Modern Web Design from WordPress Experts

Determining what improvements should be implemented requires a detailed analysis of the current user experience (UX) and existing user interface (UI). At Syde, we combine web design expertise with years of WordPress experience. Read on the learn about the basics of UI and UX web design, what best practices you should follow when designing a WordPress site, and how to complete a design audit in 4 steps.

Concept and Prototyping

We develop basic ideas first, before starting on the website design.

UI Audit

We create a modern web design that is user-friendly and comfortable.

UX Audit

We optimize usability and user experience to make websites and online shops successful.

WordPress Best Practices

Our designers know which specifics to consider when web designing on WordPress.

Do you want an audit of the User Experience and design interface of your website or online shop?

Web Design Audit: The Basics

A website design audit aims to ensure that a domain is designed in a consistent, modern way aligned with the company’s essence. During the web design audit, the user experience and the user interface of a website are optimized.

What are the advantages of a web design audit?

Potential customers directly associate the quality of a company’s web presence with its professionalism and trustworthiness. Investments in better design and regular audits, therefore, are also worthwhile financially. A Forrester study shows that every single euro invested in UX generates a whole 100 euros in return.

Regular design audits also have a positive effect on several SEO metrics. The first impression of a website usually determines whether users stay on the page. In fact, studies prove that we decide within the first 50 milliseconds whether we like a site. The web design audit must therefore ensure that the website is well laid out and attractive to users at first glance. If users do not understand the structure and navigation of the site, they will leave the page immediately without making any further clicks. That affects important content KPIs such as time-on-page, bounce rate or engagement. In other words, better web design generates higher rankings in the long run.

When should a web design audit be performed?

Web design standards are constantly evolving, and formerly popular design elements can quickly fall out of fashion. One sign that an audit is needed is a drop in traffic. Both search engines and users penalize outdated or slow sites.

Which companies need web design audits?

Design audits are essential, especially for large and fast-growing companies. In such organizations, it is common for individual teams to develop their own slightly different approaches. That can result in initially seemingly insignificant irregularities in the web design. In the long run, however, this often produces inconsistent designs. Regular audits prevent this and align the designs of all company departments.

UX and UI Design: The Basics

What is UX?

The aim of any web design audit is to improve the user experience of the domain. As the name suggests, user experience is about the experience people have using technology. How does it feel to interact with the product? The term itself dates back to 1993 and to Donald Norman, a professor of cognitive science employed by Apple at the time:

“’User experience’ encompasses all aspects of the end-users interaction with the company, its services, and its products.”

Donald Norman

From today’s perspective, this definition is broad and refers to the company as a whole. In web design, user experience refers to how users feel while interacting with a website or app. When designing websites, UX designers deal with questions such as:

  • How do users discover our pages?
  • Are the pages easy to navigate and understand?
  • Do users achieve their goals on the page?
  • How do users feel while interacting on the page?
  • How do users feel after they leave the site?

Pages should be designed so that users can reach the goal of their website visit as intuitively and simply as possible. UX designers analyze visitor behavior on pages closely and repeatedly. Where are pitfalls or interruptions in the user flow causing visitors to leave the pages? Are some steps or buttons misunderstood? Are there particularly popular design elements that could be used more often? UX designers invest a lot of time and resources in analyzing their audience. They need to understand the problems and needs of their user personas to optimize the domain accordingly.

What is UI?

UX design is all about the user’s feelings. The comprehensibility and navigability of technology are without question essential for its popularity. However, the aesthetics of a page are just as important. And this is where the UI comes into play. UI stands for “user interface” and for everything that users see and that allows them to interact with a design. Examples of UI elements are all colors, fonts, lights or even sounds perceived when visiting the website. As such, UI web design is mainly concerned with problems such as:

  • Does the design look natural and intuitive?
  • Is the design visually attractive?
  • Do users respond positively to the design?
  • Is the design user-centric?

UI designers interpret prototypes from UX design visually. They design icons, graphics or menus, and other elements depending on the preferences of each end user. For example, if a link to the next page was specified from the UX design, a UI designer decides which type of button or slider is most appropriate. Does a CTA in one color generate more clicks than another? Are there modern design standards that customers expect in the industry? UI designers also rely on in-depth analysis of their audience and industry trends.

What is the difference between UX and UI?

UX design is mainly about the user’s problems and how to solve them. UI design is more concerned with visual concepts. Anyone googling for a definition of the difference between UI and UX design will quickly find the famous example of the house and its walls

When building a house, the first thing that needs to be determined is what the future occupants, i.e. the website audience, want. How many rooms and floors should there be? Does it need a basement or garden? This process represents the work of UX designers. Next, they design the blueprint and foundation of the house. Then, when the house is up, the UI designer comes in and takes care of painting the walls, furniture, and interior design. The UX design team determines what a website should accomplish, and the UI design team determines what is designed to meet those specifications.

