ENBANK app’s Heuristic Evaluation to Identify Usability Issues by Experts

EN bank Heuristic evaluation

Project Summary

In order to improve the user experience of mobile banking, ENBank needed to evaluate the usability status of its mobile app, and for this purpose I used the heuristic evaluation method.

CustomerEN Bank

Company: FarazPardazan Co

Date: Dec 2019 – Feb 2020

Team members:

What is Heuristic Evaluation

A heuristic evaluation is a method for identifying design problems in a user interface. Evaluators judge the design against a set of guidelines (called heuristics) that make systems easy to use. Heuristic evaluations are useful for stretching a limited UX research budget, because they help you find issues without having to test with participants. 

To assess usability, we used Jakob Nielsen’s 10 usability heuristics — a set of high-level guidelines based on an understanding of human behavior, psychology, and information processing. 

Jacob's 10 heuristics

Step 1: Preparing for a Heuristic Evaluation

Heuristic evaluations work best when performed by a group of people, not just by one evaluator. This is because each individual (no matter how experienced or expert) is likely to miss some of the potential usability issues. Therefore, my colleague ARTA and I started working on this project together.

Decide How to Document Evaluations

The evaluators need a place to collect their observations. 

We chose to use a spreadsheet in which evaluators can capture one observation per line, along with its corresponding heuristic.

Set the Scope

The narrower the scope, the easier and more detailed the evaluation will be. For our team’s first heuristic evaluation we considered keeping the scope narrow to make things manageable. 

We could narrow the scope by looking at:

  • One task at a time
  • One section of the app
  • One language (if multi-lingual)
  • One user group
  • One device type (desktop, tablet, mobile)

In this evaluation, we decided to evaluate the Perian version of the app and some of its main functionalities such as money transfer.

Step 2: Evaluate Independently

Each team member should evaluate the interface independently. It’s also important for each evaluator to become familiar with the product before starting the evaluation process.

We had to check every flow in the app to understand the way it works and then test it with real input data. 

Money Transfer User flow:

EnBank Money transfer user flow

The evaluation starts by going through the interface as if we’re a user trying to complete a task. Once the evaluator feels comfortable and familiar with the product, he goes back through the task a second time. In this second pass, he looks for design elements, features, or decisions that violate one of the 10 heuristics — in other words, they don’t achieve that goal or follow that guideline.

Just because a design choice violates a heuristic, that does not necessarily mean it’s a problem that needs to be fixed — it depends on the particular context and the available alternatives.  

Step 3: Consolidate Identified Issues

Once all team members have performed their independent evaluations, it’s time to synthesize the issues. Affinity diagramming (clustering similar issues) on a physical or virtual whiteboard works well.

We need to discuss with the team:

  • Where do we agree? Where do we disagree?
  • Which issues seem most detrimental to the overall experience? 
  • Which issues could be most problematic for our business goals?
  • Which issues do we need more data on? Which should we prioritize in our next usability test?
  • What steps can we take in the short and long term to address these problems? 

Summary of evaluations

Evaluators should track issues by making detailed notes of where they encountered them and how serious they were. This will help organize the design team’s backlog later.

There are 3 main categories of issues based on the severity:

  • Critical: If you do not fix this problem, users cannot complete their tasks.
  • Serious: Many users get frustrated because of this problem; They may give up on continuing the task.
  • Minor: Users are annoyed, but this annoyance does not stop them from completing the task scenario.

Step 4: Present Findings and Documentation

42 usability problems were found:

  • 7 items in the Critical category
  • 21 items in the Serious category
  • 14 items in the Minor category

Tasks and sections with usability issues:

– Application settings page
– Page titles (general issue)
– Money transfer and facility page
– View bank statements
– View bank deposit information
– Use of deposit services
– Payment with SMS ID
– Save bills for later payments
– Copying the account number
– Money transfer between accounts
– View facility information
– Reaching the card management page
– Add a new credit/debit card
– Copy the card number
– pay the bills
– View the news page 
– Understanding the number of steps in multi-step forms
– Reading errors in forms
– Identifying a form’s fields
– Tap on CTA buttons
– Log in to the app after confirming the mobile number

Found issues categorized by heuristics

We classified problems using Jacob’s 10 Heuristics to identify the most problematic aspect of our design. As you can see, “Recognition rather than recall” Heuristic needs more attention during our next design iteration.

Heuristic evaluation categories

Usability Issues Report

All found issues were listed in a spreadsheet as presented in the following image: 

usability results of EN BANK

Also, each issue is presented with a screenshot and the suggested solution is shown:

bank UI redesign

After presenting all issues, we provided actionable recommendations for addressing each issue. These recommendations are specific and tied to improving the UX and interaction design. 

What’s next?

Heuristic evaluations can’t substitute user research. UX design is very contextual. To create good experiences, we still need to test with real users. Nevertheless, heuristic evaluations can support our team’s research efforts. For instance, performing a heuristic evaluation before a usability test could assist in pinpointing design senarios for testing.