For this usable design analysis I looked at the Surf Incubator website at http://www.surfincubator.com/. Surf Incubator is a startup incubator and co-working space in Seattle.
Criteria #1: Are navigational elements clear?
The gray navigation bar at the top of the homepage is obvious and intuitive. It has 7 top level navigation links to important topics like “Tour”, “Cafe”, and “Events.” Some of the navigation links have additional sublinks, which is made obvious by the arrow icon next to the navigation link. The navigation bar has a gray background which contrasts with the white background so it catches the eye of the user.
Criteria #2: Is content presented with clear hierarchies?
Yes, the navigational menu provides clues to the organizational structure of the website’s pages. The drop down menus under the links “Community”, “Events”, and “Join Us” show that there is more information to read about within these categories.
Criteria #3: Do I know what I’m looking at on each page?
There is a heading at the top of each page describing what the page is about.
On the Cafe page, there are two rows of photos of the cafe immediately following the heading. This shows the user what the cafe looks like but you have to scroll down to learn that the cafe is a membership plan where users receive free coffee and can work alongside 160 startup employees. This important information about what the cafe offers may be useful if added right after the heading.
The page title is also highlighted in the navigation menu based on the page the user is currently viewing.
Criteria #4: Can I see there is more content if I scroll down?
The only indicator that there is more content below the fold is when the content is cut off abruptly.
On the Membership Levels page, there is too much white space between the first row and second row of membership levels. This can cause the user to mistakenly think that there is no more additional content lower on the page.
Criteria #5: Do I know where I am in this website?
There are good cues to indicate where the user is on the website such as the large blue headings and the highlighting of the active tab.
There are no breadcrumbs on the site, however they are probably not necessary since the webpages only go two levels deep.
Clicking on the logo in the top left corner will return the user to the home page. The site could add a “Home” link to the navigation menu to provide users another path back to the home page.
Criteria #6: Am I presented with clear, easily understand content blocks?
The content blocks are kept to short paragraphs without any intimidating walls of text.
One thing that could help usability is to use h2 headings above each paragraph to provide a way for users to scan for the information they are looking for. The above example uses headings that are centered and capitalized which is a subtle clue, but the headings could stand out more if they were bolded and a different color.