Heuristic Analysis Site Natural Therapy Pages Url http://www.naturaltherapypages.com.au/ Date 10/23/10 Objectives Goal Task Screen Evaluate the usability status Homepage. 1 click •First tier navigation.of the landing page for Natural connections.Therapy Pages. •Search Measures The heuristics will be rated based on a 1 to 5 scale, being 5 the highest degree of conformity and1 the least. If the heuristic is not applicable it will be left blank. Heuristics The heuristics chosen for this test are based on checklists from Daniel Torres Burriel and YusefHassan Montero and based on the heuristics from Nielsen and Tognazzini. Test General Heuristics Points Are the site objectives concrete and well defined? 5 Do content and services offered correlate with such objectives? 5 Is the URL correct, clear and easy to remember? The internal URLs as well? Are 5they static? Does it show clearly and precisely the content and services offered? 3 Is the general site structure user oriented? 2 Does the general look & feel correlate with the objectives, content and services? 5 Is the general design coherent? 3 Is the general design recognisable? 5 Is the site updated periodically? Does it indicate when? 1 Identity and Information Points Is the company/site identity clearly showed across all the pages? 5 Is the logo meaningful, identifiable and visible enough? 4
Is the slogan correctly portraying the sites objectives, content and services? 3 Is any there any link about the company, webmaster or the website? 1 Is it possible to contact the company/site? 5 Is there information about user data privacy and content copyright? 5 Do articles, reports or news show information about the author, sources, creation 1and update dates... ? Language and Writing Points Does the site use the same language register as its users? 5 Is the language clear and concise? 4 Is the language familiar and friendly? 4 1 paragraph = 1 idea? 4 Labels Points Are labels meaningful? 2 Are they standard? 4 Is the organisational system unique and well defined? 2 Are page titles correct? Have they been planned? 4 Structure and Navigation Points Is the navigation and organisation structure the most suitable one? 4 Is the navigation placed in a prominent place within the site? 2 If the structure is hierarchy based, is there a balance between depth and width? 3 If the structure is hypertextual are the nodes communicated? - Are links easily recognisable? Is their state correctly portrayed? 3 Is the number of elements and subelements in the navigation menus controlled? 2 Is the system behaviour predictable before clicking a link? 2 Are there links leading no where? 5 Are there orphan pages? 5 Are there redundant links? 1 Are image links recognisable as such? Do they have a title attribute? 3 Are there navigation elements informing the user of his situation and how to 2reverse the navigation? Page Layout Points Are higher hierarchy zones used for the most relevant content? 2
Is there information overload? 3 Is the interface clean and without visual noise? 3 Are there white zones between elements? 3 Is visual space correctly used? 2 Is visual hierarchy correctly used to express ownership and relationships between 2elements? Is the page height controlled? 5 Search Points Is it easily accessible? 5 Is it easily recognisable? 2 Does it have an advanced search? 1 Are results easily understandable by the user? 4 Is the search box big enough? 3 Does the no result page provide help and alternatives? 5 Multimedia Points Are images well cropped? Are they understandable? Do they have the right 5resolution? Are visual metaphors recognisable and understandable? 5 Do images and animations add value? 3 Is the use of cyclic animations avoided? 1 Help Points Is the help really needed? - Is the Help link placed in a visible area? - Is there contextual help for complex tasks? - Are FAQs well chosen? And the Answers? - Accessibility Points Does the font size allow a correct reading? 3 Do the formatting, font type, alignment and line height allow a correct reading? 3 Is there a high contrast between the background and the font colors? 5 Do images have an alt attribute? 1 Is the site compatible with different browsers? And different screen resolutions? 5 Can the user use the site without additional software or plugins? 5
Is the weight of the page controlled? 5 Are there printer friendly versions of the page? 5 Control and Feedback Points Is the user in control of the interface? 3 Is the user constantly informed of whats happening? 4 Are errors clearly and calmly shown, providing a way to solve the issue? 5 Has the user freedom to act? 5 Is the response time controlled? 5Results Heuristics Rating Notes General 3.7 Identity and Information 3.4 Language and Writing 4.25 Labels 3 Structure and Navigation 2.9 Page Layout 2.8 Search 3.3 Multimedia 3.4 Help - Accessibility 3.6 Control and Feedback 4.3ConsiderationsHeader•The header holds the best searching tool in the site. This search box has a very powerful feature,predictive search, and searches across different categories providing the most direct, complete andreassuring search results. Instead of having a prominent role in the page structure is casted away inthe management zone of the page.By placement its hierarchy is the higher as it belongs to the header. By size, position, surroundingsand by differentiating it from the other search options its role is diminished and confused.•The element order and placement should follow a certain order within the general page layout.The navigation bar begins halfway the content width and ends without reaching the natural headerwidth. The user feels uneasy.
