Client | Bayer Crop Science
Date | May 2023 – Aug 2023
During my time with Bayer Crop Science, their customer IT team was preparing to launch a new grower-facing site to act as a one-stop hub for information about traits, seeds, programs, etc. With user testing off the table, a heuristic review was the next best option to catch any usability issues on the site. A researcher and I combed through the site to identify any issues and report back to the developers.
We found upwards of one hundred usability issues throughout the whole site, and here I have listed eight of the most notable ones, each addressing a different heuristic from Jakob Nielson’s 10 Usability Heuristics.
1. visibility of system status
The design should always keep users informed about what is going on.
When you are in a page that you navigated to through the top header, there is little indication to tell which tab you are in once you are on the page. For a brand like Dekalb who sells corn seeds, the tab of either “Traits”, “Seeds”, or “Brands” could be a relevant sub-header to be under.
A slight highlight on the occupied sub-header is an easy and subtle way to remind the user where in the website they are.
2. match between system and the real world
Follow real-world conventions, making information appear in a natural and logical order.
When the dropdown for the header opens, it doesn’t animate from above – it slides in from the side. This is counter to what the user expects will happen based on the arrows.
Animate the menu coming down from the top.
3. user control and freedom
Users often perform actions by mistake. They need to be able to leave the unwanted action without an extended process.
There are many links on the site, including in the sub-headers, where the user is taken out to a secondary site. Not only is this somewhat jarring to the user, but it is also an accessibility issue. Screen readers aren’t good at indicating if a new tab is opened, and this is an error that is difficult to recover from.
Either an in-between page that notifies you you are being taken to another site (like found on many forums when you are linked out), or button wording that implies you are being taken elsewhere (ex. Watch on Youtube).
4. consistency and standards
Users should not have to wonder whether different words, situations, or actions mean the same thing.
For the same action, there are several discrepancies in how the action, input, and outcome is labeled.
Make the wording consistent across all points where this action can be completed.
5. error prevention
The best designs carefully prevent problems from occurring in the first place.
The button in the middle is still clickable despite being nonfunctional. It shoots the user to back to the top of the page.
The button is marked as “coming soon”, but this is not enough to prevent the user from making an error. The button should be in a disabled state or completely removed to prevent the user from making this mistake.
6. recognition rather than recall
Minimize the user’s memory load by making objects, actions, and options visible.
The Field Checkup Series contains several pages for the user to navigate to. However, you can only navigate to one page from the other with a link at the bottom of each page, and there is no indication what number step you are on once you are on a new page.
Including a stepper like shown in the preview photo on each page would provide more context to which step the user is at.
7. flexibility and efficiency of use
Shortcuts may speed up the interaction for that design.
On the Channel Page, when the “Find My Seedsman” button is clicked, the user is taken to the general seed page instead of the Channel seed page.
Making the button take the user right to the Channel seed page better aligns with what the user is expecting, and reduces the amount of clicks the user must make.
8. aesthetic and minimalist design
Interfaces should not contain information that is irrelevant or rarely needed.
On the footer of every single page is a huge block of text. The information is for several different products that are not shown on every page, making much of the text irrelevant. The text block includes links, which are incompatible on the purple background.
The information in the disclaimer should be relevant only to what is on the page.