Audit your website for cognitive load

1. Make a website audit spreadsheet to track elements to remove and elements to change.

For example, include 6 columns: Name, Cognitive Factor, Number of clicks, It is above the fold, How long did you pause, and Did user testing/session replays confirm?

2. Analyze your site, page by page, and add data in the Cognitive Factor column.

Make note of everything you read, of anything you’re asked or expected to remember, and any decision that is required. For example, you can use the short form reading, memory, and decision.

3. Record on your spreadsheet the number of clicks a visitor is from completing your most wanted action on every page.

The optimum number is one or two.

4. Brainstorm which elements you can remove, based on the site research you gathered.

If you can remove an item without compromising usability or your value proposition, simply remove it.

5. Decide whether to test your elements to change hypotheses or skip to implementation.

If you are making minimal risk changes, you can go ahead and implement without wasting valuable testing traffic. If you think something might be worth testing, you can use a prioritization model like PXL, to decide which of your hypotheses to run first.

6. Run user tests and session replays after your quick implementations are finished.

This will allow you to see if the impact of removing and changing elements was positive overall.