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Website UX audit

Client Swimming association De Dolfijn (Amsterdam, NL)
Assignment Website audit focused on the User Experience

De Dolfijn (est. 1906) was not satisfied with the quality of their website. The club is a long-standing swimming association in Amsterdam, offering many types of swimming sports to train future top athletes. Being a non-profit organisation, resources are limited. The marketing team wanted to refresh their current website to attract new members and to retain their existing group of members.

To have a clear understanding of the website's overall user experience they wanted me to investigate its base line and give them practical advice on how to improve their website. We agreed that I would write my assessment in an audit report including feedback and practical advice - and that I would present this in a (digital) meeting.

1. collecting information

Business goals
During one of our first meetings we talked about all their primary requirements. There was also a survey available that was done among the stakeholders. Members and coaches provided written input as well. We decided we would not look into SEO and the Google Analytics data - this would be checked by a SEO expert. They shared their prior research as well with me; insights from multiple surveys for different groups (members, coaches, stakeholders), interviews and their own list of website requirements.

I was able to define their biggest business goals related to the website:

show their brand and excellent reputation

attract new members and retain client base

communicate relevant news

let clients acces their personal info and schedules

showcase sponsors and be findable for potential future sponsors

connect internal sportteams, members and staff

User goals

The website's primary users are swimmers, underage swimmers and their parents These swimmers are either members or potential future members. The secondary users are the organisation's staff and stakeholders, such as the managing board - but also their sponsors. The organisation depends on their volunteers for all their activities including managing the website and social media.

I defined the goals of their primary user:

get informed of different swimming sports

get informed of prices

sign up as a member

know their latest training schedules

get informed of new events and sign up to participate

see and edit personal information

contact trainers or other staff

get connected to other swimmers and sport departments

And the goals of their secondary users:

inform members of news

keep up to date with other departments

stay connected to the club and its members

learn about ‘de Dolfijn’ (history, status, USP's, photos)

learn about sponsors/collaborations and other partnerships

encourage departments to connect with each other and learn from other teams

Auditing the website

I thoroughly explored all the webpages and evaluated the information and their information architecture. I tested the user flow and all the features. I critically analysed if users' goals were being fulfilled. I did the same for the business goals. I noted down any gaps between every goal and the website and took screenshots where possible to highlight later.

2. the assesment

General conclusion
Business goals and user goals were not being fulfilled. The website did not serve its purpose to convert visitors to new members. The UI was outdated and without an hero section there was no clear message for first time online visitors. Information was hidden and divided in too many pages. Not only was it hard to find information for the primary user, it was also difficult for secondary users to maintain the upkeep, which lead to incomplete or dated texts.

There was no feature or content available to encourage members to use the website. Members had to use other means of communication, such as Whatsapp, to get informed about schedules and other news. There was no option to see personal info on the website. As a result of this, members and staff were uninformed about other departments or about the association in general.

De Dolfijn has an excellent reputation among Dutch professional swimmers, especially in Amsterdam. But this was not reflected on the website. This is harmful for their online presence.

Information intended to convert visitors to new members was mostly hidden. There was no hero section on the homepage. The user must click multiple times through pages to find the info to apply as a new member.

I adviced them to add a community feature where members can log in, talk to each other and acces their personal info. Members will be pushed to find their info, schedules, news and event opportunities in this community, easing the workload of the staff and supporting connections between departments.

To make the biggest impact, a new homepage should be made. This homepage should be focused on convincing visitors to apply as a member with a hero section and a obvious sign up button.

Lastly, keeping their limited resources at the back of my mind, I still encouraged them to fully redesign their website. Would they try to edit every page to correct information and broken links - then their effort would still have minimal impact because of the information architecture of the website. On top of that the UI does not encourage users to have a delightful experience. Their effort would be better spent with a fully new website. Implementing all the advice and feedback above I was sure their business goals and user goals would be achieved. In the end I have recommended them to break their focus on the desktop website version and also make a mobile friendly version to stimulate conversion even more.

3. practical examples

Hero-less homepage
The homepage is mainly filled with news items. Except for the head banner there are no images or white space. There is no button to sign up as a new member visible here. As a homepage, it does not serve its true function.

My advice: Use the homepage to achieve the #1 business goal: signing up new members. A small piece of text can explain what makes the De Dolfijn the best choice, followed immediately with a sign up button. This should all be above the Fold and forms the Hero section.

A collection of buttons
The user cannot properly process all 9 buttons grouped together - this is too much info. It is not clear what the primary and secondary buttons are. Because of the size of this group, the placement and the attention it claims, it seems this group of buttons is the main feature of the homepage.

My advice: keep a maximum of 4 buttons grouped together. The most important buttons are signing up, logging in and the webshop. These should be the primary buttons. The rest of the buttons can be rearranged and have a secondary function. For example, they can be put in a dropdown menu to prevent the users to be overwhelmed with information and options. The sign up button should be the one that grabs the most attention.

Too much contact options
Every department has its own contact person, but a general contact option should be provided to facilitate easy connection and therefor stimulate conversion. There are also some broken links and inconsistent contact options among the departments - this does not show that it is óne club but rather a group of clubs.

My advice: Make it easy for website visitors to contact the club for general questions and offer the same contact options for each department. A pop-up chat can help users to ask their questions and overcome any threshold.

Members only
Currently there is no reason for members to visit the website.

My advice: To promote unity among departments and a non-forced positive website usage by members, a members-only segment is advised. This can be a space to ask questions, see their schedules, get involved in events and read about other departments. But mainly, this will be a space to find like-minded people in other departments and talk about their shared interests. This will also lighten the load of the sports coaches by shifting schedule communication to the community board.

4. my impact

I have presented my report successfully to the marketing team of De Dolfijn. The report and presentation was above their expectation and the team was very pleased. They thought the report was clear and eye-opening. They stated they would use my report as a means of persuasion to receive budget to redo the website.

I have performed this UX audit in 2021 and was pleased to see their fully renewed website in 2022. They have implemented all my feedback and recommendations in the new website. This shows the impact I have made with my UX audit report that convinced their board to invest in a total website redesign!

De Dolfijn started with this design pre-audit:

And a couple months after my UX audit this was their new website, including an adapted mobile friendly version: