Heuristic Evaluation of Montreal Tax Expert Website
A journey into a Heuristic Evaluation of www.montrealtaxexpert.com and how it would impact on client reach and booking process.
Team

  • Hayden Duong
  • Kim Papillon
  • Alex Kato
Role

Heuristic Analyst, UI Designer
Tools

Figma, FigJam
Timeline

2 Weeks | November 1 - 16
Problem Space
When evaluating a local financial firm, montrealtaxexpert.com we noticed some potential usability issues which are likely negatively affecting new and returning clients. The current booking process for your services could be considered rather complex and unfamiliar.
00 - Prologue
The Solution
Easy to Navigate Interface
Services are all laid out with each to navigate around. Includes an on screen tax calculator for users to trial the service. Lastly, concludes with testimonials that can validate Daniel's service and reputation.
Intuitive & Direct Interface
Always know which services that Daniel offers and include direct details on the cost and any other prerequisites need to perform a particular service.
Secured Transaction Process
Clients will be able to input their personal information with confidence.
01 - How the journey began
Context
Executive Summary

My team believes that the current booking process may be negatively impacting bounce rates and reducing the number of appointments booked each tax season.


We evaluated if the design could relieve or create additional stress to the already complicated tax process. We also evaluated how easy it would be to find necessary information for someone preparing their taxes for the first time. Along with if the website presented a sense of security and reassurance for inputting sensitive personal information.


We discovered that though all the necessary information for filing, booking and preparing a tax return was listed on the website, the structure and process of obtaining the information created an excess cognitive load on the user due to how it was presented. We also discovered the overload of information made it unclear if we thoroughly and correctly understood all steps in the process.


With consideration for the 6 heuristics we have identified, we believe taking a minimalist approach to a redesign, providing a predictable and logical booking flow, as well as providing customers with clear access to important information will help to optimize the conversion process, increase customer satisfaction and generate more revenue.


Our top priority would be in simplifying the content to make the tax preparation task feel less interruptive. Based on the law of UX Zeigarnik effect, users are more likely to remember a task that was difficult to execute. Due to this, referral rates and user retention are at risk when users remember the process as being difficult and are unlikely to recommend the services.

Business Goals
Our goals for the overall project and what we want to this design to impact

Maintain Customer Retention

Gain Additional Referrals

Increase Key Performance Metrics

Who is Daniel Katev?

Daniel Katev is financial security advisor with over 20 years of experience that services both residential and corporate clients; offering a variety of financial services to his community.

Residential and Corporate Tax Preparations

Delivers and prepares Tax Preparations towards the annual tax return season.

Financial Consultations

Offer financial advice regarding home buying, pension, and overall general concerns.

Certified Mortgage Broker & Mutual Fund Representative

Offers investment services and mortgage quotes & services.

Laws of UX Design

Before conducting the analysis, our team's objectives are to review and understand the fundamentals of the Law of UX Design. So that we can have a critical eye when analyzing and it will help us later during the redesign phase.

Did you Know!
According to Jakobs Law of UX, customers expect websites to work in a similar manner,
94%
Attributed their sense of uneasiness and lack of trust to a website’s design.
02 - Let see what the issue is
Usability Heuristics

A heuristic evaluation is an inspection method used to identify usability issues associated with the user interface.


Our evaluation on usability was guided by the 10 laws of heuristics which are mental shortcuts used in decision making.

1
Visibility of System Status
The system should always keep users informed about what is going on, through appropriate feedback within a reasonable time.
2
Match between system and the real world
The system should speak with words, phrases and concepts familiar to the user.
3
User Control and Freedom 
Users often choose system functions by mistakes and will need a clearly marked "emergency exit" to leave the unwanted stated without having to go through an extended dialogue.
4
Consistency and standards
Users should not have to wonder whether different words, situations, or actions mean the same thing.
5
Error Prevention
A careful design which prevents a problem form occurring in the first place.
6
Recognition rather than recall
Minimize the user's memory load by making objects actions, and options visible. The user should not have to remember information from one part of the dialogue to another.
7
Flexibility and efficiency of use
Accelerators that are unseen by the novice user which also often speed up the interaction for expert user. Allows users to tailor frequent actions.
8
Aesthetic and minimalist design
Dialogue should not contain information which are irrelevant or rarely needed.
9
Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors
Error messages should be expressed in plain language (no codes), precisely indicate the problem constructively suggest a solution.
10
Help and documentation
Any such information should be easy to search, focused on the user's task, list concrete steps to be carried out and not be too large.
Heuristic Severity Scale

We rated these issues on a severity scale, beginning with 0 as not a usability issue until 4 which is a usability catastrophe.

0 - Not a Usability Problem
1 - Cosmetic Problem only
2 - Minor Usability Issue
3 - Major Usability Issue 
4 - Usability Catastrophe
03 - WE have a problem
Identified Heuristics & Recommendations
Objective
Our objective was to conduct an internal audit individually on the website, taking notes on usability and visual issues. Once the audit is finished, we got back together and shared our findings and decide areas of priority.
Screen 1 - "Home Screen"

Aesthetic and Minimalist Design (Severity 3)
All of the information is competing for relevance and visibility, taking away from the task, and increasing cognitive load.

