A Heuristic Evaluation
AMNH Explorer App
Investigate which usability issues
exist on AMNH's Explorer App
Diagnose usability issues that might impact a visitors experience when using the Explorer app to navigate the American Museum of Natural History.
American Museum of Natural History's Explorer App
The Explorer app is a free offering from the American Museum of Natural History which offers guests recommendations for what they should see, the turn-by-turn directions that will help them get there, and more information about exhibits.
The app has more than 100 thousand downloads on the Google Play store and an average rating of 3.9 stars across both Apple and Android devices. These stats make Explorer the third most popular museum app in the world behind the Rijksmuseum and the British museum applications.
A heuristic evaluation is a method for providing quick feedback that can be converted into a list of action items to solve.
Heuristics and Severity
The heuristic evaluation followed Nielsen's 10 heuristics (rules) for good interface design and were ranked by their severity 1-4.
Severity Rankings for Usability Issues
4: Major Problem: The issue is major and fixing it is a high priority
3: Problem: The issue causes pause in the user flow and should be fixed
2: Minor Problem: The issue is minor and fixing it is a low priority
1: Cosmetic Problem: The issue does not present that severe of a usability issue and therefore only needs fixing if time allows for it
Visibility of System Status
System and Real World
User Control and Freedom
Consistency and Standards
Recognition not Recall
Efficiency of Use
and Minimalist Design
Help Users Recognize, Diagnose and Recover
Help and Documentation
Top 10 Usability Issues Identified
H1, H7, H10
The map is too small for the user to interact with.
No way for a user to reset their interests back to default.
The locations on the map don't list what floor they are on.
Search only indicates the floor the exhibit is on.
No feedback to indicates the app saved the user's interests.
Search only returns results if the exact search term is entered.
Some map locations are hidden unless zoomed in on.
The list of exhibits on the Home page don't indicate the interests they relate to.
Images used to label map items get in the way of using the map.
No results are shown when the user searches for "Interests".
No context for why certain exhibits are recommended.
Map items do not indicate the interest they relate to.
No indication of how the user can interact with the map.