Expert Review

Our User Experience (UX) experts are not users. eSimplicity helps uncover usability problems but are not users. Grounding the usability problem in a violation of existing UX knowledge is essential to elevate the expert review above the opinion wars that are rife in many development projects. Note that a design element should not be designated a usability problem simply because the expert reviewer personally does not like it. All usability problems noted in the expert review must be accompanied by objective explanations, not subjective criticisms.

The SIMPLE Experience

Fresh perspective

Design reviews work best when the examiner not only has a deep knowledge of usability best practices, and a large amount of experience conducting usability research, but also is someone who was not involved in creating the design to be reviewed. UX expert review is like proofreading – people are bad at proofreading their own writing because their mind sees what they intended to write, not what actually makes it on the page! The same is true of our own designs: we understand what the design is intended to do, and we can not see clearly whether it truly accomplishes that goal. A fresh perspective is more likely to be unbiased and deliver candid feedback: an outsider is not emotionally invested in the design, is oblivious to any internal team politics, and can easily spot glaring issues that may stay hidden versus someone who has been staring at the same design for too long.

Actionable recommendations

A key element of an actionable usability finding is a clear recommendation for how to address the issue. Often, once the issue is noticed and the underlying reason of the issue is understood, the fix is obvious. In other cases, the recommendation may be to further investigate: to pay attention to the design element during the upcoming usability studies to determine if it truly causes any usability issues, or to consider conducting another type of user research to get a clearer answer. eSimplicity UX Expert Review offers:

Real examples illuminating more than a thousand words: A real example of a good design can be more illuminating than a thousand words. Whenever possible, we support our recommendations with examples of other sites addressing the same issue. Providing multiple examples of sites solving the same issue prevents the conclusion there is any single best way to design the solution.

Recognizing usability strengths so we don’t lose them in the follow-on revisions: We make reviews less “doom and gloom,” and ensure that good design elements are not marred in the redesign process by providing a list of strengths and a short explanation for each.

Mapping the usability problems: For each usability problem, it is important to have a clear explanation: the principle violated should be clearly cited and related to the design, so that any fix addresses the underlying issue and the same mistake will be avoided elsewhere as well. Whenever possible, the discussion should also include a link to an article or some other source of additional information, as a reference in case designers or other stakeholders want to read more.

If a problem does not necessarily violate a classic guideline or principle, but instead stems from other usability research (either the reviewer’s experience or another trusted source), we explain clearly why the design represents a problem. (For example, “Users who are asked to confirm each choice that they make become habituated with these confirmation screens and respond automatically without paying attention to the text on the screen, which may result in slips).