Apple Usability Case Study

Project Name: Apple Usability Case Study

The Goal

Find solutions to recurring usability issues that a majority of users ran into on the Apple website and show what a more user-friendly experience would be like.

Methodology:

Overview: Google Forms and Optimal Workshop’s online card sorting tool were used throughout the research in order pinpoint various problems as pointed out by our participants. Most participants did succeed in their tasks when they were tested on redesigned mockups.

User Research: Eight participants were tested through a survey hosted on Google forms. Four were 55+, two were 45-54, and two 18-24. Average visits to Apple's websites happened around once a week for each participant. Users said the main reason for visiting would be to find product information and support. The average impression of Apple’s website ranged from average to below average.

Card Sorting: To analyze Apple’s information architecture, the generative research method of a an open card sort was used. OptimalSort, an online card sorting tool, was utilized. Due to Apple’s somewhat confusing existing architecture, the decision was made to allow the user to create their own categories based on where they think the information would be organized.

Usability Testing:

Questions were created based on heuristic evaluations and major concerns addressed by the initial user research survey. Eight participants were tested on redesigned mockups and data collected involved observations, comments made by each participant, the success or failure of task, and the time took to complete the task.

Redesigned Apple Homepage

The redesigned mockups kept the overall feel and look of the design the same because Apple has strong branding. A product slider was added to showcase the different products they offered if users were not browsing for anything in particular. Streaming, OS, Account, and Support were added to the navigation.

Results

While a majority of users did succeed in the tasks, participants 55+ had some difficulties with the concept of streaming so it was recommended that TV and music stay separate from each other. An alternative solution might be needed because of the initial confusion with Watch/TV relationship and how people thought music was iTunes.

All tasks relating to the new accessories and account page were completed successfully by most participants so it is suggested that these changes are kept. Apple’s contact information needs more prevalent and clear, as most people wanted support information easily accessible. As only one user recognized that the bag icon was a shopping cart, it is recommended that the bag icon be changed to the universal shopping cart icon.

The Challenges

Developing improved redesigned mockups that would satisfy the needs of a user from Apple's target audience.

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