WayPath’s digital audit provides critical insight into energy company’s website, paving the way for better accessibility, usability, and security


An organization’s website is critical for meaningful and efficient digital engagement with customers. Enhancing the user experience, accessibility, findability, and front-end technology of a website can’t be done unless gaps in the current process are identified.  Organizations often don’t know what they don’t know, costing them more than they think.  Moreover, time and resources may prevent a thorough excavation of a website.  A WayPath Digital Audit is a complimentary service that identifies gaps in a current process and shows an organization the next steps to enhancing and investing in a website, all without credentials.  A Digital Audit is a small engagement using commercial and open-source tools along with an expert analysis that will uncover big challenges and even bigger opportunities. 

Austin Energy is one company whose website received a thorough analysis and specific set of recommendations from a WayPath Digital Audit.  Austin Energy provides electrical power to the city of Austin, Texas, as well as Travis County and a small portion of Williamson County. Established in 1895, Austin Energy is the United States’ seventh largest public utility and services over 500,000 customers and more than one million residents. 

As Austin Energy prepared to replatform their main website, the company also sought to understand what other opportunities might exist to enhance the user experience, accessibility, findability, and front-end technology of the website. 


In July 2021, WayPath performed a Digital Audit of https://austinenergy.com/ae/. This occurred over the course of one week, using commercial and open-source tools along with manual analysis of the website. Publicly accessible portions of the site were evaluated against industry best practices as well as general usability guidelines and WayPath’s in-depth knowledge of the energy and utilities sector. WayPath did not have access to content authoring capabilities, the logged in experience, or any analytics or proprietary data that Austin Energy may have.  


Analysis was performed on the website with the following four dimensions in mind: Accessibility, Search Engine Optimization, Usability & Industry Best Practices, and Technology & Security. 

  1. Accessibility is paramount to provide equal access and equal opportunity to people with diverse abilities. WayPath generally recommends targeting Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 level AA conformance. In particular, WCAG 2.1 involves accessibility guidance for three major groups: users with cognitive or learning disabilities, users with low vision, and users with disabilities on mobile devices. This level ensures that the site is broadly accessible to a diverse population while also not being overly restrictive to and burdensome for content authors and designers. WayPath’s findings identified some of the following accessibility shortcomings:
    • Increase the text/background contrast 
    • Text/background contrast is insufficient throughout due to small text size  
    • Ensure that the logo image has text that can be deciphered by a screen reader 
  1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) increases the quantity and quality of traffic to the website through an organic search. Basic SEO techniques can dramatically improve search results without additional content author effort. WayPath’s expert analysis provided recommendations on how to improve the SEO:
    • Indicate 404 page or 404 status
    • OpenGraph and Schema.org markup should be present throughout 
    • Eliminate instances of duplicate page content without a canonical URL
  1. Usability & Industry Best Practices make it easy for visitors to perform the tasks that they need to on the website. Areas of opportunity included: 
    • Giving visitors a more direct path to report and outage
    • Using larger typography and buttons to make content and calls to action more visible 
    • Making the mobile experience more streamlined and visually more similar to a native app experience 
  1. Technology & Security encourages leveraging a feature-rich and secure toolset to deliver the website. The platform and tools used by an organization impact the capabilities to deliver content and can have a significant impact on the user experience. WayPath’s Digital Audit uncovered a variety of recommendations to improve the website’s Technology & Security: 
    • Fewer requests to render the homepage 
    • Eliminate inline styles that can make large scale changes difficult bugs that are harder to find and fix 
    • Create common security headers for pages; this will protect the site and its users against compromises 


Based on the assessment performed, WayPath recommended that Austin Energy consider the following next steps: 

  • Perform an accessibility scan and create a plan to remediate issues to get to AA level conformance prior to replatforming 
  • Perform an SEO scan and correct duplicative content, either through changes or canonical tags, as well as missing and suboptimal meta data prior to replatforming 
  • Correct missing security headers prior to replatforming 
  • During platform selection, ensure that the new platform has full SEO capabilities, including a customizable sitemap and robots files, 404 capabilities, and OpenGraph support 
  • During platform selection, ensure that the new platform has or integrates with an industry leading search solution for internal website search 
  • During replatforming, rewrite the HTML, JS, and CSS to conform to current best practices for development and performance.  Aim for a Google Lighthouse score of 70 or above for mobile with the new markup. 

Valuable deliverables such as documentation of accessibility concerns, documentation of SEO techniques, identification of gaps in Usability & Industry Best Practices, and a Technology & Security overview allowed our client to become aware of gaps in efficiency and the customer experience. As evidenced from WayPath’s findings, this “outside looking in” approach can take an organization’s website to the next level. 


WayPath Consulting is your go-to software implementation specialist for all your digital marketing and compliance requirements. Founded in 1997, WayPath is a digital consulting agency that focuses on implementation scalable platform-based solutions that help you stay connected to and engaged with your customers. WayPath integrates software that is focused on improving customer communications and experiences with consistent branding, improved retention rates, and decreased regulatory exposure. 

There has been a growing necessity to implement integrated communication systems such as Content Management Systems, Customer Communication Management, and Customer Relationship Management. These consolidated systems help brands reach out to their customers, notice changes in customer behaviors, keep track of sales and customer interactions, and so much more! 

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