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.
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:
• Interaction Design
Below are examples of the types of attributes I normally cover in an evaluation:
Page length and scrolling
Proper use of persistent, secondary, and global navigation
Visual page hierarchy and effective grouping of content
Use of color
Iconography and Imagery
Affordance (can users tell what’s clickable?)
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?
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
Likelihood for conversion
Opportunities for customer engagement and dialogue
Sense of community
Sense of security
Sense of credibility and trust
Sense of play
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.