Usability Test: Udacity

The website I chose for this report is which provides web development and computer science courses.


Test subjects were asked to perform the following four tasks while verbalizing their thoughts.

1. Show me how you would sign up for an account

2. Enroll in the free “Front End Frameworks” course

3. Watch a video lecture (you don’t have to watch the entire video)

4. Navigate to the home dashboard that displays your progress in your courses

Test purpose: To determine if new users can get started with Udacity courses without difficulty.

Test methods: Record screencasts of test subjects.

Test number and demographics: 3 individuals in the 20-60 age range.


Task1: Show me how you would sign up for an account

The user had no problem finding the link at the top named “Sign Up.” There were only four fields so it was very obvious to the user that they had to input a first name, last name, email, and password. The user did not realize that she could have signed up using Facebook until after she had already signed up for an account.

Task2: Enroll in the free “Front End Frameworks” course

The user struggled initially to find the course titled “Front End Frameworks.” She eventually found a button titled “View Catalog” on the page “My Classroom.” Initially she commented that there were a lot of courses and started scrolling through the list. After a minute she realized she could use the search box and also filter by “Free Courses.”

Task3: Watch a video lecture (you don’t have to watch the entire video)

The first video started playing automatically so she had no trouble starting the first lecture video.

Task4: Navigate to the home dashboard that displays your progress in your courses

The user did not immediately realize how to navigate to the dashboard. She clicked on several links that did not take her to the dashboard such as “Resources” and the navigation menu icon. She finally clicked on “< Front End Frameworks" and it took her to the dashboard that listed courses she was enrolled in.

Next Steps

The user did not realize that she could sign up using Facebook but would have preferred that method rather than using an email and password. Perhaps more prominent text could announce that Facebook login is available.


The user could not immediately find the course “Front End Frameworks” and it took a minute to realize there is a search box at the top and filters on the left. The search box may be easy to miss because of the style of the input box with light colors and thin lines. This looks aesthetically pleasing but may cause users to not see that there is a search box available. A possible A/B test could be to make the search box stand out more and check how users respond.


The user had trouble finding the link to navigate to the dashboard that displays current classes. The user probably would have found it if my task described the dashboard as the homepage because there is a large home icon on the left. So I don’t consider that a problem with the UX. The user may or may not know that the current classes would be on the home page.

More Notes

The home page is focused primarily on getting people interested in the “Nanodegree” and it isn’t until three quarters down the home page that you find information about free courses.


The primary goal seems to be to get visitors to sign up for a nanodegree rather than to enroll in a free course as almost all of the home page content is about nanodegrees.

The about page succinctly describes their mission to bring affordable education to the masses.


When you click on the Nanodegree link on the homepage it brings you to a clean and well-organized page with more information about Nanodegrees in general and links to learn more about specific Nanodegrees.


I like that the content is scannable because it is broken up into small chunks of information. You can quickly learn about the most important points like that you will receive a 50% refund if you graduate within 12 months and you are guaranteed a job within 6 months with the Nanodegree Plus.

Udacity has chosen to make it difficult to learn the fact that the Nanodegree can be taken for free through the free courses. I believe the $199 per month is for support from instructors, a forum, and a certificate of achievement but the curriculum is the same.

This information is hidden and actually on a separate website (Zendesk).


This seems like a business decision to not advertise the free version more clearly but I still like that the curriculum is available for free.

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