I conducted a Heuristic Evaluation on my favorite online shop (Part 2)

Hayley Smith
6 min readNov 25, 2020


Alex and Koen, the owners of Hygge Life
Alex and Koen, the owners of Hygge Life

Ok, y’all. After a quick break (bc the first one took me way longer than I thought) she is back with Part 2! Have you been at the edge of your seat since Part 1? Don’t fret. We are finishing things up and “circling back.” If you need a refresh check out the Heuristics page.

From the comfort of my Hygge Life sheepskin-covered chair, here we go!

#6 Recognition rather than recall

In a nutshell- make it easy for users to find what they need and limit the cognitive load for your product.

The good 👍: Navigation bar

Navigation Bar- It is easily visible and does not disappear. A user can follow a well-established design pattern that is common across most e-commerce platforms and other websites to find what they are looking for.

A user hovers over the navigation bar of a page to view the items categorized below it.
Users can view the Navigation Bar always and hover over to see the categories

The bad 👎: Terminology/Organization

The UX term for this: Information Architecture. This is basically the flip side of the good piece in having a navigation bar is that categorization of items doesn’t quite fit. I mentioned this earlier in my first post.

I’ll paste an example below to help illustrate this point. If I go to the “New” section and look at an item. I’ve clicked into the details and can see the breadcrumbs that place it under that “New” section. Where would I find similar items under the current navigation? Where does it fit into these categories that might not make inherent sense to all, especially those who are new to the concept of hygge? It requires much more recall into short-term memory than it does inherent recognition.

When I went to search for this hook I had a limited idea of where it might be. I figured “Home” fit more than another category. But is it decor? Not quite. Is it something you’d find in a bathroom so it goes under “Bath?” It took some time to identify and scroll through all of the pages that fall under each category. That’s not an easy or pleasurable experience for a user.

Differences and confusing differences between new items and where they live in the rest of the sites navigation.
A user would find it challenging to find similar items with the current information architecture

#7 Flexibility and efficiency of use

What? Being able to customize and slightly change the content to be curated to users. Accelerators- think keyboard shortcuts to be quicker!

The good👍: Related Items + Quick Shop

Related Items: This is both personalized and more efficient. It tells the user that the system is trying to help them by recommending other similar items they might be into. It’s saving the user another step (going back to the other items in that category to view similar ones) by having the information readily available. A+

Related items shown at the bottom of a product page. In this instance, an array of candleholders are shown.
A user could be looking at candles or candleholders and scroll down to see more options like these

Quick Shop: This is as close to a keyboard shortcut as this site would have. Are you clicking on your keyboard? No, but a user is able to purchase an item and view details more efficiently than having to navigate away from the current page.

Demonstration of a user hovering over the image and a “quick shop” option is present
Quick shop feature available when a user hovers over

The bad 👎: Related Items

This isn’t really “bad” so much as “needs improvement.” The concept is strong with having related items, but I think that Hygge Life could improve this feature a lot. You might need to scroll in on the picture below, but the full page is shown to give the full effect. I clicked on a hook in a misty green color. I know there were many other colors available for this specific hook. If I scroll down to see related items I would be expecting to see the same hook in other colors or perhaps different hooks/storage options. Instead, I am looking at candles. How are these related? Well, it looks like the feature pulls the first few items that are found under that level of navigation. So the category is “correct” as deemed by the product, but not “correct” in the eyes of the user.

Hygge Life could be losing out on business by not showing the most related items to their users. If a user is looking for something specific (that exists on the site) but they were unable to find it, they’re already looking somewhere else. I might’ve wanted that hook in another color and wanted to buy 20. That’s a lot of $$$ a small business is potentially missing out on.

A wall hook is the selected item and a candleholder is shown to be a related item
Would you consider these categories of items to be closely related?

#8 Aesthetic and minimalist design

K.I.S.S- Keep It Simple, Silly 🙂

The good 👍: It's built into the branding

These elements are a pillar of hygge and it’s reflected all throughout the website. The use of whitespace, clean lines, and images all contribute to this aesthetic. The site does not feel crowded or overwhelming if you are looking at this alone.

The bad 👎: None 🥳

#9 Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors

Make error messages actually helpful and easy to recover from. If you’ve had issues with this in the past I *know* you feel this and still are salty from that experience.

The good 👍: See Part 1

Since this is not a proprietary software product, there’s not a lot that does not follow the industry standards. Users can get out of what they need to and most true errors are occurring during checkout, which is a Shop Pay, not Hygge Life, design.

The bad 👎: Sold Out

This is one of the “errors” in e-commerce. Can the text be a different color? Can there be a clearer way to show this? Yes, and there should be. Great that a user can type in their email and be notified of a re-stock, but that shouldn’t be the frustrating last step a user has to take.

No distinction between showing a price and showing that the item is sold out
Little distinction for a user here between the price and the “Sold Out” text

#10 Help and documentation

Make it relevant to the user’s task. Make the steps concrete and avoid large blocks of text (no one wants to read).

The good 👍: FAQ + Search

FAQ: There is an entire section! Yay. Love to see this and it contains quick links, with minimal reading required. The steps are concrete, easy to follow, and very clear. There is little room for interpretation but always the option to reach out for more clarity or information if needed.

FAQ is found on the bottom navigation of the site
FAQ on the bottom navigation of the site

Search Bar: We love a search bar! What I notice here is that the search is easy for products but not blog posts or FAQs. That might be something for the Hygge Life folks to consider that would improve the usability of the site. Users have to dig a little bit more to find that information.

The three steps of finding the search bar, entering text, and yielding results for paper bags.
Search steps using the search bar to yield product results

The bad 👎: None 🥳

Bottom Line

This is a small business, so I understand that resources are limited and this requires a lot of effort for the owners. They are a small team that is honestly kicking ass with their online presence and their in-store experience. Small businesses need some love right now so please consider (safely)checking them out and supporting small businesses that are local where you are. It is the season of giving- and spending-so make your dollars count!



Hayley Smith

UX Designer, Pure Barre Instructor, plant lover.