Senior Hours is a volunteer-run website that lists businesses providing special times for seniors and other populations vulnerable to COVID-19.
• Value proposition was insufficiently clear
• Site suffered from a lack of visual hierarchy, hierarchy, organization, and flow
• Site was not optimized for accessibility
• Limited to HTML/CSS; volunteer developer did not have time to code complex interactions
• It needed to be designed ASAP in order to respond to the evolving situation
• Social distancing limited the forms and quality of research possible
Redesigned the site with visual and textual clarity, accessibility, and simplicity as well as usability
Heuristic Evaluation, User Testing, Wireframing, Prototyping, Visual Design
Two weeks into social distancing, strategizing for research proved challenging. Fortunately, I had previous experiences teaching seniors to use their smartphones which equipped me with some precedent knowledge and enhanced my ability to empathize.
The site was evaluated using Weinschenk and Barker's 20 heuristics. I kept in mind prior experiences working with seniors and technology, grading the site more severely in areas relevant to senior users. The site suffered most in terms of accommodation, human limitations, and aesthetic integrity.
Performing remote user tests with seniors at no cost proved impractical due to limited contacts. I was able to perform some testing with younger users and made useful findings.
It wasn't a stretch to assume that senior users would encounter similar to worse challenges than those encountered by those I tested given the impairments common to their age group. The issues weakened the site's ability to communicate and fulfill its goal of conveying special hours, as well as in growing it's listing through user participation.
Work swiftly began with the goal of having all the problems tackled well before the virus's peak if it was going to be of help to those who needed it.
• Site was split into home, city, and resource pages
• Value proposition was made large and prominent
• Listings with logos and multiple info columns
• Buttons inviting contributions
The testing of the prototype fared well in terms of how it conveyed the value proposition and clarity of listings.
However, flaws were uncovered:
• The copy in and around buttons inviting participation did not match users's mental models
• Position of "Check Local Store" link drew too much attention too early on
• It was suggested by a designer that accessibility could be further enhanced
• Images on city buttons seemed superfluous and inappropriate to context
The next iteration of the prototype addressed the issues uncovered during testing.
User Test With Senior
I was able to test this iteration with a senior, which was extremely helpful in validating the design. Though they didn't have any trouble themselves, they did suggest to increase the font size of days and times for good measure. This was the only change made in the last iteration.
Additionally, it was discovered that the final implementation must force the scroll bar to be visible, something I have noted in prior experiences testing with middle-aged users.
The finalized third prototype was handed off to the developer. In an ideal world, there would have been time and resources to implement features I would've liked to include such as location services, search by zip code/address, sorting, and entry forms for store info. Nonetheless, this was a humbling learning experience and I hope that if implemented, it would be of help to others.