How to QA a Visual Design, a guide for an Interaction Designer

I found recently that one of my knowledge/skill gaps was in working with our visual designer. Knowing how to give her constructive feedback was something I realised I was lacking, I didn’t know how to talk about visual language, I didn’t know what to look for. I didn’t want to comment on the emotional aspects of the design but more on the functional elements. I decided to look in to graphic design theory, and the visual aspects of usability and accessibility. After doing so I came up with this kind of check list, I think the act of writing it instilled most of the knowledge but having it as a reference in the future should be good b/c my mind is like a sieve sometimes, especially when working on more than one project.

——————————————————————————————————————–

The Checklist

This is a guide of what to look at in a visual design, to check it is usable, accessible and follows graphic design standards.

It is based on http://www.maxdesign.com.au/articles/checklist/, our company VCD process and research into visual/graphic design techniques and standards.

Some of the guides are more strict and specific than necessary; they’re really included more as a reminder or reference for future phases of the development.

S.M.P (single minded proposition)

Does the design follow the single sentence that summarises the focus of the design; has it been a reference point for all design decisions, ensuring a clear message?

Visual Hierarchy

Is there a clear visual hierarchy?
Organise and prioritise the contents of a page by using size, prominence and content relationships Is the visual hierarchy correct, do the colours and sizing of elements convey their level of importance correctly? Do the navigation elements and key elements stand out against the contextual elements?

Max Design Checklist:  Basic Usability

  1. Are heading levels easy to distinguish?
  2. Is the design’s navigation easy to understand?
  3. Is the design’s navigation consistent?

Perceived Affordance

Do the links look like they should be clicked? Do the buttons look like they should be pushed?

“The property of an object or system’s action possibilities being easily discoverable” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affordance “To maximize the perceived affordance of clickability,” http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20040510.html

Max Design Checklist:  Basic Usability

  1. 1. Are links underlined?  
  2. Are visited links clearly defined?
  3. Does the design reflect the brand values?
  4. Does it use the brand colours correctly?
  5. Is the logo used according to guidelines?
  6. Does the design reflect the tone of the brand if this was required?

Branding

  1. Does the design reflect the brand values?
  2. Does it use the brand colours correctly?
  3. Is the logo used according to guidelines?
  4. Does the design reflect the tone of the brand if this was required?

Appropriateness

Is the design suitable and appropriate for its purpose.

  1. Does the design reflect its audience?
  2. Does the design reflect the industry it is part of?
  3. Does the design reflect the business? (not necessarily it’s language or structure though)

This is achieved by using language and imagery that reflects the audience and industry, which they will be able to use and recognise.

Max Design Checklist:  Basic Usability

  1. Does the design use consistent and appropriate language?

Typography

Does the typography of the design suit users reading methods, is the text easy to read and scan.

  1. Does the site use web safe fonts? If not how will elements be treated on the page?
  2. Does the hierarchy work? e.g.  Heading, Sub-heading Paragraph
  3. Does the line spacing work – do lines look appropriately related and separated, are they easy to read?
  4. Is the contrast of the text enough?
    http://juicystudio.com/services/luminositycontrastratio.php
  5. Are elements emphasised correctly?
  6. Does the size and combination of the font of the text make it readable?
  7. Is the font legible (serif, sans serif)?
  8. How is the line height, is the text readable?
  9. Is there enough white space, can the text breath?
  10. Sentence case? Title case? Is it consistent?

Colour

Ensure that all information conveyed with colour is also available without colour, for example from context or markup.  Web Content Accessibility Guidelines – checkpoint 2.1

Max Design Checklist:  Accessibility for users

  1. Is there sufficient colour brightness/contrasts?
  2. Is colour alone used for critical information?
  3. Are red and green used to differentiate elements

“There are basically three types of colour deficiency; Deuteranope (a form of red/green colour deficit), Protanope (another form of red/green colour deficit) and Tritanope (a blue/yellow deficit- very rare).  Colourblind Webpage filter Vischeck” (maxdesign.com.au)

Cohesiveness

Do all the pages sit nicely together?

Composition and Organisation

Have all the elements been placed on the grid in a compelling and orderly manner.

  1. Are the margins even?
  2. Is the design balanced and polished?
  3. What grid does it use?
  4. Will it fit to 960, does it size elements in increments of 8px?

Clutter

Following the ideas of subtractive design, reduce the clutter by eliminating visual elements that don’t contribute directly to the visual communication.

Consistency

  1. Is the visual language consistent?
  2. Are the sizing of the icons and labels even?
  3. Is the use of language and labels consistent?
Advertisements

2 thoughts on “How to QA a Visual Design, a guide for an Interaction Designer

    • Thanks Greg! It came out of working with some great creatives and wanting to find a constructive way to communicate and work together that lets us both concentrate on what we are good at!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: