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I am a front end developer, new to "user experience" world.

I got a web application which has usability issues, which I have to recreate as per usability point of view.

I referred many articles about user experience principles or usability, but I I don't understand how should I start?

I don't have any usability analysis or usability testing teams. Its only me who have to redesign the application.

BUT since I have been working on this application from long time and so I am very much familiar with this application, I don't find big challenges using it. Though I know few small things which are not very easy for a user to access, so those small things I can fix.

I have been creating new sketches for this application to redesign with better UX, But how do I know what I am creating is this really a good UX design?

Also since I know the old design and function, I end up creating new designs which are somehow similar to the old one.

Please suggest me the a good approach so I can create a nice UX web application!

  • 2
    How do you know this web application does have usability issues? – JonW Sep 16 '14 at 21:43
  • The question title is very (very) generic. It seems to me like a clear-cut 'close for being too broad' before I read the actual question. Could you please revise the title to be more specific to you case? – Izhaki Sep 17 '14 at 0:09
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Where to Start?

As the comment above asked, how do you know there are usability issues? Why is a redesign necessary? Are there new requirements or are the old ones not being met?

Is there any data/user feedback at all to suggest known problems or desired new features that you can start with? Is there any existing customer feedback mechanism (if not are you creating one)?

Focus on the main problem the app tries to solve & how you know it's working. What is its fundamental purpose (from the user's perspective, not sales or marketing, etc)? Is it doing that thing well or not, and why? Is there another issue customers would rather the app address instead?

Step Aside

Given that you're very familiar with the existing application, you might find it hard to "unlearn" its quirks and difficulties, or to see it objectively as a new user might. You know the expected uses, but perhaps not the unique ways people really use it. The only way to address this is to talk to actual users of the app (or close enough).

Cheapo Usability Testing

If you haven't already, try to find "Don't Make Me Think" and/or "Rocket Surgery Made Easy" by Steve Krug for a quick, cheap, Do-It-Yourself approach to usability testing. The general idea follows:

  1. Find "real" users of the app (or people who fit the target market) and ask them for 15-min to complete 1-2 simple tasks. "Can you use this app to accomplish X? [Done.] Ok, now how about Y?" Let them know your goal is to get honest feedback about the software, not test their ability to use it. This is a 1-on-1 exercise, not a group activity.

  2. Ask them to speak out loud as they explain what they're doing and why. At the very least, take good notes, but ideally ask permission to record video for later reference (get a signed release if necessary).

  3. Just watch how they actually interact with the app as they complete each task. Only offer help if asked or they're hopelessly lost. Try to identify the things that leave them confused, angry, happy, etc. Do your assumptions match what they think/do? Do they try to swipe when you expect them to tap? Does the app's structure lead them where you expect it to, or somewhere else?

  4. Don't spend time asking wide-open questions like "what do you think about this?" or "do you like this color for the interface?" Everybody will give you a different vague answer anyway. Try to elicit clear, actionable feedback you can work with.

  5. When they're done, ask them if things made sense, if the tasks were easy/hard to complete, and what they might specifically change to make it better. Implement what you can & try again later.

Spend a few hours doing this with 5~10 people and you'll have tons more info than you have now! :) Hopefully you'll get some consistent input, which can help guide your design decisions. Repeat the process at least a few more times as you work through the redesign.

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Find some representative users and 'test' it on them (watch them using your tasks on your site) - you'll learn a lot.

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You can't fix what you don't know is broken. As you state, your intimacy with the product means you're likely not an unbiased critic.

So, as for where to start, find out what doesn't work for your audience. Start with some questionnaires or interviews or surveys. Talk to the support desk to see what questions they are asked the most. Find out if there is a feedback email account and read through the user feedback.

Once you figure out what to fix, try and ifx it.

Then to find out if it's good UX, test, test, test.

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