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Before diving straight into the testing, I performed a heuristic analysis to find areas of potential friction with the platform; specifically in the main menu and dashboard.


Finding flaws in the design of a piece of software that has been continuously improved since its inception is incredibly difficult. Google Analytics is a widely used application for both business and personal applications which helps website owners learn more about their traffic patterns, type of users, and their habits. The data produced by Google Analytics has the ability to strength the reach of the website owner and appeal to their audience in different ways.


In the absence of a users, conducting a heuristic evaluation allows for the analysis of a design with users in mind. While there are several sets of heuristics with which you can examine a piece of software, the below evaluation will illustrate my findings upon the conclusion of an evaluation specifically utilizing the ISO 9241 heuristics.

While all sets of heuristics were developed with the same goal, each set has nuanced differences. For instance, in a different set of standards, Nielsen’s Heuristics, the evaluation would be based on how likely a design is to prevent a user from making errors, as well as how easily the user may recover from an error that they made. While the ISO 9241 standards consider how easily a user could recover from making an error, there is no specific criteria for scrutinizing a design’s likelihood to prevent an error in the first place. The overall sentiment is very similar, but subtle variances may mean the difference between finding a flaw in a design or deeming the same design aspect completely acceptable.

The following will describe the Google Analytics interface and some of its most important functionality, as well as the findings after considering each of the seven ISO 9241 heuristics to the design. Each identified attribute will discuss how severe we found each flaw to be and the reason for the perceived severity as well as a description of the potential solutions to each problem if necessary


Each found item will be judged on a scale from 0-4


4 - Usability Catastrophe

3 - Major Usability Problem

2 - Minor Usabilty Problem

1 - Cosmetic Problem

0 - Not a Usability Problem


1. Suitability for the Task

  • 1 - Search bar was located in an obscure location with little indication one can type there. The color of the bar is the same as the rest of the page

    • Suggestion - I would propose this be moved to the top toolbar and shaded a different color  like the other search bars that appear throughout the platform







2. Self-Descriptiveness

  • 3 - received pop-up box with instruction, but it would disappear without action from me and I was unable to get it back. When I scrolled lower on the page, it popped up again in a different random spot.

    • Suggestion: This could potentially be solved by a hover box with the information when the user has their mouse pointer over a specific word or action that pertains to the action they can do













  • 0 - interface had roll-over labels when icons were displayed when another section was expanded

    • This is helpful when only icons are present. If a novice user is on the site, they do not have to work hard to understand the site.












3. Controllability

  • 0 - interface is self-paced; can control platform browsing

    • Able to seamlessly switch between tabs and date views


4. Conformity with User Expectations

  • 1 - Typically Google Settings is featured at the top right corner of the page by your profile. In Analytics, it is at the bottom of the main menu.

    • Suggestion: Iconography is the same throughout the Google Suite, I would just relocate the settings icon to the top toolbar, so users can use recall.


5. Error Tolerance

  • 3 - I was unable to find any section of the platform that provided error feedback or prompting, but I think that is in part because most of the interface is point and click. Since Google Analytics is collecting the information and displaying it in ways that relevant to each scenario, it is a very linear operation. For example, Behavior > Site Content > Content Drilldown. You choose the information you want to see, based on what it has collected

    • Suggestion: Allow users to experiment with what data it can view together; if does not work, the user should receive an error prompt with a suggestion on how to make feasible



















6. Suitability for Individualization

  • 2 - There is no opportunity to change the graphical representations of the data. When an item is added to the dashboard, it shows it to you in set comparisons: line chart, pie chart, bar chart by location.

    • Suggestion: I would suggest they add a feature that enables you to decide what you want to compare. Currently, it shows you comparisons across all the measurable fields and that might not what is most import. Allowing users to pick how/what is displayed is important.











  • 3 - Platform includes a "Customization" tab in the menu that allows you create custom dashboards, reports, and alerts, but it gives no explanation as to what these thigns are or how they can be used. if you have never made a report or an alert in the past, these sections are blank and provide no options 

    • Suggestions: Simple link to the instructions on how to create a report or alert would help here. 



7. Suitability for Learning

  • 2 - Custom date was locked into the setting whenever I would refresh the page

    • Suggestion: I would suggest the date rage include the current day or week. It should automatically update based on the date of your visit.

    • *this may be due from actions on my personal account, but regardless of account, date should reset to most relevant/current date*



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