honda // ux research

According to recent research from digital marketing agency Adtaxi, 86% of car buyers research online before visiting a dealership. How does Honda, one of the world’s most popular auto brands, perform in terms of website usability?

This is a four-part UX audit to assess the usability of Honda’s car-buying experience. First, I performed a heuristic evaluation using Jakob Nielsen’s Ten Usability Heuristics. Second, I used Wharton’s Full Cognitive Walkthrough method to test usability for new users. I then conducted a competitive analysis against Honda’s direct + indirect competitor and influencers. Lastly, I tested the Build and Price feature in a series of remote unmoderated usability tests with potential car buyers.

The final deliverables from this 3-month study include 4 detailed UX usability audits of Honda’s online shopping experience.

Heuristic Evaluation

To start, I led a team of 3 usability experts in performing a Heuristic Evaluation (Expert Review) based on the industry-wide standard, Jakob Nielsen’s 10 Usability Heuristics for Interface Design.

The evaluation was an inspection of the Honda website and our goal was to identify any violations of the 10 Heuristics.

We identified 6 positives and 10 negatives.

Cognitive Walkthrough

The Cognitive Walkthrough Full Method (Lewis, Polson, Wharton and Rieman, 1990) is a usability inspection method that focuses on evaluating a design for ease of learning, particularly by exploration.

The purpose of this walkthrough was to analyze the usability and flow of the Build & Price task.

The action sequence for our core task:

  1. Find "Shopping Tools" in menu
  2. Select "Build & Price"
  3. Select the vehicle model
  4. Customize a vehicle
  5. Click "View Build Summary"

Through this evaluation, I identified 2 minor issues on Step 4: customize a vehicle.

Competitive Analysis

To further understand how Honda competes in the market, I performed competitive research to review similar brands within the automotive industry. The goal was to identify any opportunities or gaps.

Adopted from Jaime Levy book UX Strategy, I conducted competitive research and analysis by evaluating Honda’s direct competitors (Toyota, Nissan), indirect competitor (the popular ridesharing app Lyft), and looked at several influencers (BMW, Tesla, Nike). This analysis shows how other players in the market performed based on a series of predetermined attributes.

Usability Test