Design Review

Note: This project was confidential, so I have omitted and changed some details.

Goal

A telecom company offered a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) telephone service for business users, which included a web portal in which users could configure settings, view call logs, listen to voice messages, etc. Customer feedback had alerted them to the fact that this web portal had usability problems, so they wanted to know what the problems were and how they could be fixed.

Approach

  • The client wanted quicker and less expensive answers than could have been obtained from a usability test, so I agreed to conduct a type of design review known as a usability inspection or heuristic evaluation — an expert review to identify usability problems and recommend changes to fix them.

Results

Example of usability issues identified in a design review (Edited to protect confidentiality)

I identified 34 usability issues and provided design recommendations to fix them. Several of them had potentially serious consequences, such as:

  • There was no visible indication of whether or not changes to call handling had been saved, so, for example, a user could easily believe they would receive important calls when in fact they would go straight to voicemail.
  • Options to handle calls differently for different groups of callers, and in different situations, were potentially very useful, but the design made it far too difficult to know how they were configured.

Impact

The telecom company was able to fix several serious usability problems, improving overall customer experience and eliminating some specific risks of negative customer experiences.