Recommendations:
Establish a clear hierarchy of tasks by using a consistent language, font, and color.



Screen 2 - "Book an Appointment: Splash Screen"

Consistency and Standards (Severity 2)
Underlined text is used to denote a hyperlink as well as place emphasis, users will be unsure of which is which on any given page.

The hyperlink redirects users to a separate site which increases the steps required to complete the task and may impact the user’s trust.

Recommendations:

Replace external link with internal solution to reduce the steps required to book an appointment.

Screen 3 - "Book an Appointment: Service List"

Help and Documentation (Severity 2 )
The chevrons indicate a dropdown but cannot be expanded, there is no additional information for the user to access.

Recommendations:
Add any office updates, announcements, CTAs to help the user.



Screen 3 - "Book an Appointment: Select your service"

Help and Documentation (Severity 2 )

Drop-down text presents redundant information about the appointment and doesn’t provide any additional information on the approximate total cost for the appointment.



Recommendations:
Remove unnecessary information and provide clarity to the total cost of the service and initial deposit.


Screen 4 - "Schedule an Appointment"

Visibility of System Status (Severity 2)

After we have selected our service, we are prompted to select a time. The breadcrumb shows our current step in the process, however, no location was selected by the user.


The booking process has progressed without the user making a decision.


Recommendations:

Provide users with the option to choose and confirm location of appointment.





Screen 5 - "Enter Personal Details

Error and Prevention (Severity 4)

A client could go through the entire booking process and input the incorrect contact information, failing to complete the booking.


Recommendations:

Provide instructions to correct errors and progress forward.

Screen 6 - "Payment Details"

Recognition Over Recall (Severity 3)

The user should not have to remember information from one part of the dialogue to another.


Consistency and Standards (Severity 4)

The user may stop at this stage if the payment screen looks unfamiliar or lacks security.


Recommendations:

Add summary and confirmation of appointment selected.


04 - ideation time
Design Exploration & Prioritization
An easy and informative sequence of steps is imperative to reducing bounce rate and optimizing conversions. We have Identified issues and prioritized them with consideration for where customers were most likely to abandon the booking process. In doing so, we hope to increase the number of appointments booked, customer satisfaction, and ultimately revenue.
What to prioritize now?
We identified 6 unique heuristic categories and prioritized 8 in total. We used a design prioritization matrix to organize issues by effort and impact. With consideration for where customers were most likely to abandon the booking process, as well as screens that were unfamiliar or inconsistent

Concept Sketches
Below are our sketches of our proposed low fidelity solutions that we have came up with individually. Our focus to have a minimalist layout and intuitive user flow.
Sketches into wireframe
Once we have our concept sketches finished, we then transition them into a collection wireframe where it focuses on the user booking an appointment.
05 - Redesign
Time for a transformation
"Proposed" Home Screen

Initially, all the information was competing for relevance and visibility, making it difficult for the user to know where to begin. Additionally, this screen failed an accessibility test.


Our new design is separated into a familiar layout according to the aesthetic-usability effect, a UX law which states that users often perceive aesthetically pleasing designs as more usable.

"Proposed" Service Selection

After clicking ‘book and appointment’ on the original top navigation, the user was brought to an interim page which provided 3 external links to continue the booking process and on the next screen chevrons incorrectly indicated that there was additional information to be accessed which we categorized as Help and documentation (Severity 2).


In our redesign, we kept in mind Miller’s Law, which states the average person can only keep 7 items in their working memory, and consolidate information from the previous screens.

"Proposed" Schedule Appointment

Previously, after the user had selected a service, they were prompted to select a date and time. The breadcrumb showed their current place, however no location was selected by the user, and the steps had progressed without the user’s input. But in our redesign, we included previous selections in the stepper to aid with information recall and gave the user the ability to select their appointment location, date and time in a format that is easy to visually scan.

"Proposed" Schedule Appointment

Our redesigned payment screen is simplified into three heuristic issues that were in the original flow.


  • Error Prevention (Severity 4)

Initially the form field did not check for email authentication. A user could go through the entire process and input the incorrect information resulting in an unsuccessful booking.


  • Consistency and standards (Severity 4)

Originally the processing screen did not ask for a billing address. The user may stop right at the end if they feel it unsafe to input payment information in this unfamiliar form.


  • Recognition over recall (Severity 3)

Originally we were not shown our appointment selection summary nor clarity on what exactly the user was paying for.

"Proposed" Schedule Appointment

Lastly we added a confirmation screen so that the user does not have to recall and will have additional options to proceed.

The Results
In finishing the redesign, we hope to able to address the core issues of motrealtaxexpert.com's website and increase the following metrics.
-1-
Increased Number of Appointments Booked
-2-
Customer Satisfaction
-3-
Increase Revenue
07 - Key LEarnings & next Step
Conclusion
Key Learnings
  • Users need a clear indication of each step they took previous to get to where they are now.
  • Remain consistent across the flow for a single task, avoid surprises or drastic changes.
Next Steps
  • Evaluate the page’s Search Engine Optimization to ensure your site can be found easily on search engines.
  • Review website traffic and google analytics after the redesign is implemented.
  • Create a secondary website redesign to administer A/B testing.
08 - Style Guide
Behind the Scenes
Thank you for reading!
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