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:
- Visibility of System Status: The User should always keep the user informed about what’s going on
- Match the system and Real World: The system should speak the user’s language
- User Control and Freedom: Users often choose system functions by mistake
- Consistency and Standards: Users should not have to wonder whether different words, actions, or situations mean the same things.
- Error Prevention: Prevents a problem from occurring in the first place
- Recognition Rather than Recall: Minimize the user’s memory load by making objects, actions and options visible.
- Flexibility and Efficiency of Use: Caters to new and experienced users
- Aesthetic and Minimalist Design: Use of simple layout and design conventions
- Help User Recognize, Diagnose and Recover from Errors: Should an error occur, the user should be able to quickly recover
- Help and Documentation: Functions like a search bar or contact information
- 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.
Based on the results from the Heuristic and Competitive Evaluations, I made the following recommendations:
- Address labeling in the navigation menu
- Have links open a new tab or same window instead of directing the user away from the website
- Make error preventable by making field requirements clear to the user.
- Users do not go for walks outside of commuting. This is mostly due to unsafe conditions.
- It’s split between users about if they will plan a walk or not.
- Suggestion of an interactive map.
- Suggestion of highlighted routes that have been audited already
- No interest in meet ups, but only because they did know about it.
- Request of additional resources for parks.
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.
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.