Goal

This portfolio piece was conducted as a class project with 3 main goals to achieve:

Understand the research learning process.

Learn the purpose and limitations of 4 common UX research methods.

Become familiar on how to write a research plan and deliver research results.

Method

I used the following UX methods to conduct my research:

  1. Heuristic Review
  2. Competitive Analysis
  3. Contextual Interview 
  4. Card Sort

Result

I created a pdf deliverable that explained my research results. In addition, the pdf included recommendations to improve the user experience of the Feet First website based on my research results.

PDF Deliverable here!

Continue to scroll down if you would like to read about this project in full detail

Method 1 & 2: Competitive Analysis & Heuristic Evaluation

These two methods involved evaluating both the Feet First website and the Los Angeles Walks website. I used the research standard outlined below to guide my study: 

  1. Visibility of System Status: The User should always keep the user informed about what’s going on
  2. Match the system and Real World: The system should speak the user’s language
  3. User Control and Freedom: Users often choose system functions by mistake
  4. Consistency and Standards: Users should not have to wonder whether different words, actions, or situations mean the same things.
  5. Error Prevention: Prevents a problem from occurring in the first place
  6. Recognition Rather than Recall: Minimize the user’s memory load by making objects, actions and options visible.
  7. Flexibility and Efficiency of Use: Caters to new and experienced users
  8. Aesthetic and Minimalist Design: Use of simple layout and design conventions 
  9. Help User Recognize, Diagnose and Recover from Errors: Should an error occur, the user should be able to quickly recover
  10. Help and Documentation: Functions like a search bar or contact information

Feet First

  • When the mouse hovers over the navigation the buttons highlight grey which tells the user where they are on the site and where they'll go if they click a navigation button. 
  • All options are clear. 
  • An argument can be made that “Advocacy” will confuse users.
  • "Take A Walk” directs the user away from the website.
  • "What we do" and "About us" can mean the same thing to users. 
  • The "Sign up for Enews" will allow a user to submit an empty form.
  • Feature is large, easy to see and consistent with other websites of similar nature.
  • Very visible icons.
  • New users will feel overwhelmed by the large amount of navigation menu.
  • You can see a simply layout of design.
  • After the user selects Donate, it will come back with red error triangles.
  • The search bar can be used as an escape, but no found way to help the user know where they went wrong. Example is the donate form.

Los Angeles Walk

  • When the user hovers over the navigation the buttons highlight blue, however for drop down menus it highlights white which a user can find hard to read.
  • All options are clear.
  • No found links that direct away from website or places not intended for its purpose.
  • Again, all navigation options are extremely clear.
  • The Sign up will only tell you what is required after the user hits enter.
  • Icons seem more harmful than useful and the text cannot be easily scanned.
  • Navigation is easy to understand; therefore, anyone can use it.
  • The user will noticed a defined layout.
  • The Sign up will only tell you what is required after the user hits enter with a big red box.
  • Contact could be used for help, but no search bar to help user flow.

Recommendations

Based on the results from the Heuristic and Competitive Evaluations, I made the following recommendations:

  1. Address labeling in the navigation menu
  2. Have links open a new tab or same window instead of directing the user away from the website
  3. Make error preventable by making field requirements clear to the user. 

Method 3: Contextual Interviews

I recruited 2 users and conducted contextual interviews. The goal was to discover the context in which a new user would be using the Feet First website. 

A script of the interviews can be found here!

Findings

  1. Users do not go for walks outside of commuting. This is mostly due to unsafe conditions.
  2. It’s split between users about if they will plan a walk or not.
  3. Suggestion of an interactive map.
  4. Suggestion of highlighted routes that have been audited already
  5. No interest in meet ups, but only because they did know about it.
  6. Request of additional resources for parks.

Recommendations

  1. Make meet up events more easily accessible by fixing the informational architecture of the site.  
  2. Maps should have a clearer directory.
  3. Have a space for users to leave feedback on their current neighborhoods

Method 4: Open Card Sort 

I conducted an open card sort to research what main and sub navigation labels made the most sense to the user. This study used Optimal Workshop and involved 8 users. 

DataData
CaptureCapture

Findings

Pattern emerged among users showing 3 main navigation menu options

Recommendations

  1. Restructure the navigation of the site 
  2. Emphasis on Maps, Meet ups, and Parks
  3. Fix links
  4. Update information

Final Thoughts

In 5 short weeks, this project achieved all 3 goals. This research catapulted a passionate curiosity into how users interact with screens and I was able to get my feet wet learning about those 4 common UX research methods. The practice writing a research plan and presenting my finding was invaluable.