User Research

How a UX Audit can improve the Website’s user experience?

The goal of user experience (UX) design is to meet the needs of users by improving the accessibility, usability, and user interaction with a product or service. Learn more about why UX is important and the factors that define it.


A clear customer journey converts visitors into potential customers. A user experience (UX) audit ensures that a website is free from potential issues that may hinder a user’s experience.


Website recommendations are data-driven: The recommendations are developed based on research and analysis, and it is free from assumptions.

Identifies and improves success metrics: A UX audit defines a website’s success metrics which require monitoring. Knowing beforehand would ensure that your website’s improvements are focused and steady.

Relevant to users: The recommendations address the importance of improvements. It can eliminate current user pain points and focuses on users’ goals and expectations.

Builds brand loyalty: Improving marketing tactics, proper website branding, and how the value proposition should be placed are all examples of building brand loyalty.

Include the latest trends and best UX practices: The UX audit should include recommendations based on the latest trends and UX best practices.

Eliminates distractions: Recommendations are not assumptions or hints in including unnecessary features required on a website. Recommendations focus on legitimate suggestions, either including or removing existing features on a website.

Usability and accessibility: Ensure that your website is up-to-date with the usability and accessibility standards.

Find insights from other areas other than the website: UX audits also analyze competitors, social media, and even online presence. These insights can help develop a new strategy to improve the user experience and additional areas where required.


The UX audit helps with understanding how users think and interact with a website.  A successful UX audit primarily focuses on research, analysis, and data-driven recommendations that improve the identified UX issues.


Understanding the Business

The UX audit begins with an understanding of the business’s goals that can be achieved from the website. Users should understand through the website what is the brand’s value proposition and how they define customer loyalty. A stakeholder interview would be an essential research method to gather this data. Learn more about the ROI of user experience.

Collecting Analytical Data

The next step is to gather analytical data on the website. Collecting analytical data from a website helps us understand user behavior and motivations. This will help in revealing potential issues that may require improvements. These issues are later validated in the user research phase.

There are many tools that are available that can be used to gather data from the website. Analytical research collects quantitative data on user flows, bounce rate, conversion rate, and much more. The data is then represented in numbers and quantities.

Hotjar – Visual indicators through click and scrolling interactions on heatmaps help with understanding the users’ motivations and desires.

Establishing Success Metrics

Based on the data collected and the business’s goals, the next step is to establish metrics that need to be monitored.  Improving these metrics can improve the user experience, as these are developed based on solid facts.

Establishing Success Metrics


Conducting User Research

Understanding users’ from their perspective helps in driving design decisions. Analytical data focuses on users’ interactions, but it does not provide information about their decision-making processes, needs, and concerns. To do gather this information, conducting user research is the next step in the UX audit. Personas, customer journey mapping, and empathy mapping are created to drive design decisions by understanding users’ characteristics, needs, goals, and capabilities.

Personas represent the needs and desires of the segment(s) within a targeted audience of a website.

Customer journey maps highlight customers’ interactions before, during, and after with a website. It provides in-depth visualization of how a customer accomplishes the goal. The customer journey will also help in establishing pain points and desires they come across during their journey.

Empathy mapping sums up the customers’ mindset and emotions before, during, and after their journey when accomplishing their goal. Helps with empathizing with their needs and concerns.

Users’ pain points are identified to understand what stops or discourages users from achieving their goals.

User testings validate the identified pain points, along with additional UX issues found within the website. User testings reveal if users understand what to do and where users are struggling when completing a task (goal).

User testings


The goal of this phase is to determine where and why the UX issues exist. This means which part of the website requires improvements and if the website adheres to the UX best practices and principles. The analysis phase is essential for the UX audit as it supports the reasoning behind the recommendations being provided. Additional areas that a UX audit may analyze include:

Competitors analysis can help create a strategy to compete against competitors by understanding their strengths, weaknesses, marketing strategies, and barriers.

Online presence determines how the website is viewed when users search online. It identifies the areas that require attention. A strategy can later be developed to improve the effectiveness of the online presence.

Generating Data-Driven Recommendations

Actionable recommendations are created to improve the UX issues identified in the analysis phase. This will help in improving the success metrics that were established for the website.

