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In making the case for a website redesign, it’s helpful to review and reassess the current design to see what areas are working and which are not. This ensures that we focus on the areas that need the most critical improvement, but that we don’t “throw the baby out with the bath water” so to speak. If there are pieces that are successful we should make sure to keep them.

user experience design

One tool that I use is a 50-question scorecard that rates the effectiveness of a site based on usability best practices and specific role-based scenario(s). The process of using this kind of scorecard is often called a “heuristic review.” It’s important to keep in mind that these assessments are no substitute for testing with real users, but can be used to catch many of the major usability issues that might be uncovered in user testing in a faster, more economical way. Also, it can help web designers throughout the web design process to check and make sure that new concepts are on-track with original objectives.

My scorecard is based on a simple scale.
0 = Fails criteria
1 = Meets criteria
2 = Exceeds criteria

It covers 5 key areas:
• Navigation
• Presentation
• Content
• Interaction Design
• Persuasiveness

Below are examples of the types of attributes I normally cover in an evaluation:

Navigation
 Navigation labels
 Page length and scrolling
 Hyperlinks
 Search
 Navigation aids
 Proper use of persistent, secondary, and global navigation

Visual Presentation
 Visual page hierarchy and effective grouping of content
 Use of color
 Typography
 Iconography and Imagery
 Affordance (can users tell what’s clickable?)

Content
 Organization of content
 Swiftness of content for web reading – “scanability”
 Spelling and grammar
 Use of jargon
 How current or up-to-date is the content?
 Writing style

Interaction Design
 Taskflows
 Assistive techniques used to simplify task completion and self-service
 Use of instructions, error messages and feedback messages
 Appropriate and effective use of user interface controls for forms and multimedia

Persuasive Design
 Likelihood for conversion
 Opportunities for customer engagement and dialogue
 Sense of community
 Sense of security
 Sense of credibility and trust
 Sense of play

Conclusion
The best way to really uncover what your users are stumbling with is user-testing. But if you’re in a pinch or need to expose a first look at your site’s usability issues to gain buy-in for a web redesign, a heuristic review can come in very handy. For more info on having your site evaluated, contact us.