Degree: BSc Computing (part-time)
Project title: A Single Internal Interface for the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)
*Winner: Best Research
This project’s aim was to design a user interface for a new application at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). The interface needed to be intuitive, enabling all DVLA users to learn to use it with minimal business impact. DVLA’s new user interface sits on top of a new application architecture than consolidates more than ten legacy applications, the oldest of which is a thirty-year-old mainframe application.
To inform the design a literature review was conducted, identifying the key theories relating to user interface design and user experience design. A survey was used to capture user views of the legacy application interfaces and user experiences. A series of wireframe designs were created, based on the learning of the literature review and in conformity to users’ views within the survey. The wireframes underwent a series of iterations following user testing and a heuristic evaluation by DVLA’s user experience team. This resulted in a set of full colour screen designs which are aligned to relevant theories of user interface design and user experience design.
The project found that users of the legacy applications did not have a good user experience. Through the user testing, the project validated the relevancy of several user interface design and user experience design theories such as Nielsen’s 10 Usability Heuristics, Norman’s Six Principles of Design, and Jakob’s Law which is about designing interfaces for user’s tacit knowledge. The project also highlighted the value of undertaking agile, iterative design and user testing. Users were invaluable in identifying the best design for the information architecture and interface features that were needed or needed amending. Additionally, the value of a heuristic evaluation by design professionals really helped bring the design together.
In summary the main findings were:
– Interface designs should adhere to Nielsen’s and Norman’s theories on usability and design. See chapter 8 for interface design guidelines proposed by this project.
– Agile iterative methodology should be used to manage interface design work, so that designs evolve in line with user feedback.
– The information architecture should be tested with users to ensure user can achieve their goals quickly and simply.
– Designers and developers should collaborate with a view of achieving user experience that achieves the full stack of needs as detailed in the UX Pyramid.
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