Difference between UX and UI Design

Website design audit in 4 steps

Anyone who decides to perform a website design audit for their domain should follow the following four steps:

Analyze the market, the competition and your business objective

Before the website design can be optimized, it is necessary to understand the market it will cater to. The company’s own goals and the design of the website must solve the customers’ problems. What demographic groups do the users come from? Are there groups with particular problems with certain parts of the site? What are the fears, values, and preferences of the company’s target customers? The design of a site aimed at retirees needs to be very different from one that wants to sell to teenagers. A web design audit must adjust the domain to suit the target audience.

In addition, the web design must be aligned with the particular industry of the business. Doctors must offer different designs than musicians. For corporate websites, it is particularly important to communicate the company’s heart and values at first glance. This is why businesses often work with background images of their offices or best-known products. Personal websites or blogs should pay more attention to putting the particular person and their marketable qualities at the focus of the design. Especially on E-commerce sites, the UX design must simplify the buying process for users. People generally consume more on personalized and more attractively designed pages.

Before starting the design audit of your own site, you should also take note of what the competition in your industry is designing. In addition to elements popular in the industry, modern websites should not ignore general web design trends.

UX Audit: Does the information structure work?

Part of the web design audit is the optimization of user experience. Consistency in the domain structure is of particular importance:

“The most important thing in UX design is the structure of the pages and that everything is linked logically and correctly. If users can’t navigate a page, they won’t interact with it and won’t stay long.”

Alina Bogner – UX/UI Designer at Syde

As part of the UX design audit, an analysis of how users behave on the page is performed. For this purpose, UX designers use web analytics tools such as Google Analytics or With these, the user path through the domain can be traced in detail. Heat or scroll maps show exactly where a lot of activity took place on the pages. In the following, we present the most important UX design best practices. The web design audit should review these fundamentals:

WordPress UX Design Best Practices


The navigation menu is an essential element of any website. It allows users to get an overview of the page structure. All important CTAs should be included in the navigation. WordPress users have numerous options to make the navigation user-friendly. At the same time, however, this should be as simple and clear as possible. 

Menus with dropdowns, for example, work better than navigation menus that list all sub-items over several levels. Dropdowns, in which links are grouped according to sub-topic, also save space. 

For many sites, especially those where users scroll way down, fixed navigation menus are a good option. That means that, when scrolling, the menu automatically stays in the page header. 

Just like any other UX element, navigation should be customized to one’s business and industry. For example, if a company offers a particularly broad portfolio and a lot of content on its website, a card or grid navigation on the homepage might be suitable.

Pages with grid navigation are suitable for companies with many types of products
Loading speed

It is true: the speed of the page also plays a role in the website visitor’s experience and thus in the UX. WordPress page loading speed depends on several factors and can be easily improved. Some plugins slow down the page, for example. Thus, only absolutely necessary plugins should remain installed. Images should be kept as small as possible. Caching and using CDNs can also have a positive impact on loading speeds.

Mobile friendly: responsive design

More than half of all traffic in 2022 comes from mobile devices, and this trend is growing. A modern business website must look perfect on every device and different display sizes. Users nowadays won’t turn their phones to see content correctly or scroll in a direction. When it comes to WordPress sites, you should go for a mobile-friendly theme if possible. How mobile-friendly your domain is, can be easily determined with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Tester.


About 10% of the world’s population lives with a limitation that makes it difficult to browse and understand a website. A modern user experience also accommodates users with visual impairments, hearing loss, or cognitive impairments. The Google algorithm rewards pages that are easily accessible for these people as well. During the UX audit, web accessibility tools are used. These scan a URL and point out unfavorable contrasts or missing alt texts.

UI Audit: Is the website attractive and self-explanatory?

The user interface audit determines whether the website is designed according to the needs and expectations of the target audience:

The design of a website’s user interface is all about consistency of design elements. Elements that have similar functions should look the same. That is what makes the site look reliable and trustworthy.

Alina Bogner – UX/UI Designer at Syde

UI designers also research the preferences of the company’s target audience. It’s possible that the very customers your company is targeting have preferences regarding colors, patterns, or other visual elements. 

One way to filter out the preferences of one’s website visitors is constant testing. After a website goes live, UI designers analyze the traffic. A/B testing is ideal for UI website optimization. UI designers compare two nearly identical versions of a page with only one, often seemingly insignificant, difference. For example, the optimal size or color of a graphic or the position of a button is worked out.

