How to create an interface inventory?
By Laure Gabrielle Chatenet
and Ousama Jaâfour
The interface inventory consists of breaking down all the elements that make up a web page: headers, menus, icons, buttons, images, videos, carousels, etc.
The term "interface inventory" was coined by Brad Frost. This concept is similar to content inventory. The difference is that the latter consists of surveying all the content of the website, on the other hand, the interface inventory only concerns the elements of a web or mobile interface.
This audit is useful in case of redesigning or optimizing the functionality of the digital device. It helps identify usability issues that limit the performance of a user interface.
What does the web interface inventory consist of?
The web interface inventory is a UX evaluation method that provides a detailed and complete vision of the qualities and defects of the digital interface.
It is a user-centered analysis method that evaluates the ergonomics of an interface. It is applied in an objective way on different interactive systems, such as websites, mobile applications or SaaS software, while referring to the ergonomic standards in force.
The user interface is the means of communication between the user and the system. It is also the tool that conveys the company's values to its audience. Therefore, carrying out this inventory makes it possible to table all the elements of the interface and to carry out all the comparisons and analyses necessary to control the health of this device.
See this interview with Carine Lallemand, Researcher in psychology and ergonomics of HMI at the University of Luxembourg on heuristic evaluation :
How to make an inventory of web interfaces?
Here are the main steps to perform the interface audit :
- Capture the different elements of the web interface, from the smallest detail to the largest.
- Choose the right tool to process the captures taken, such as PowerPoint or Keynote. It is also relevant to classify them according to categories such as: Call To Action, Navigation, Text, Media, etc. This helps to identify redundant, homogenous parts and those that present a certain maladjustment to the interface.
- This categorization identifies the elements that can be integrated when creating a modular system based on the reuse of components.
- Take color samples to determine the colors to be adjusted, in order to optimize the aesthetics of the interface.
- Document captures using sketches and tables to faithfully synthesize these images and provide informative recommendations.
- Prepares a complete restitution report detailing the observations made by the evaluator.
- Discuss the inventory report with the client, including interface functionality, different naming conventions, plug-ins, component libraries, etc..
Using tools for expert assessments - Interview with Franck Ferront
Capian: the solution for a complete interface inventory
Capian is the all-in-one tool for optimizing the interface evaluation process and making exchanges between remote collaborators more fluid.
Capian brings a new approach to evaluating user interfaces in a more structured and easy way, offering these benefits:
Easy interface snapshot
When browsing a site or mobile application, the evaluator can take captures through the chrome extension without having to leave the application. These captures greatly help the evaluator to easily identify interface usability issues.
The captures taken will be recorded in the evaluator's report on Capian.
All resources are centralized in one place, which is accessible to all employees. They can :
- Make their inventory report and edit it, at any time, by making annotations, marking the most important details, adding remarks, ordering and filtering the usability issues raised. This work provides an organized inventory report that is perfectly understandable by other collaborators. Capian also ensures better interoperability by offering the ability to import captures from other external tools. The evaluator can thus complete his report with the missing elements, without having to re-capture them.
- Simplify and optimize web interface revisions, helping to correct usability defects faster and create a better user experience.
- Prioritize interface revisions to optimize the planning of the evaluation process.
- Develop inventories in a timely manner and increase their credibility with their clients. This reinforces their confidence in their services.
Easy management of the report and inventory project
With capian, the person conducting the review can easily create his inventory report and easily manage his project.
Here are the tasks he can perform:
- Categorize your catches using criteria and tags.
- Add annotations and recommendations related to each finding.
- Classify its evaluation report in its project and update it if necessary.
- Share your report with your team using a private link with a password to discuss it via the integrated comment system.
- Export the inventory report in PDF or PowerPoint format.
- Organize and order your project according to the versioning system.
- Control the accessibility of your project. The evaluator can limit access to his projects and put them in read-only mode, in order to prevent their modification by his colleagues.
- Quickly search and find a given project, using the filters provided by the tool.
Synchronization between team members
The Capian tool guarantees a better cohesion between collaborators, through its centralized platform which ensures a user-friendly collaboration between the project actors. Team members can :
- Invite their colleagues or customers to participate in the project. They can add their own captures, add their comments, dissect projects and communicate in real time. This is an effective solution to replace e-mails and long meetings that often complicate the work process.
- Optimize team management by addressing the right accesses to the right users.
Capian offers other interesting features, such as :
- Customization options. The evaluator can adapt his report to his preferences. In addition, they can classify their captures according to custom criteria and tags. Alternatively, they can use standard UX criteria, like those from Jakob Nielsen or Bastien & Scapin available by default in Capian.
- Notifications that inform the reviewer whenever a colleague adds a capture to the report or sends a comment.
- The Capian application, which is available on Android and IOS.
See how you can review UX with Capian
Why should I conduct an interface inventory?
- Interface inventory is a profitable solution to enhance the performance of this device and the entire site or application in question. This audit is useful for :
- Ensure an optimal user experience (whatever the medium used: desktop or mobile), with reliable interaction, fluid and intuitive navigation, and readable and easily understandable content.
- Create an interactive, ergonomic and user-friendly user interface.
- Optimize the utility, usability, accessibility and emotional impact of the ihm interface.
- Improve the information architecture.
- Increase the level of user engagement, which in turn leads to an improvement in the conversion rate and in the ranking of the site on search results.
- Evaluate the consistency between the UI components of the interface, in terms of: graphic style, colors, typographical style, etc.
- Identify causes that reduce the effectiveness of the user experience: confusing navigation, non-functional button, long loading time for some UI components.
- Identify new features and innovative optimization opportunities.
- Build component modules that bring together a set of UI elements. This paves the way for building the style guides needed for the atomic design or the Design System of the device.
- Consolidate the work of the stakeholder team around a unified source of UI components, which is shared by all collaborators. This ensures better agility and coordination between team members.
- Identify the material and immaterial resources needed to carry out a redesign or renovation of the user interface. This also concerns the responsive aspect of the interface. Indeed, the inventory allows you to identify the pages that are easy or difficult to convert into responsive elements.
- Optimize design choices. The interface audit helps to make deliberate decisions about which elements to add or remove. The goal is to improve interactions with the GUI interface and increase user satisfaction.
The interface inventory is very effective in identifying inconsistencies between its elements and identifying ergonomic problems that hinder a good user experience.
Listing all the components of an HMI interface provides the team taking the inventory with a global vision of its structure and the hierarchy of its elements. This helps them to detect usability defects and potential optimizations more quickly.
Therefore, the most important objective of the user interface is to gain user satisfaction, through a pleasant UX. There are some powerful tools that consolidate this evaluation process, such as Google analytics.
Google Analytics is among the interesting tools to achieve a better User Experience Optimization (UXO), through some prominent indicators such as impressions, click rate and bounce rate. These KPIs highlight the engaging pages that generate more conversions and the less interesting pages that repel the user.
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