Examples are provided for the recommendations, to illustrate a point. Recommendations are prioritized based on their impact and severity, in a checklist format. Best UX practices and principles are included in the UX report. The UX practices will be provided that are best suited for a specific business.

Want to learn more about Customer Personas?
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What’s Next

Idea Theorem™ is a Toronto-based UI UX Agency. We create simple and usable products for web and mobile. Our human-centered design approach lets us understand your customers, identify their pain points & deliver solutions that enhance their experience with your brand. Contact Us if you have any questions and we will be happy to help you.


Why Companies Like Claire’s and Toys ‘R’ Us Are Dying?

With recent news of Claire’s filing for bankruptcy, it makes people wonder where the big giant brick and mortar retailers are heading? Apart from Claire’s and Toys ‘R’ Us, even Macy’s and Gymboree have also become the latest victim of the retail apocalypse by filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Let us take a look at Claire’s and Toys ‘R’ Us for example, these companies have been an essential part of your growing up years for decades. Claire’s has been a staple of every mall, it has been every teenage girl’s go-to store and Toys ‘R’ Us is a store where every kid, new and to-be moms go for shopping for toys. What happened to them? They acquired huge debts which they are still paying. Both of the companies went private due to which they acquired huge debts. Both companies tried to shed off the heavy load of debt but were unsuccessful.

Another reason is Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, IndiaMart and advent of ecommerce and social media marketing. The Internet has made us change how we buy, explore, research. With Jeff Bezos founding Amazon in 1994, the world changed. How customers buy products drastically shifted. Nowadays people do not want to leave their cozy homes to shop when everything is delivered to their doorsteps.

The Truth about Online Consumer (KPMG 2017)
The Truth about Online Consumer (KPMG 2017)

Although the dot-com collapse in 2000 led to many of ecommerce companies disappearing (even Amazon had a hard time before recovering from the loss in 2003), the brick and mortar retailers recognized the advantages of ecommerce and began to add shopping carts to their websites. Walmart, Target are really good examples of how they have retained their position as big retailer giants not only through retail shops but also through selling goods online.

[qodef_blockquote text=”67% of Millennials prefer to shop online rather than in-store ” title_tag=”h5″ width=”100″]

But there are still many more who are still slow to adapt. Toys ‘R’ Us is one such example, where ecommerce website was revamped in 2017 in hopes of catching up on 10 years of innovation. Toys R Us CEO David Brandon says:

[qodef_blockquote text=”Some organizations recognize faster than others there are shifts in the ways customers want to be communicated with and the way customers want to purchase products. It probably took us a while.” title_tag=”h5″ width=””]

Also, there are some retailers who have still heavily relied on third-party ecommerce stores to sell their product. All of the startups these days start their venture through online shops as it is an easy and economical way to set up your business. Always follow the best practices of ecommerce and it will help you gain more customers.

Benefits of ecommerce websites

  1. Business gets wide exposure through ecommerce website
  2. Round the clock service
  3. Global customers
  4. Easy to manage
  5. Scalable

[qodef_blockquote text=”There are now 3.74 billion Internet users in the world as at March 2017. This is compared to 3.26 billion Internet users in 2016.” title_tag=”h5″ width=”100″]

Another thing big retailers miss out is social media marketing. Social media has become indispensable in our lives, people often check their social media. The social media frenzy isn’t going to end anytime soon and sooner the retailers accept that, the better it is for them.

[qodef_blockquote text=”Social media and messaging accounts for roughly 1 in every 3 minutes users spend on the internet.” title_tag=”h5″ width=”100″]

Retailers have to keep their customers engaged. Having a social media presence without a marketing strategy could be damaging to the business. You need to know your target customers, do all the research you could about the customers or even get an audit done before venturing out in the social media.

Benefits of social media marketing

  1. Brand awareness
  2. Increase traffic to your website
  3. Reach more people
  4. High conversion rate
  5. Increase brand loyalty

Retailers (especially brick and mortar ones who have been in the market for decades) need to keep updating themselves and adapt to new technologies quickly. The further they delay, the harder it will be for them to adapt to a newly emerged business, which will quickly take it over from them without knowing what hit them. There are many stores like Sears, Macy’s, BCBG Maz Azzaria not able to retain their customers but other stores like Walmart, Target, Ikea, Simons have been able to adapt to the new technologies.