There are also certain best practices in the UI design of a WordPress site that should be reviewed in the UI design audit:

WordPress UI Design Best Practices


When readers get to another internal page from the homepage, they expect the page design to be similar. If they see a completely new theme, different colors and designs, they may even wonder if they have left the original domain. As a result, the page loses trust. From the placements of elements like the menus to the type of buttons to the fonts used, UX design should remain consistent and uniform throughout the site structure.

It is also important that buttons and the page structure are self-explanatory. To this end, established web standards must be adhered to. Links in the content, for example, should be recognizable as such and respond when the cursor makes contact.

Call-to-action buttons

From a business perspective, CTAs are often the most important element of a page. They are part of the UX and the UI. Users are happy when the CTA shows them straight away what the next step is. It is also beneficial when a CTA stands out from the rest of the page through color and design. The placement and styling of the CTA are essential. Ideally, a CTA is located close to the relevant content. However, it is important that the CTA does not overlap the content but is highlighted with white space.

Our use of whitespace, navigation, and highlighted CTAs on
Keep it simple: White spaces

“White space” or “negative spacing” describes the elements of the page where there is no content. The importance of these empty spaces is often underestimated. A website with good UX does not overwhelm the visitor with too many visuals. Properly placed white space emphasizes the most important page elements and directs attention to the CTAs. In Gutenberg Editor, white spaces can be easily inserted as blocks and resized.

Web design audit report and implementation

After the web design audit is completed, a report with all results has to be created. Companies that already have an internal design manual should update it based on the audit results. For those who do not yet have their own manual, the audit can serve as an ideal starting point. 

Next, the problems identified in the audit are categorized: feasible in the long term vs. short term, prioritized vs. less important. First, the most important issues and those that can be resolved quickly should be addressed. Implementation is then carried out in collaboration with the web developers. Thanks to the WordPress Gutenberg editor, simple changes can be easily realized; for more complex tasks, there are specialized agencies.

Design audit with an agency vs. DIY?

The company has determined that a web design audit is necessary. Now the question arises: does this require a professional web agency, or should the audit be tackled internally? One disadvantage of agencies is the price, which initially seems high. It is a fact that the expenses are higher in the short term with an agency. However, the longevity and quality of the audit are important factors to consider in this case. Professional agencies have years of experience in web design. They have usually solved a company’s problems several times for other clients.

Another advantage of an agency is its experience using common web design tools. Your own company does not have to acquire the expertise to use the tools, nor does it have to pay for new software. At Syde, for example, we have been using the following tools for web design optimization for years:

Should you rely on a web design agency for an audit or redesign of your own site? On a modern website, everything from the UI design to SEO factors, the CMS used to the content strategy must be consistent. Designers have to coordinate with developers, for example, to make sure that their ideas can be implemented at all. That is why a full-service web agency is usually better than a pure design agency. Find out how much professional agencies usually charge for such services in our post about agency prices.

How does Syde approach the WordPress design audit?

Syde is the largest WordPress agency in Europe. We are the perfect partner, especially for companies that rely on WordPress and want a redesign of their domain. Our designers fully understand the possibilities WordPress offers and the specifics of UX and UI with WordPress. 

The graphic below shows our approach to design audits for clients. In the first step, we understand the client company and its goals and requirements for the website. In the next step, we analyze the domain according to the best practices explained in this post.

WordPress Web Design Audit with Inpsyde
WordPress Web Design Audit with Syde

Our designers now create prototypes and inspiration for redesigning the website or solving any identified problems. As a WordPress agency, we work with our internal WordPress developers in the next step. They know exactly if and which design ideas are technically feasible. As a result, our customers receive the design drafts they ordered in the end.

WordPress Web Design Audit with Syde

Not convinced yet? Here are a few examples of our latest design projects:

Syde’s project for We All Sew

We All Sew wanted a modern and better web presence. Based on We All Sew’s corporate design, we created an optimized theme design. The challenge here was to structure content more clearly and create a better hierarchy between typography and elements throughout the site.

Syde’s Redesign for ENSI

ENSI wanted to modernize their existing WordPress website design while keeping the main structure intact and retaining several design elements. With larger images and more prominent headings, we created a new look with more hierarchy.

Syde’s Web Desing project for Nordex Group

Nordex commissioned us to restructure and renew their WordPress site. For this project, we visualized three different design ideas, to find the best possible solution for the client.

WordPress design projects with Syde

At Syde, we combine UX and UI design expertise with over a decade of WordPress development experience. Contact our WordPress experts for a web design audit or redesign of your website.

We are proud of our clients