I have conducted several UI Audits to get a critical baseline of products and look for opportunities to improve overall design quality, customer usability and satisfaction that will lead to more product sales.
In the example below, you’ll see an audit in which I’ve approached the product evaluation from 3 (three) different perspectives: Information Architecture, Heuristics Evaluation and Branding;
An effective information architecture enables users to step logically through a system confident they are getting closer to the information they require to performing the task they need to do.
Before evaluating an existing system for architectural improvements, it’s extremely important to find out who’s using it, who’s building it, and what its goals are.
In such audits, I try to anticipate user paths, logical process flows, and determine how those were balanced with efficiency with ease of use, then evaluate how the information architecture of the product/site helps users to easily match each interface component to its correspoding workflow.
In order to do that, I analyze 3 (three) different aspects of the product/website:
- Major UI Components
- Commands Entry Points
- Mapping Controls in regards of Task Frequency
Major UI Components
In this part of the audit, cataloging all major UI components of an application, like Menus, Objects windows, Properties windows, and Viewports;
Commands Entry Points
Here we’re trying to evaluate how well the different entry points were mapped to the different tasks users want to perform — as well as support both novice and expert;
Mapping between Controls and Task Frequency
In this part of the audit, we’re trying to compare/contrast how the different entry points of each command were mapped to support the most frequent tasks.
A heuristic evaluation is a usability inspection method for computer software that helps to identify usability problems in the user interface. Heuristic evaluation involves having a small set of evaluators examine the interface and judge its compliance with recognized usability principles (the “heuristics”), and logging issues to be fixed before releasing the product/site.
Once an issue for a particular screen is found, it must recorded and — more importantly — ranked according to the following criteria:
Among all the different types of users of the feature being evaluated, what percentage of users will encounter the problem identified?
3 – Most users will experience this problem
2 – Some but not most users will experience this problem
1 – A small percentage or no users will experience this problem
How often in their regular use do users will experience this problem?
3 – Frequently
2 – Occasionally
1 – Never or rarely
When users do experience this problem, how severe is it?
3 – Difficult or impossible to accomplish task
2 – A workaround is possible, but it may not be obvious or easy
1 – An easy workaround exists
Branding and Corporate Identity
Branding and Corporate Identity is not only a matter of logotypes but the totality of all visuals, language, functionality etc. that the user will perceive as representative for the company or product and is thus subject to targeted development and deployment.
In this part of the audit, I try to benchmark a product against existing company’s branding, marketing and visual design guidelines: