Steve Savage
Librarian/ UX designer
Made with

The Last Hunt

Heuristic evaluation and check out process redesign

About the project

The Last Hunt is an outdoor gear retailer based in Quebec, Canada. The company is uniquely dedicated to selling discounted outdoor clothing and equipment through their eCommerce platform.

The problem

Some of The Last Hunt's customers who are ready to make an online purchase feel confused over how to complete the website's check out process. A simpler check out could lead to increased revenues and more repeat customers.

Design Process

The Last Hunt

Current Check Out Process

The Last Hunt

Heuristic Evaluation

10 heuristics for UI design

I evaluated The Last Hunt's check out process based on Jakob Nielsen's 10 usability heuristics for user interface design.

  • Visibility of system status
  • Match between system and the real world
  • User control and freedom
  • Consistency and standards
  • Error prevention
  • Recognition rather than recall
  • Flexibility and efficiency of use
  • Aesthetic and minimalist design
  • Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors
  • Help and documentation
The Last Hunt

Visibility of system status

The system should always keep users informed about what is going on, through appropriate feedback within reasonable time.

When applied to an eCommerce check out process, simple additions such as a status bar and clearly numbered steps and progression through the steps should be visible to users. Regardless of what step of the check out process the user is on, it should be clear what comes next and how much they have left to complete.

The Last Hunt

Match between system and the real world

The system should speak the users' language, with words, phrases and concepts familiar to the user, rather than system-oriented terms. Follow real-world conventions, making information appear in a natural and logical order.

Simple terms and labels should be used which all customers can recognize. Field labels, buttons and text should all be easy to decipher and as brief as possible.

The Last Hunt

User control and freedom

Users often choose system functions by mistake and will need a clearly marked "emergency exit" to leave the unwanted state without having to go through an extended dialogue. Support undo and redo.

Customers should have the ability to delete or edit items in their cart. Customers should also have the option to correct a form field or skip back to the last section of the check out process or exit the check out altogether.

The Last Hunt

Consistency and standards

Users should not have to wonder whether different words, situations, or actions mean the same thing. Follow platform conventions.

The platform should use familiar eCommerce terms such as 'add to cart,' 'buy now,' 'check out,' and place order. Verbiage should be consistent throughout the entire site.

The Last Hunt

Error prevention

Even better than good error messages is a careful design which prevents a problem from occurring in the first place. Either eliminate error-prone conditions or check for them and present users with a confirmation option before they commit to the action.

Error prevention during the check out process can include starring mandatory fields, simple labels, or a warning for two or more of the same item being added to a cart.

The Last Hunt

Recognition rather than recall

Minimize the user's memory load by making objects, actions, and options visible. The user should not have to remember information from one part of the dialogue to another. Instructions for use of the system should be visible or easily retrievable whenever appropriate.

Do not make customers think. A simple check out process will satisfy users and will increase the likelihood of their return to the site. Users should know the cost of taxes and shipping before having to complete other form data. Order summary information should also be made available to the customer before they are prompted to place an order.

The Last Hunt

Flexibility and efficiency of use

Accelerators — unseen by the novice user — may often speed up the interaction for the expert user such that the system can cater to both inexperienced and experienced users. Allow users to tailor frequent actions.

A guest check out option should be made available. Loyal customers should be rewarded with an option to login to avoid having to fill in their information again. Payment options such as PayPal or Apple Pay can also save customers time and may provide some users with a sense of security.

The Last Hunt

Aesthetic and minimalist design

Dialogues should not contain information which is irrelevant or rarely needed. Every extra unit of information in a dialogue competes with the relevant units of information and diminishes their relative visibility.

A simple design aesthetic should be used. Unnecessary links, labels or design elements may overwhelm the customer.

The Last Hunt

Help users diagnose, recognize, and recover from errors

Error messages should be expressed in plain language (no codes), precisely indicate the problem, and constructively suggest a solution.

Customers should be provided with clear error messages if something is not right. An invalid form field or discount code should be made obvious by displaying a descriptive, but brief error message so that users may easily fix their mistakes.

The Last Hunt

Help and documentation

Even though it is better if the system can be used without documentation, it may be necessary to provide help and documentation. Any such information should be easy to search, focused on the user's task, list concrete steps to be carried out, and not be too large.

Customers should have help options in case they are stuck. Offering options such as live chat, FAQ’s, a customer support email address or telephone number are good practices to follow.

The Last Hunt

Design Solutions

The Last Hunt

Improving the experience

  • Product editing options
  • Shipping and tax estimates based on location
  • PayPal check out option on cart page to skip filling out shipping and payment information
  • Guest check out with registering
  • Help and contact options available
  • Accepted payment methods outlined on cart and payment pages
  • Status bar and numbered check out steps
  • Mandatory fields marked with asterisk
  • Mandatory fields reduced to nine entries
  • Field labels above field boxes to allow easy scanning
The Last Hunt

Reducing friction

  • User is reassured that check out is secured
  • Scan credit card auto-fill option
  • Easy escape and page-back options
  • Price and product reminder throughout
  • Descriptive labels and hints
  • Final purchase overview and editing options
  • Next steps after order confirmation
  • User registration and newsletter options on confirmation page (after check out is complete)
  • Account benefits clearly outlined

Revised check out flow

The Last Hunt

Clickable Prototype

Go to clickable prototype

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Takeaways

What I learned from this project

A simple online shopping experience will increase the likelihood of repeat customers. Jakob Nielsen's usability heuristics for interface design provided a solid framework for evaluating and redesigning The Last Hunt's check out process. I came away from this project with the following takeaways:


  • Reduce cognitive load - Do not force users to guess about why they have to fill out a field, what step they are on, or how much something costs. Use a linear check out flow with clear steps, labels and summaries.
  • Be flexible - payment methods such as PayPal are trustworthy and can really reduce the amount of steps in the check out process.
  • Minimize effort - reduce overall steps by adding only necessary form fields and by eliminating elements which are not related to the user task, such as newsletter sign-up and mandatory account creation. Minimize form field entries with auto-fill features.