What Next

Idea Theorem has recently launched UX Audit services for you to understand where you are missing pieces to gain more user base.

Idea Theorem is Toronto based digital agency which creates simple and usable products for web and mobile. Our human-centered design approach lets us understand your customers, identify their pain points & deliver solutions that enhance their experience with your brand. Contact Us if you have any questions and we will be happy to help you.

Web Design

Best UX Practices For Your eCommerce Website Design

What is eCommerce?

ECommerce has become an important part of the economy. Statista anticipates a 246.15% increase in worldwide eCommerce sales from $1.3 trillion in 2014 to $4.5 trillion in 2021. There are massive opportunities for global eCommerce that are too good to ignore. Every product-based startup starts its career from online stores as it is easy to set up. And these days, every brick and mortar store needs to have an eCommerce store to sell their product online.

Companies that are 100 years old have been forced to move into the eCommerce spcae to sell their products as users are becoming indifferent to the physical shopping experience. The only problem with the online store is that customers are not able to touch and feel the product. That is why the following eCommerce website design best practices have become an integral part to keep users happy.

Why Should Owners Care About eCommerce and UX

First of all, a lot of owners don’t know the meaning of UX and its importance. Many people confuse UX with how pretty the design looks but there is much more to the design than that, for example creating an opportunity for customer retainability. A lot of eCommerce store owners do NOT know their target audience which will take you nowhere. Doing user research and creating personas for your eCommerce website will help you find the right target audience.

Creating a good experience on your online store has become an important part to retain your customers. Thousands of dollars are spent on digital marketing, yet UX goes unnoticed by most store owners. Bad UX will affect your revenue, current customers, and potential customers. UX design is an important part of an eCommerce store. Good eCommerce UX can lead to:

  1. Increased conversion rate
  2. Reduced customer support
  3. Increased customer loyalty
  4. Increased referrals

While designing user experience for an eCommerce site, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Does the page load fast?
  2. Are Call to Actions (CTAs) labeled properly and clearly defined?
  3. Is the store easily navigable?
  4. Is the text clear and concise?
  5. Is the store accessible?
  6. Is the store responsive and adaptable on different devices?
  7. Is the search form working?

According to Baymard Institute, the average cart abandonment rate is 69.23%. There are many reasons for cart abandonment, for example, many users will be window shopping, price comparison, comparing different products, and many more. These are natural and unavoidable cart abandonments. But there are other reasons that it can occur, like:

  1. Site forcing them to create an account
  2. Too long process to checkout
  3. Total cost not shown up-front
  4. Website had errors
  5. Customers did not trust the website with their credit cards
  6. The extra costs are too high

If the UX is bad, customers will not hesitate to leave the site and shop somewhere else.

Best Practices For Your eCommerce Website Design

The functionality of the store is of utmost priority

Don’t add any functionality to make the website just look pretty or fancy. The core functionality of the website should be just SALES. If you add more functionality than required, you can make the website slower. Customers’ time is valuable and they will not wait for the website to keep loading. The slower the page load time, the lower the conversion rate. Look at Amazon, it’s website is not fancy or beautiful but gets the job done. Users come, they buy and they leave. Some of the “fancy” functionality could be:

  1. Parallax Scrolling
  2. Full page image or video
  3. Any new type of navigation
  4. Animation at every step

UX design does not mean continuously adding new design elements or functionality, instead focus on keeping users happy and the website functional. UX’s main goal should be to help customers get what they came for.

Make the text readable

The text on the website should be clear and concise. People will not read through long paragraphs of text, they don’t have time for that. Keep it short and use bullet points wherever possible. Make sure the text is readable and the text size is large enough for people to read without straining their eyes. Make your products easy to find for your customers. Have a clear indication of the product description for customers to search. Understand how your customers read (scan) your website.

In user experience design, the copy comes first. Copy tends to get overlooked on eCommerce sites, especially on the product page with the product description.

