I had an interview for a summer position at the Soon offices in Gamla Stan. Soon’s developers describe the app as “your everyday bucket list, a place to keep and discover things that will enrich your life.” Whereas the interview was for an app developer role with React Native, I took the opportunity to show that my training in Human Computer Interaction and Design could also be of value by giving him some feedback on UX/UI Design. As an extra, I could also complete this “Help a Start-up” assignment and kill two birds with one stone.
The image on the left shows the first interface feedback that I was able to provide to Soon. Here the app fails at one of Nielsen’s 10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design – Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors. This error occurs when a user cancels Facebook login, an exception that the app is not expecting and an error from which the app is not able to recover nor to show users how recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors.
The next screen is what users see as soon as they open Soon. I also believed that this interface could use some suggestions. I inquired about the reason for having an empty space on the top-left corner, where the “sandwich menu” would traditionally be positioned. My interviewer, Carl, told me that such a space would be filled out with a profile picture if I had logged into the app. I suggested adapting the interface to have the menu on the left, where users would expect it to be. An eventual circular profile picture could be in the center of the top bar.
I also asked about the airplane icon next to the sandwich menu. If “Cities” is a category, why should it occupy such a highlighted position? I also told him that the first screen the app should shows should be one that presents exciting recommendations in terms of movies, books, music, etc – Most people have somehow of a memory of what they have saved on their lists, and they will only resource to it from time to time. Showing new possibilities could possibly engage users into spending more time in the app discovering their new favorites.
The next screen shows one of the app’s categories. I suggested that although white space can be beneficial, this interface could be wasting some precious vertical space. Instead of having an entire line for the close button, they could have a < Back button on the left and the search controls on the top right, where it is normally found in interfaces. The location icon could also be on the same line, and its input control could possibly be shown only after the location icon would be tapped.
Another Nielsen’s heuristic is violated in this interface: Visibility of system status. When the Add + button is pressed, users get no indication that such an action was successfully completed. In most cases such a button would change its visual state to indicate a new status.