diving Deeper

The best practices outlined above are just the starting point for your usability audit. They cannot be ignored, but you can’t stop there. To really improve your usability, you need to fully¬†understand the psychology of your customer base.

Using tools like Google Analytics to analyze who your users are, what pages they access the most, and where they are accessing the site from is essential, but not enough. We need to know why they act the way they do. Here is where we deploy more advanced tools to get a better picture.


Heatmaps are utilized to assist with conversion improvements. What areas of the site are users clicking on? With hundreds or even thousands of visitors providing heatmap data, this can uncover flaws with page designs and navigation functions that may not be immediately obvious. Why does one button get twice as much user actions than another? This information can provide insights into your customer base that is completely unique to your site. HotJar is a great tool for this type of data.


Click analysis, or clickstreams, can show you the mind of your users from a search term and referral source point of view. How are your customers finding you, and what search terms bring them to the door? This analysis can uncover how your customers think, and provide you with answers to why your site may be performing differently than you would expect. Referral sources can deepen this understanding by showing you where your customers engage with other online resources, providing you with the opportunity to strengthen your content to suit what they hope to find when they arrive. Opentracker is a great tool for clickstream data.

User Testing

Since we are utilizing the power of Magento, we can include a host of Magento extensions for this deeper analysis. A/B testing extensions can let you easily set up product views that display different attributes and product groups for different users, so you can act accordingly. FAQs and product question extensions can give your customers a chance to create dialogs with you and other customers to further reveal how they perceive your site and your offerings. Geolocation redirect extensions can provide methods to drive complex user bases to specialized views of your site, customized to deliver information at a local level. Amasty is one of our favorite plugin developers for these analysis and user engagement tools.

Surveys and Feedback

Surveys and feedback polls can be presented unobtrusively for further engagement with your user base. The greatest benefit with these extensions is that the information you receive is elective, and honest feedback is essential when you are analyzing your customers expectations.

Conversion Tracking

Conversion funnels will provide you with data that shows where your users bottleneck on a site. If they get hung up during their visit, the will likely abandon carts and your bounce rates will be high. Targeted improvements can then be made to alleviate these obstructions that may not be immediately apparent. Hundreds or thousands of users can reveal obscure paths that you could not anticipate otherwise.

Add it Up

Armed with data from all of these deep analysis tools can lessen the challenge of usability improvements. Analyzing this data as a whole can make it much easier to develop site improvements on a granular level. Confusion is the killer here, and targeted goals based on issues revealed in your site audit can reduce pain points for updating your content, and give your developers clear goals for site updates, template improvements, and catalog structure. It’s not enough to follow best practices. We need to know the ‘why’ questions, and your customers are the best possible source for these answers. Give them and yourself the tools you need to keep your customers excited to do business with you. If you are ready to perform this type of analysis for your own Magento site, please learn more about our Magento Maintenance plans.

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