Make the product page simple

Even though eCommerce is a fast-growing market, people still prefer to shop at real-world store as they can look and feel the product before buying. To make customers comfortable while buying a product online store owners should have high-quality images from every angle for the user to see as well as zoom features so that users can make an informed decision. Videos help too!

Make the product page simple with relevant information in an organized manner – have all the features listed out for users to quickly scan.

Idea Theorem- Best Practices For Your eCommerce Website Design
Zara’s has high-quality images to make customers see what they are buying

Make navigation simple

Make navigation simple and intuitive for the customers to use.

  1. Label the menu items with familiar words, not some creative words where users have to think twice
  2. Have basic elements like a shopping basket, where users expect it to be (on the top right corner of the website)
  3. Use breadcrumbs to let customers know where they are
  4. Have a search bar on every page of the website
Idea Theorem- Best Practices For Your eCommerce Website Design
Amazon’s breadcrumb navigation to help customers pinpoint their location in the mega website

Offer assistance to your customer through chatbots and phone

With chatbots becoming an integral part of websites, store owners can use them to offer virtual assistance to their customers. They can provide guidance while customers are choosing their products. It gives a more personalized experience for the customers.

Idea Theorem- Best Practices For Your eCommerce Website Design
American Eagle’s ChatBot

Hassle-free checkout process

Have a hassle-free checkout for your customers. Don’t force them to get an account created, there is a high possibility that they will abandon the checkout process. Keep the checkout process simple by minimizing the number of steps to make a purchase. Have the total cost of the purchase including shipping and tax before they start with the checkout. This will make the customers trust your website.

Trust Factor

There should be enough trust created by the store owners that the customers will be ready to give their credit card numbers.

Mobile eCommerce

According to Baymard Institute, 78% of mobile eCommerce sites perform poorly when reviewing the combined mobile product finding experience: that is primarily the mobile homepage, category navigation, and on-site search experience. If your website looks awesome on the desktop does not mean that it will be user-friendly on mobile phones. The website has to be fluid and adaptable to different screen sizes.

How You Can Spot UX Problems On Your Website

There are many ways you can spot UX issues on your website. Many eCommerce store owners do not want to get UX research done as they feel that it is expensive. But the money spent on getting a UX audit will help spot the issue and hence increase the conversion rates.

There are many ways to spot the issues:

  1. Heats Maps/Scroll Maps
  2. A/B Testing
  3. Analytics
  4. Session Videos
  5. Click Rate

Even small changes in the website can help increase your conversion rates. Or there could be other reasons which may require you to redesign your website. The above eCommerce website design best practices will help store owners gain more traction and conversion rates.

Are you Ready for a UX Audit?
Get Started Here>>

What’s Next

Idea Theorem™ is a Toronto-based UI UX Agency. We create simple and usable products for web and mobile. Our human-centered design approach lets us understand your customers, identify their pain points & deliver solutions that enhance their experience with your brand. Contact Us if you have any questions and we will be happy to help you.

User Experience

An Effective Guide to UX Audit

What is UX Audit?

When users come to your website or app, they interact with your product and at one point they just drop-off without you even knowing why. UX Audit surveys the competition, seeing what, how and why the users are interacting with your product. UX audit does intensive user research and then presents the data and recommendations. The data will show why the conversion rate is low, why cart abandonment rate is high, why no sign-ups and many more issues related to user experience. It will give tips to improve your product’s user problems based on insights. It could also propose design changes through low-fidelity mocks and graphics.

UX audit helps create empathy with your customers, with that you will understand how your customers think and why and how they are using your product.

Who should get UX Audit done?

Anyone who has a product could get a UX audit done. The audit is much more beneficial after completing a UX assessment, as it will tell you where you need to focus the audit the most. Company’s who don’t have a UX team can take full advantage of UX audit.

But even if you DO have an excellent and diverse team of designers and developers, getting the third party audit will give you a fresh perspective and it will also save time and money for the company. Also, if you feel you have a great product and everything is going great for you,  get someone from outside to do the analysis (Check out recent UX Analysis on Grammarly Product). This will help in viewing the product from other angles which you might have taken for granted.

