Usability Evaluation


Indianapolis Animal Care Services (IACS) is a community-based organization which works to promote the safety/health and well-being of pets and their owners in Marion County. IACS educates the public on issues like public safety and human problems with regards to animal care. On an average 14,000 animals are housed and protected at IACS yearly. IACS's website serves users who wish to adopt a pet, donate a pet, notify IACS about stray animals and find a lost pet. The site supports volunteers to carry out their daily official activities.



We aim to improve the usability of the IACS’s website and enhance the user experience.


Team Members - Swapnil, Aishwarya, Bhavna, Echo, Reeti

My Role - I was involved in Contextual Interviews, Cognitive Walkthrough, Heuristic evaluation, Think aloud and proposing a solution for A/B testing.



We conducted interviews of the client, users working as volunteers for IACS organization, and used social media to gather initial feedback about the usability of the website from the users who have used the site either for adoption or donation. We organized the data from interviews to specify the issues frequently faced by users.

  • Complex navigation 

  • Functionality Issue

  • Unorganised links 

  • Poor Visuals

  • Disorganised layout for images

Cognitive Walkthrough

Cognitive walkthrough helped us do the self-evaluation of the website. Since it was task-based, we were able to come up with issues related to a specific task which could be easily identified. This, in turn, gave way to brainstorm appropriate suggestions and solutions. This evaluation method also made the team well versed with the IACS website. As we had already defined our tasks and user scenarios, planning the further process of Think Aloud Testing became manageable.

Task Flow

The team came up with four representative tasks and their action sequences. The tasks were
To adopt a pet, To sign up as a volunteer, To make a donation, To look for events

Adopting a pet

One of the primary tasks is adopting a pet. Users can search for a specific pet through website's gallery and visit the campus or call them to book an appointment

Join as Volunteer

IACS recruits volunteers for various events through an online application process.

Donating Funds

IACS provides another feature about donating funds. Organizations or users can donate pet toys or funds using one of the four options available on the website.


IACS hosts several events to promote animal safety and pet adoption.

Think Aloud

Think Aloud Tests helped the team to gauge users’ needs and their difficulties in traveling through the IACS’s website. It is essential to learn what the users feel since it is targeted at them. We noticed that creating a balance between visuals and text on the website provide an exciting experience to a user. Most participants were able to identify the user flow for donation task successfully. Users found the adoption and events tasks to be more frustrating to complete due to poor organization of content and lack of visual information. The test results were similar to what we anticipated earlier, i.e., difficult to navigate and understand. The users were confused and could not find information for what they were looking for.

Heuristic Evaluation

We collected the individual UAR's of all our team members after deciding upon a list of Jacob Nielsen's 10 Heuristic principles. This was followed by individually reviewing each other's findings and identifying the severity of the issue using matrix format. Each Issue was compared with the results from cognitive, think aloud and initial interviews and was assigned the severity rating.

Issues and Proposed solutions

We presented the data and issues identified during usability evaluation in the form of a nutshell. Issues listed against each usability evaluation with blue color and larger font size were observed extensively by the majority of users. Solutions to curb these problems are listed in the larger circle at the center.

Possible Evaluations

We intended to further work on the IACS site’s Mobile Responsive Design, visualizing an inbuilt promotional feature to promote organization events, the design of the Volunteer and Staff Intranet services and to set up the Google Analytics portal to track website visitors.

Usability evaluations

Soon after initial observations from various evaluations, we designed an usability evaluation flow to conduct user testings. We developed a research plan to analyze specific issues related to the bad user experience. Additionally, we created a version B prototype of the existing interface to perform A/B testing and compare the time on task parameter for both version A (existing interface) and version B (proposed design of interface).