Heuristic Evaluation Report of The Museum of Jewish Heritage’s Website

This heuristic evaluation was conducted based on The Museum of Jewish Heritage’s current website https://mjhnyc.org/ (accessed March 31, 2019). Download the PDF to see the full article

Evaluators: Xiaoyu Liu & Yan Wu (Bella) Course: Designing for Usability (Spring 2019)
Instructor: Morry Galonoy
Time: April 5, 2019

The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust is New York's contribution to the global responsibility to never forget.


This report is a heuristic evaluation conducted by two evaluators for the Museum of Jewish Heritage’s current website. It begins with a concise introduction of the website and its target user groups. Then it describes briefly the methodology of producing this report, the heuristics used and how the two rankings work, which are devised to prioritize problems in the next fixing step. After that, a complete list of total 13 problem areas is presented followed by a chapter dissecting each problem in details. All the resources referred all listed in the end.

Background Information

Website Description

The Museum of Jewish Heritage, referring to its website, is “A Living Memorial to the Holocaust is New York’s contribution to the global responsibility to never forget. The Museum is committed to the crucial mission of educating diverse visitors about Jewish life before, during, and after the Holocaust.” The website bears the responsibility of providing the basic information of the museum, events and exhibitions to serve as a complement to its physical site. It contains quite a lot features such as about, visitor information, online purchase, membership & donation, press, archive.

User Segmentation & Scenarios

    We have divided the users into three typical segments: visitors, press, donators The report mainly focuses on the first group and evaluates the website from the perspective as a visitor.

    Generally, the majority visiting the website are the prospecting visitors who want to roughly browse the website in search for anything catering to their interests. In this phase, the landing page is highly critical to give users an overview of the museum. Users are willing to see general introduction of the museum, exhibitions and credible recommendation. Then some users will leave without viewing another pages, or take actions including delving deep into further information, looking for upcoming events and current exhibitions. Once users decide to take further action, their next step is to get visitor information like time and location, ticketing, requirement, transportation, and restaurants. Purchasing tickets can happen either before or after viewing the visitor information. Incoming visitors will be informed the way of getting tickets and entering the museum.

    Returning visitors or friends will possibly choose to donate or become a member. The clarity and accessibility of membership and donating methods will be of importance, since visitors have experience with the museum or even the website.

    Press is a very different group. In this scenario, they tend to ignore most of the purchase and visitor information but directly go to “press“, “blog”, “about” where compressed and plenty information can be found.



    According to Jakob Nielsen, heuristic evaluation is a systematic inspection where “a small set of evaluators examine the interface and judge its compliance with recognized usability principles”, which are also called “heuristics”. In order to produce this report, the two evaluators worked independently as their first-pass with the goal to get familiar with the website. In the second-pass, the two evaluators spotted and made their own list of problems, followed with a discussion and the final compilation. And the discussion focused mainly on evaluate the problem severity rankings and the ease of fixing rankings.

    Heuristics Used

    Most of the heuristics we referred to in this report are from Jakob Nielsen’s 10 general principles for interaction design considering its applicability to a broad range of usability fields. However, in this specific case, problems related to some of the 10 principles do occur more frequently compared with others. For example, none of the problems we found is targeting at the principle called “Flexibility and efficiency of use”, which emphasizes that the system should cater to both novice users and experienced users. And the reason for that is possibly because none of the user groups we assumed could be described as “frequent visitors” or “experienced visitors”. To make the evaluation process more comprehensive, we also referred to and combined a set of other usability rules suggested by other practitioners in the field, such as The Eight Golden Rules of Interface Design from Ben Shneiderman, who is the founding director of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory at the University of Maryland. Followings are the 7 heuristics we used to evaluate in this report.

    Prioritization of Problems

    To further understand the impact of the problems we found, especially to quantify the severity as well as the effort needed to fix, we established two rankings and applied it to each of the problems. The severity rankings are related to the frequency with which a certain problem occurred, the persistence of it and the ease with which the users could overcome it, all of which are also inspired and modified based on those defined by Jacob Nielsen. The ease of fixing rankings is mostly defined by the degree of effort, including how many people in the design and engineering team are needed to fix the problem, how much would the change influence the holistic system structure, and etc. In this case, each problem would be dually prioritized informing the following steps after this heuristic evaluation. Followings are the two tables of rankings we laid out.

    Summary of Findings

    In total, we identified 13 problems areas and listed them in the table below with the one having the highest severity, the lowest ease of fixing on the top and the most heuristic principles applied. In the next chapter, we will discuss each of them in details together with possible solutions.

    Download the PDF to see the full article