Also, if you do not have a clear understanding of your audience and say that your target audience is everyone. Then definitely, a UX audit can help your product.

What do you need to get UX audit done?

Through UX assessment you will figure out what exactly you are auditing. It could be elements like buttons, search or a certain flow of a website or an app. To start the audit we also need to make sure that you have the following:


A diverse team of designers, strategists, developers, product owners need to be part of the audit.


Have clearly defined goals. UX assessment will help you gain the goals for UX audit. The goals, for example, could be to increase the number of sign-ups or increase the revenue through your digital product.

Target Customers

Before the UX audit, you should have a clear understanding of your current and target customers. Is the audit for B2B or B2C product? On that basis, you will be able to learn more about the business and its competition. Understanding best practices, latest trends by industry, demographic, devices they use will create empathy towards the customers. These small things can help you get a better perspective of what users think about your product.


Have a well-planned timeline with set milestones and deliverables to complete your audit.


Have a set budget for UX audit. The budget will depend on who you will hire and how much in-depth you want to go for the audit.

How is UX audit done?

A detailed analysis of your product is done to identify strengths and weakness. The UX audit team collects studies and analyzes user interactions through user research methods. Few of the methods which can be used are:

  1. Qualitative Methods
  2. Quantitative Methods
  3. Heat-mapping
  4. Scroll map
  5. Eye Tracking
  6. Interviews

You can check other methods here.

What to do while conduction UX Audit

  1. Make sure to record the interactions between the user and the product. Take a lot of screenshots and organize them by product names and screens. Review everything that has been captured.
  2. Looks for patterns when using heat maps and scroll maps to analyze the commonalities among the screens. These patterns can help you find familiar conventions that users are comfortable with. Patterns such as
    • Repetitions
    • Trends in data going up and down
    • Recurring series of data
    • Clustering of data
    • Data showing gaps
    • Data in sequential patterns 
    • Exponential growth
    • Diminishing returns
    • Feedback systems
  3. Put everything in a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet is your best friend during the UX audit. Everything during the audit should be tracked on the worksheet including the metrics, ideas, timelines.

What can you expect from UX Audit?

UX audit should be incorporated as a non-bias opinion of the product. It will provide a lot of information for designers, stakeholders and developers to make the right changes. After collecting all the data and insights, a hypothesis will be developed with the key users in mind. Your recommendations should be real, tangible and that delivers business results within the budget of the project, it shouldn’t be some great and fancy ideas which can not be incorporated into the company. Write the results which everyone can understand not just usability jargon which only UX designers can understand. Show the data metrics in a language which stakeholders can understand and empathize the positive aspect of the product, not just the bad points. Let the stakeholders know how these changes can help increase the ROI of the product in their language.

What Next

Idea Theorem is Toronto based UI UX agency. We create simple and usable products for web and mobile. Our human-centered design approach lets us understand your customers, identify their pain points & deliver solutions that enhance their experience with your brand. Contact Us if you have any questions and we will be happy to help you.

User Experience

UX Analysis of Grammarly

Grammarly is an awesome application which makes it really easy to help you sound professional and grammatically correct when it comes to writing emails, term papers and articles. Grammarly product has 2 major offerings:

1) Browser Extension (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge)  – this is very useful as the extension works no matter which application you are working on in the browser.

2) Grammarly Editor is a web app or it can also be downloaded as an application on your desktop.

In this article, we will talk about what we can learn from Grammarly’s seamless user experience and what can be improved to gain more user base through few changes from UX standpoint.

Idea Theorem Grammarly UX Analysis
Grammarly Website


For the browser extension, the user can start using Grammarly without even signing up which is awesome. This way the user can use the product without any friction of giving out any personal information or hassles of signing-up reminds us of the guest check for many e-commerce stores these days. Guest Checkout feature has definitely helped e-commerce stores drive more sales, similar might the case with Grammarly as it might be helping them grow their user base very quickly. Once you get comfortable using Grammarly and it has built the trust with you, it does hold back key features and makes it available only once you are ready to sign up for free with them.

