Heuristic Analysis : Evaluate Landing Pages Like a PROLast Updated: February 12, 2020
If you are wondering what heuristic analysis is and if you also want to know how can use it to increase your conversion rate, then this guide is going to be very useful.
One thing that I truly love about conversion rate optimisation is that it’s systematic process.
It’s not jumping around throwing stuff at a wall and seeing what sticks. Instead, it’s a thought out process that doesn’t take anything as a certainty unless it’s backed up with data.
Part of that process is our Heuristic Analysis.
What Is Heuristic Analysis?
Heuristic analysis in the context of CRO is an expert evaluation of a website or landing page to attempt to discover usability issues which may be negatively affecting the conversion rate.
They can offer guidance from experts in key areas that are influential in the performance of a websites conversions.
Who Uses Them?
Any conversion optimizer worth their salt will perform heuristic analysis as part of their CRO program.
One other ‘type’ of website that can find this type of research beneficial is a low-traffic one.
Websites with low traffic and/or little budget have a hard time trying to attempt to find opportunities to increase their conversion rate.
Other types of research like Qualitative and Quantitative require money or traffic in order use them. So instead of performing an expert walkthrough with a predefined set of guidelines, website owners can hopefully uncover some issues that can be used to optimize their website.
What They Don’t Do
These will not very often provide clear-cut opportunities.
Instead they will usually highlight weak areas that will require further investigation.
That’s why when any sort of walkthrough is taking place, it’s best to have Google Analytics open in another window to see if you can find any data that could potentially backup your theories.
Oh and one more thing.
If you’re the one doing the evaluation and it’s your website, you’re going to be biased. Don’t worry, you can’t help it – it’s human nature. Just bear this in mind when you are giving your expert ‘opinion’ on something.
The PRICE Framework
Because this is a big part of what we do, we needed a way that we could perform heuristic analysis in a repeatable way that provided maximum results.
So we created the PRICE Framework.
This is our way of evaluating a webpage based on the key criteria that we’re looking for.
The acronym stands for :
We will conduct a complete walkthrough of the site we working on with in all of the main browsers and devices.
We’ll be completing conversion goals and ‘acting’ as though we are a real user.
We may also find some cross-browser or technical issues at the same time that can be addressed and help us make early wins.
Anything that we find will be documented and followed up with later with Google Analytics open.
Let’s go into a big more detail about each of the different stages.
Any web page should have one primary purpose. Whether that’s to complete a form or read your case studies, each page should have one goal for the user to complete.
The more persuasive the page is, the more likely the user is to complete the desired goal.
There should always be copy that contains clear benefits to the user as well as clear reasons why the user should take the desired action.
The first question that people ask themselves when they arrive on a landing page is “Am I in the right place?”
And if they don’t think they are, they’re not hanging around.
Relevancy is a feeling and is usually decided within 50 milliseconds. So you can consider this an extremely important factor in whether a user is going to bounce or not.
Here’s an example where there is a clear relevancy issue :
Ad Copy :
Landing Page :
Straight away we can see that there’s a major disconnect between what the user is expecting to see when they arrive.
Even though this company does provide the service the user is looking for, unfortunately this isn’t been communicated well-enough.
To be as accurate as possible, you need to start with the way the user arrives on your website.
Whether that’s from Google Ads, Facebook Ads or an Organic listing. You need to be able to see the whole picture before you begin to discuss how relevant a page is.
Next up, we have interference.
Landing pages should have one conversion goal. Anything that is on your landing page should assist in making more people complete this goal.
If it doesn’t, then it is potentially interfering with the purpose of the page and it needs to be removed.
Here’s an example from Insightly :
On this landing page we have 2 different calls to action, one live chat prompt, a large header banner sending users to a blog post.
Anything other than Requesting a Demo or Trialling The Software is interfering with the pages conversion goal.
If you showed the landing page to 20 people for 5 seconds and asked them what your page was about, would they all have a similar answer?
Would they be able to understand clearly :
- What your business sells?
- What you’re asking them to do?
- What makes you different from your competition?
If the answer is no, then your landing page potentially has comprehension issues.
If users can’t easily understand your business, they are going to find it even more difficult to become a customer.
This applies to all of the key pages of your website or elements of your landing page. Anything which contributing towards making a user a customer needs to be able to be understood.
The final item in our PRICE framework is Efficiency. What this is evaluating is how efficient your website is at allowing the user complete the desired action as easy as possible.
Is there anything preventing a user from taking the next step?
This could be anything from lengthy forms to long checkout processes. Or not enough information to poor UX.
Here’s an example of a usability issue that we found on one of our clients websites.
Unfortunately the live chat was blocking the accept button. Which unfortunately was blocking the form submit button.
Finding issues like this will usually have an instant positive improvement on your conversion rate. But to find them, you have to have an attention to detail as they could be easily missed!
And there you have it, our simple 5 step framework for performing heuristic analysis.
I hope you have gained an insight into how we evaluate websites and landing pages we’re working on!
Please feel free reach out with any comments or questions.
Thanks for reading!