CSCI5601 Individual Assignment #1: UI Critique


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In this assignment, you will evaluate the UX design of the province of Nova Scotia’s tourism website: You can explore any pages on this site as your inspiration for this assignment.

You need to explore the features and design of the website. You can use any of the pages on this site and you can use the desktop or mobile version (but stick to one version), to show both good examples of design and poor design choices. For poor design choices, you will need to come up with 2 design fixes (with description and justification).

Your examples should be specific. It’s very hard to find a large interface that’s completely good or completely bad, so don’t try. Instead, focus on a particular feature(s) or aspect(s) of the website/page as a user interface that makes your case (e.g., a single page may have both good and bad examples of design). Avoid jargon words like “intuitive” and “user-friendly”. These terms are fuzzy and need further explanation. Be as precise as possible about what makes it good or bad. For example, don’t just say that it “looks professional.” Explain what makes it look that way. Don’t just say the interface “is confusing.” Explain what specifically makes it so.

You need to show 8 good design examples that fit four Gestalt’s principles and four affordances (your choice of which ones). You will also need to show 4 bad examples, that violate two Gestalt’s principles and violate two affordances. You should also include two suggestions for each bad example. Make sure you don’t repeat Gestalt’s principles and affordances (i.e., don’t use the same bad example for a violation of a Gestalt’s principle and a violation of affordance). For top marks, make sure you back up your opinions using appropriate design paradigms that the element violates or affirms (with reasoning).

What to Post

Your report (use the assignment template) should include 8 good design examples and 4 bad examples (with 2 improvements for each bad example). For each example:

  • Provide which Gestalt’s principle or affordance you are using and add a paragraph briefly describing what the example is supposed to allow users to do (its overall purpose)
  • Provide screenshots that help illustrate your points
  • Provide 3-5 reasons why it’s good or bad by making explicit reference to the “design principles/rules”[1] described in class and the textbook (e.g., Gestalt’s principle of Symmetry) AND provide a rational to why you feel the example honors or violates the principle. Do not just list a design principle, rather use this principle to critique/justify the design element. Make sure you do not “re-use” a principle.
  • For each of your 4 “bad design” critiques, speculate why it might have been designed that way, and suggest two better designs options (using design principles to back-up your ideas). You also can include a mocked up screenshot (e.g., can write overtop of the example screenshot) to help but you still need to clearly describe the suggestion with a justification.

*Make sure your document is well organized, easy to read, and free of typos. Use the included template. Remember your work is to be your own for individual assignments. 

[1] Gestalt’s principles, and the 5 types of affordances