For this project, my team and I were tasked with evaluating the usability of an existing digital product by conducting a heuristic evaluation. We chose to evaluate the customer checkout flow on Forever 21’s mobile application. As a team, myself and 3 other UX designers measured the product’s usability against the 10 Heuristics for User Interface Design, laid out by Jakob Nielsen.
With each violation that was uncovered, we assigned it a severity rating to show the level of severity it had on the user’s experience. Using the severity rating scale, we were able to prioritize recommendations for improvement and present our findings to key stakeholders.
My Role: Content Designer & UX Writer
-Re-wrote the copy on the email error message
-Conducted a competitive analysis
-Re-designed the content/information hierarchy on the product screen
Tools Used: Figma
Task Flow Diagram
For the scope of this project, we chose to focus on a single user task flow that was essential for ROI and customer retention: Checkout. The task flow diagram represents the user’s journey as they move through the app, with the goal of making a purchase.
What is a heuristic evaluation?
A heuristic evaluation is a method used for detecting usability issues with a given product. The 10 usability heuristics are a set of general principles used in interactive design to deliver usability. Using these heuristics as a guide, I evaluated the chosen task flow and discovered key points where UX intervention would be necessary. Ultimately, this method is used as a way to improve the user’s experience with a brand/product.
The Severity Scale Defined
We used this severity scale to prioritize our recommendations for improvement and communicate with the stakeholders the impact of heuristic violations on the user’s experience.
Evaluation & Recommendations
Home Screen Navigation
Consistency & Standards #4
Severity Rating: 2
After doing a competitive analysis, I found that it's common practice in the retail industry to use labels such as Home or Shop for the initial screen. The user shouldn’t have to wonder what a label or action means, especially when it sits on the navigation bar. We recommended re-labeling Discover to Home in order to stay consistent with industry standards.
Email Error Message
Match Between System & Real World #2
Severity Rating: 4
When the user enters in an invalid email address, the pop-up modal displays a message that is incomprehensible. The design needs to speak the same language as the user rather than internal jargon. We suggested updating the modal copy by using logical and clear messaging.
Help Users Recognize, Diagnose & Recover from Errors #9
Severity Rating: 4
Additionally, this instance violates another heuristic regarding the user’s ability to recover from errors. Clear, concise copy will help the user address their error and continue on with the task flow.
Shipping Address Form
Recognition Rather Than Recall #6
Severity Rating: 2
On the Add New Address screen, there was no indication to which input fields were required. The goal with this heuristic is to minimize the user’s memory load by making elements, actions and options visible. Information that is required to use the design should be visible. We recommended adding a red asterisk above the required fields. The color red also aids in visibility.
Aesthetic & Minimalistic Design #8
Severity Rating: 3
There was no visual information hierarchy on the product screen, which made it difficult to scan the content. Information shouldn’t contain elements that are irrelevant or unnecessary. I rearranged the information, placing the product name at the top with an increased font size, to highlight what this page is about. My team and I also suggested changing the size finder color to black instead of pink, in order to draw the user’s eye to the pricing and sale notification.
Due to the constraints of this being a university project, the changing of the pink size finder icon would be something I would connect with my PM about and make sure it aligns with Forever 21's business goals.
Key Learnings & Next Steps
Heuristics play a crucial role in the user’s experience with a brand/product and can hinder their ability to complete a desired task.
Being able to effectively communicate our re-design rationale played a large part in delivering a successful evaluation presentation and it’s important to master this skill for any stakeholder meeting.
The next step would be to implement our re-designs and conduct one round of usability testing with potential users. We would measure success by the task completion rate and how long it takes for the user to complete the task.