Group Members: Brian Huang, Krithin Sitaram, Prerna Ramachandra`

What were the most severe problems with the app/site? How do these problems fit
into Nielsen’s heuristic categories? What are some suggestions to fix the UI, and
how do your proposed changes relate to the heuristic categories?

  • No easy way to check when the next bus arrives (Android)–H7
    • After the first half hour we found such functionality does exist, but it involves clicking on a marker in the overlay that disappears when the screen is touched

→ Fix by having show/hide option

  • When multiple routes are selected, the map is too confusing to navigate–H8

→ Fix by displaying a message warning the user about cluttering the map

→ Having a legend to tell the user what each color code stands for.

  • Colour codes for routes not listed on the map–H6
    • And toggling to the routes list to figure out the colours takes too long because of data loading time

→ List color codes on the map

  • Cluttered UI, because current locations of buses always displayed (Android)–H8
    • This is distinct from the second criticism, but certainly is exacerbated. This is concerned with the fact that the large pins (representing buses) also clutters the interface.

→ Have an option to show/hide bus pins so map can be more easily navigated

  • No list of stops for each route (Android)–H6
    • Not what you’d expect of a transit app; it requires that you know which route you need before you use the app, which is detrimental to first-time users of the transit system.

→ Add list of stops when route is tapped on

  • ‘No route selected’ when you open the app / switch between agencies
  • No one uses Transloc to look at no routes, so this default is counterintuitive.

→ Use a smarter default, like displaying all routes

ii. Which problems, if any, were made easier to find (or potentially easier to correct)
by the list of Nielsen’s heuristics? (That is, if we had asked you to perform a
usability evaluation of the app/site without first discussing heuristics, what might
you have overlooked?)

  1. Flexibility and Efficiency of Use (H7): Transloc by default displays no routes on the map.  In order to view the status of any buses, the user must manually select them all (and on the Android does not even have a “select all” button).  This problem was easily recognized and corrected in light of the concern of H7 with efficiency of use by means of good defaults.
  2. User Control and Freedom (H3): Forcing the user to switch between route list and map reduces user control on the map and was made more obvious through H3
  3. Aesthetic and Minimalist Design (H8): Thinking about signal-to-noise ratios helped us realize that the clutter from displaying all routes was detrimental to the overall design and the efficiency of information communication.

iii. Did anyone encounter usability problems that seemed to not be included under
any of Nielsen’s heuristics? If so, what additional heuristics might you propose
for this type of application or site?

This was more of a general observation, in which some of the UI problems arose from have smaller buttons to click on, and not having an intuitively navigable interface. The problem of size of buttons, etc. seem to be specific to touchscreen interfaces like the iPhone/Android and having a heuristic specific for that might be helpful.

A useful heuristic for cross-platform applications (Transloc is available on Android, iPhone, and on the web) might ask whether features are consistent between platforms.  With respect to the Transloc app, the iPhone version seemed to be much more refined than the Android version, and both had some significant differences from the desktop version

iv. What might be some useful class discussion questions—or final exam questions—
related to heuristic evaluation?

Certain systems are aimed at a large body of users that are uninterested in reading documentation (example: Microsoft Word).  In such a case, what are some clever ways to embed documentation without giving the user a large body of text (that he/she will likely not read), while still conveying relevant information?

Individual Links:

Prerna Ramachandra (pramacha):
Brian Huang (bwhuang):
Krithin Sitaram (krithin):