How can we measure our design quality and improve future design work?

This project took a step back to take a step forward. We assessed workflows across our products and services through an in-depth heuristic review process and produced design quality scores to start a meaningful conversation about the state of our user experience. The design quality scores were used to baseline our experience and now serve as a reference in our efforts to improve the user experience.


Heuristic reviews were conducted for a large number of workflows that represented the experience of our users across all products and services. Each workflow was given a severity score upon completion of the review process using Nielsen's ten heuristics.

The heuristic review process itself was supported by an intra-heuristic guidebook that further operationalized each heuristic and ensured all reviewers were working from a similar heuristic definition. While all of the research team supported the entirety of this project - this was my major contribution.

The intra-heuristic guidebook was created through a review of current heuristic issues and desktop research pertinent to each of Nielsen's 10 heuristics.

The intra-heuristic codes were also used to code over 3000 findings to gain a more complete picture of where we should focus our UX improvements.

Findings from this process were presented weekly in the form of a workflow audit, along with several summative reports and visuals to highlight key insights.


Member of heuristic review design research team, lead design researcher for creation of intra-heuristic guidebook


  • The design quality score and heuristic review process provided a common language for all product teams to use when speaking about the state of user experience.

  • The design quality score made it clear that current company services are not up to contemporary user experience standards.

  • The heuristic review process and full guidebook have been adapted for scrum team work and now serve as a checkpoint in the design process.

  • The heuristic guidebook broke down the Nielsen's 10 heuristics for those who were less familiar with the definition of use of heuristics.

  • Engagement with the user experience team increased as the heuristic review process provided a framework and process that people outside of UX could clearly see the value of.