We want your input on our Web Site Review!

Adele-Sage [Posted by Adele Sage]

We’re updating our Web Site Review methodology, and we want your help.

We have a set of 25 heuristics that we think are pretty good. But we’re looking for feedback from you folks, specifically:

  • Ideas for new, better heuristics that could replace some of the existing ones.
  • Research that would either shed new light on or disprove the existing heuristics.
  • Examples of business results that would support or disprove the existing heuristics.

Here are the criteria (for detailed background on each one, check out the Reviewer’s Guide):


1. Does the landing page(s) provide evidence that user goals can be completed?

2. Is essential content available where needed?

3. Is essential function available where needed?

4. Are essential content and function given priority in the display?


5. Are category and subcategory names clear and mutually exclusive?

6. Do menu categories immediately expose or describe their subcategories?

7. Are items classified logically?

8. Is the task flow efficient?

9. Is the wording in hyperlinks and controls clear and informative?

10. Are keyword-based searches comprehensive and precise?


11. Does the site use language that’s easy to understand?

12. Does the site use graphics, icons, and symbols that are easy to understand?

13. Is text legible?

14. Does text formatting and layout support easy scanning?

15. Do layouts use space effectively?

16. Are form fields and interactive elements placed logically in the display?

17. Are interactive elements easily recognizable?

18. Do interactive elements behave as expected?

19. Does the site accommodate the user’s range of hand-eye coordination?


20. Does the site present privacy and security policies in context?

21. Do location cues orient the user?

22. Does site functionality provide clear feedback in response to user actions?

23. Is contextual help available at key points?

24. Does the site help users avoid and recover from errors?

25. Does the site perform well?

Any suggestions? Post a comment here to get the discussion going, or send me an email at asage at forrester.com.



re: We want your input on our Web Site Review!

I've always thought it needs something about accessibility or multi-device. How well does the site perform a) without Flash b) without any images c) without any JavaScript and d) on other devices (e.g. smart phones).But maybe this isn't technically to do with the User Experience.Jon

re: We want your input on our Web Site Review!

Some comments1bis - Is it clear from every page where a user may land from a search engine, what is the general purpose of the site and of the page? is navigation to the home "as usual" in the top-left corner?18bis, 22bis, 25bis - When there is a huge "pretty" flash animation/intro is there a clearly visible way to skip it, even on small screens?Additional, use:- is it easy for a visitor to print the page and get a meaningful result?- is there an easy to use search engine of site content? for the leading keywords that send visitors to the site: does the internal search engine provide at least the same answers than the external engines (eg, metatags keywords)Additional, technology:- How does the display of main pages performs-- on Windows: 2 last versions of IE, 2 last versions of FF, last version of Chrome-- on Mac: 2 last versions of IE, 2 last versions of FF, 2 last versions of Safari-- on Linux: 2 last versions of FFie a total of 13 versions

re: We want your input on our Web Site Review!

I believe the current approach is good but this is a great opportunity to advance the criteria from a traditional web site view to a more dynamic version. A traditional criteria will encourage companies to produce online brochures and not push the online experience to its full potential.It mainly needs to reflect how people use the web today, how they interact with a brand, how content gets created, and how well the technology is used.ValueDoes it take a customer-centric view of the content and tasks? or does it reflect the company creating a siloed structure?Does it provide a simple but innovative way to achieve the main tasks?Does it focus on the core objectives or does it provide large number of features that no one uses?Branding the experienceDoes the experience reflects what the brand stands for or want to be known as? (innovators, passionate etc)Does the site experience feels unified across all areas, all channels and devices?Does the search results go beyond a long list of links for the user to figure out by themselves?ContentDoes it facilitate the content distribution that creates advocacy?Can the users contribute, comment and help shape the message?Does the site allows for multiple ways to experience the content? (Video, text, PDF, Podcast etc)Is the content written for the web or is it a copy of the printed version?Does it provide both a top-down (hierarchical) and bottom-up (topic based) approach to finding the content?TechnologyDoes it reduce the visual clutter by displaying extra content, links and actions only when the user interacts with an area/element/feature?Does the technology gets on the way of a good experience or does it add value?Does it have a Beta approach to new innovations?Good luck with your project and keep the good work!

re: We want your input on our Web Site Review!

Thanks for all the great comments, everyone. And keep 'em coming.A few things to note that may be useful for you to know about the methodology:1) It's designed to be implementation-agnostic. So we don't want to be prescriptive in HOW companies should do things on their sites. We are just looking for flaws in usefulness and usability that then impact the business results associated with the site.2) We have a Web Site Brand Review (www.forrester.com/cxpbenchmark) that looks at how well a site fits with the company's stated brand attributes. The Web Site Review itself isn't looking at the any of the branding elements.3) In this type of expert review, we always conduct the review through the lens of users trying to accomplish goals, and we tie the results to actionable recommendations for improvements that will, in turn, affect the business results.I've been getting a lot of feedback on your general thoughts (which is great of course!). Do any of you have suggestions for research to check out?Thanks!