Idea Theorem Grammarly UX Analysis
Grammarly Browser Extension Before Signing In

Once you sign up then you will have key features such as enable/disable on preferred websites and show definitions/synonyms. When logged in, the user can check the synonym of a specific word by double-clicking on it on the browser, then a small pop-up will appear over the word. These features are simple toggle off – on, so in case it bothers you then you can switch those features off.

Another unique aspect of the chrome extension is when you click on it – it doesn’t just say go buy the premium plan instead it lists the number of critical mistakes you have made since you started using Grammarly. This is definitely is a great way of showing what you have been missing out by not buying the premium plan and leveraging data effectively.  The best part of Grammarly extension continues to remain is its ability to check grammar and spelling especially when you are writing an email or writing a post on the social network. The browser extension so far does not work in Google Docs which is kinda bummer.

Idea Theorem Grammarly UX Analysis
Grammarly Browser Extension Before Signing In
Idea Theorem Grammarly UX Analysis
Spell Check through Grammarly Browser Extension



For Grammarly Editor, there is not much onboarding. There is just one simple screen asking for login credentials. It has clear indication to login through social media or email. The CTAs are clearly visible.

Idea Theorem Grammarly UX Analysis
Onboarding: Grammarly Log In

What they are missing

Frankly, I didn’t identify any usability problems with onboarding. Everything works as expected. Although, I feel that there should be onboarding slideshow to explain to the first time users what they will get in the app.


It has a good look and feel. It is easy to use on different apps. The desktop and web app looks pretty much the same. The menu options are on the left side and the list of documents along with the search bar is on the right. Grammarly team has listed the documents in the “card style” with a little preview of the document as well as the number of errors written on it (written in a big red font). When the user hovers over the card, trash and export icon appears. Overall, the design is simple with high contrast between the menu and the list of documents with red as their accent color.

What they are missing

  • The documents should have tags (maybe just 1 tag) for easy search of documents. Especially, if you have more than 30 documents.
  • There should be sorting options on the home screen so that the user can sort by date or tags.
  • When the user clicks on premium option in the menu in the web app, the user is directed to the payment options screen. There is no clear indication of how the user can go back. The logo which usually acts as the home button does not do anything here and there is also no back button. It just makes the user feel more intimidated to buy the Grammarly plan. It could be part of their strategy to discourage the user to go back 🙂 
Idea Theorem Grammarly UX Analysis
Grammarly Homescreen


The core functionality is that the user could use the Grammarly Editor by creating a new document or by importing a docx, Openoffice, TXT or an RTF file. When the user goes into editing documents, it is simple. The fonts are big enough to read with a clean and white background. The side menu is collapsed when the user hovers over the menu options, it shows up more options for each menu options. The critical issues are underlined in red which is easy to see and clearly marks where the error is. Grammarly’s correct suggestions are shown on the right side of the editor. There are no delete and export icons on the editor screen.

What they are missing

  • The ability to format text (such as bold, italic, adding heading). I know, I know that Grammarly’s main focus is to check grammar but when you copy text or import the document, it losses all the formatting. Which kinda sucks when the users have to format it again.
  • There should be a dictionary available when the user selects the word.
  • The advanced issues should at least be highlighted even in the free version so that the users could prioritize to fix those issues.
Idea Theorem Grammarly UX Analysis
Grammarly Editor
Idea Theorem Grammarly UX Analysis
Grammarly Pricing Plan


Idea Theorem Grammarly UX Analysis
Grammarly Editor with Side Menu Hover Option


Grammarly delivers a compact but effective user experience. It is optimized to do just one thing- that is to check the grammar and the spellings. Most of the features (I would say 99% of the total features) are premium with pricing starting from $29/month. It is too expensive for students, new writers, startups. They should have a trial version or reduce the number of premium features and make few of them free. Or simply have 2-3 pricing plans to gain more users.

[optin-monster-shortcode id=”sqamnyidj36wnssvnabg”]

Idea Theorem is Toronto based digital agency which creates simple and usable products for web and mobile. Our human-centered design approach lets us understand your customers, identify their pain points & deliver solutions that enhance their experience with your brand. Contact Us if you are interested to get your product UX assessed.