•The login and contact links styling and placement award them with the same important, status andpurpose. This is not the case. A login link is usually expected to be seen with a register counterpart.The contact belongs with the company related information (about us, etc..). In any case their placeshouldt be alongside the main navigation.•The slogan or motto doesnt describe the page purpose or doesnt give an accurate description of itscontents.•Cyclic animations should only be restricted as much as possible and only be included if their valuecompensates the attention and visual strain put on the user. The scrolling text under the header issmall, difficult to read, there is no option to turn it off, appears all across the site and only is of useto a very small percentage of the visitors (who have a bigger and more effective Call To Actionmillimetres away).Main Navigation•The Main Navigation should be used to provide the user with information of the organisation andstructure of the site. It is here where the user will first come to look for what he wants and it is herewhere he will first fall back when he gets lost or confused.It must display in a clear and organised way all the conceptual sections of the page as well assome of the utilities provided to interact with it.In this Main Navigation all that is displayed is several paths to a search engine which is alreadydisplayed by default. It holds little to no information about what the user can find in the page andhow to get there. Moreover, by directing the user towards the search utility (that should be anoption, not the only mean of navigation) he is given the message that his chance of actually findingsomething relies within his more or less accurate ability to pick up search words.•The first item of the navigation points to the same page. There is almost no exceptions for this tobe allowed (logo or header with link when present in the homepage).•All search options lead to a different page that shares layout and functions with the Homepage,confusing the user. The product search breaks this ¨convention¨ by introducing a completely newarray of options in the side navigation, creating more confusion.•All the search sub sections lead to the same page when the Name Search tab is clicked. There is noway to know if the name search belongs to the section it came from or is a common page. This ismisleading an confusing. Besides, the layout changes again adding to the general distraction.•The practitioner search box seems to be present by default everywhere in the page. This createsconfusion when selecting Learn as the user could expect another search page after the 4 first, butthis is not the case. More on search boxes later.
Side Navigation•The side navigation breaks away with the conventions previously created. This weakens the usertrusts as he needs to relearn what he knows about the site. In addition the color scheme used andthe placement make it very easy to confuse the first links with a popular and widely usedadvertisement system.•The first 5 items not only repeat the same function and links of the Main Navigation but they alsochange the labels associated to them. This is highly confusing.•The Forums/Blogs link is misleading. While it leads to a forum that is not integrated within thelayout of the page the Blogs are nowhere to be seen. After further inspection they appear as asubforum of the main forum structure and in a different form to the one associated with the ¨blog¨term.•The differences between Discussion and Forum/Blogs are not clear. Why isnt the latter part of theformer? Is the presentation as two different category items justified? What is their difference withthe Articles section, later presented in the navigation, whose content shows similarities withDiscussion. The user gets confused, doesnt know which section to trust or follow. In addition thedisorganisation adds up to the general feeling of uneasiness.•The next three links are utility links not related to the previous or next items. They dont evenshare a relationship between them. However they are kept next to the most important links of theside navigation (color scheme wise) and are bolded or supported by an image. This draws the userattention from more important items. There are no user or business goals that justify placing abrowser management feature, a social media sharing option and a Call To Action for clients in thatposition. In addition, the Facebook sharing option is not the best one and not very likely to be used,and there have already been two more obvious advertising calls for clients. This apparently randomdisplay of navigation items hurts badly the site image as the user trust is diminished.•The navigation convention is broken again by recovering the color scheme previously used. Inprobably the most serious issue within this section, the color cue invites the user to click thesection headers to disclose the second tier navigation. This click reveals such navigation, but onlyafter leaving the main page and taking the user to a subsection. This takes the control out of theusers hand leaving him with confusion and mistrust.•The resources section is however already expanded and it doesnt provide the option to toggle it,breaking the convention again.•The next 3 sub items are preceded by the the words Natural Health. What do they mean? Do theymake reference to the site contents or to a particular institution, medical term or brand? In the first
option why do those words appear here for the first time and they dont come with every other item?In the second case, where is the explanation for its use and reason to appear there.•Again, whats the difference between the Articles and the Discussion section? Can they be unified?What justifies them been in such different places within the page hierarchy?Main Content Area•The find a practitioner search box appears apparently in a random way across the site.•One of the most user attention gathering positions is filled by a 600x106 image with no clearpurpose. Its message, ¨Start your journey¨ is redundant since the user is already at the Homepage.•The rest of the content are is filled by a series of product advertisements not related to the userpurpose, context of use or motivation.•The only truly useful portion of content and information available is squeezed among theaforementioned items and the right side ad.
•The actual content of the page is static and virtually non existing, since is way below the visualrange of the user. It features several paragraphs not related to each other. Doesnt provide a solidfirst impression of the page purpose, philosophy, products, categories and utilities for the user.The users first thoughts of the page get diluted among a flooding series of advertisements andconfusing navigation.Search•There are five different types of search boxes with two of them almost always present. The mostpowerful and useful one is overshadowed by the others.•There is no Advanced Search option provided.•The visual metaphor used to contain the search (tabs) is broken when the Name Search option isselected and doesnt allow the user to return to the other option.Summary The main issues affecting the site are a chaotic non-reliable navigation system and a confusingsearch system split among different pages and categories. This is the result of a page built aroundand driven by features and utilities rather than user centered. The side effect of this approach is a poor treatment of the content, casting aside or disregardingvaluable and updated material such as the articles, discussion or blogs, that could constitute a keypart of the branding image, an engaging experience for the user and the roots for a user communityaround the page theme.Solutions, approach and strategy To be discussed.