Interface Analysis

Cognitive Walkthrough

Task: Subscribe to a UX related course

Action Sequence:

i.Search the course


  1. Will the user know what to do? No-The user had to browse the entire website. Search option was not clear
  2. Will the user be able to see it? The search option was masqueraded as catalog option
  3. Will the user get feedback? Yes


ii. Find information about the course


  1. Will the user know what to do? Yes-Plenty of options were available in filters. After going in the appropriate category, the user pressed Ctrl+F
  2. Will the user be able to see it? Yes-The options are well highlighted and all the information is very prominent
  3. Will the user get feedback?  Yes


iii.Subscribe and pay

  1. Will the user know what to do? No-The cost option was the last page in the joining activity. User did not know what he was paying till the very end.
  2. Will the user be able to see it? No-The payment option looked like a dark pattern. Almost seemed disguised.
  3. Will the user get feedback? Yes



Click Analysis


I will try to implement a metric called the “Click Metric”, wherein I will count the number of clicks required by a user to complete a task. The idea here is to find a correlation between the number of clicks required to complete a task and user satisfaction. I will use joining “Machine Learning” (paid courses) as my task because Artificial Intelligence is a course common in all the websites that I will be using. Here, I will try to calculate the number of clicks it took me to complete the task and not the ideal number of clicks required. This task will be performed on Udacity, Coursera, Lynda and edX. I will further expand this idea as the assignment progresses.



Sr.No Website Clicks
1 Coursera 6
2 Udacity 9
3 edX 8
4 Lynda 6




Coursera and Lynda took 6 clicks for me to access the course. Here, it is interesting to note that Udacity took the maximum number of clicks. This was mainly because an user survey was attached along with the sign up. I will try to figure out ways to reduce the number of steps in future.




Heuristic Evaluation


Figure 1


Figure 2


Figure 3


Figure 4



Heuristic Evaluation as suggested by Nielsen of this website highlights some errors. In Figure 1, there are two places where I found that the criteria “Match between real world and the system” was not satisfied. The use of My classroom might seem obvious to an experienced user but for a user using the website for the first time, the usage could be very confusing. Also, nanodegree seems like a term that would be very familiar to the people who are well acquainted with the website but not for novice users. A section should be dedicated to what nanodegree means on the home page. Apart from that they have a catalog option which I feel is very inconsistent with the usual norm of having a search box.

In figure 2, they have dedicated a large chunk of their website to Data Science course. Other sections are pretty general and have nothing to do with a particular course. So, this does feel like a last minute decision to fill up space. This does not feel minimalist to me.

In figure 3, the large Udacity logo should redirect me back to the home page but it does not. That’s a pretty annoying navigation issue.

In figure 4, the webpage on the whole does not explain what exactly it is about. It leaves the user guessing which I personally did not like.


Personal thoughts and Competitor Analysis


Update: The website has been upgraded since I last performed a HA and CW on it. Now, on the home page it contains a video which explains what a nanodegree program is. Also, many other changes have been made on the home page. Thank god for screenshots! 🙂

So, now the Udacity website does have a very beautiful video explaining what their nanodegree program is about. But I still think that a blob explaining what their nanodegree program is would be better. If you are using a new term, an immediate explanation would feel very gratifying to the user.

Along with that, they still have not gotten rid of their catalog button. Sure, it makes sense. But the most important thing on an MOOC website is the “search course” functionality. And I would like that functionality to be present on the home page and not on some other page. For example, Coursera has a search option along with a catalog button as shown in the figure below.


Also, I did not find a Log in Option on Udacity like the one they have on Coursera. Log in and Sign up are pretty much standard options and the need to rename should never arise. They have substituted those two options with an ambiguous “My classroom” option. A first time user would find it confusing. Other than that, they have gotten rid of many things that I have pointed out in my analysis above which is a good sign as it shows I was on the right track.

Apart from this, I really like the design of Udacity strictly from a visual point of view when compared to Coursera and edX. It looks very appealing and inviting.


Like for example, it is pretty clear that Udacity design their own images for the courses while edX and Coursera let the course manager choose the thumbnail. This makes Udacity look much more aesthetically appealing than edX and Coursera.

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