First redesign, critique my strategy!



I am doing my first actual redesign as a portfolio piece! How does my plan look?

Hi! Me again! Yea, I do post fairly regularly at the moment, but I really lack a UX mentor at the moment, so this is currently my go-to place for advice.

Project description
I need portfolio material, so I am redesigning a cinema website’s mobile version. It isn’t straight awful, but boy do I have my work cut out for me if my design hunches aren’t completely whack. I plan to include real users and compile my work as a case study to be hosted on my portfolio website. And yes, I am doing this on my own and I am actually a little worried about the timeframe because I plan to do at least one more case study.

My planned approach, so far
This is where I would like some sparring. Don’t be gentle, I am in this for the learning experience.
I want it to be easy and seamless to order movie tickets on your phone. I have used this website myself in the past and I have never liked it. Let’s see if I’m the only one who thinks this site needs some attention. I have drawn inspiration for my approach from the IDEO approach to design as seen below, but I haven’t really read in-depth about it, I was just inspired by a redesign of Fitbit case study I read over on

  1. Platform assessment is my very first step, as it will allow for me to see the information architecture of the site through a IA tree.

“Looking at the IA without the veneer of the user interface allows you to interrogate its structure. How many categories are there? How narrow or wide is the IA? How shallow or deep is it? Are the number of items in each category roughly the same or vastly different?”

  1. Compare the site against market competitors / any decent cinema website. This can also help me get inspiration for the redesign and evaluate the best practices.

  2. Usability Test. I will plan a usability test to identify (if any) the usability problems of the site. I intend to do this by approaching people in public, asking politely for a bit of their time, and then have them perform exploratory tasks related to common cinema-site actions and observe their interactions.

  3. Create personas from user data. In order to move through the design iterations without constantly needing real users, I will develop a few personas to represent typical movie-goers. I put this as step 4 to avoid creating proto-personas.

  4. Create new IA with Card sorting is an option later to find a good IA structure.
    Validating IA iteratively with a different version of card sort is essential to reducing the redesign to just the core features.

  5. Wireframes & prototypes. Paper time! I can finally put my recently purchased office supplies to real use.

  6. Validate, iterate. Eventually, I’ll produce a hi-fi prototype. Software choice pending.

  7. Write case study, present work on portfolio website. If I’ve done as much documentation of the process as I intend, this should be easy. I already have a decent homemade template ready for case studies. I intend to use great storytelling in my cases, drawing inspiration from some of the many good cases I have read and studied.

Notes and concerns

  • In step 3, I conduct a test on the IA. Maybe I should do some guerrilla style testing with the actual product, instead, asking them to do a few different things on the site and writing down pain points? The project already involves plenty of card sorting. Please, weigh in.

  • This is pretty ambitious for a one-man team. I intend to make one more case study for my portfolio, so maybe I need to limit the scope of this project just a little bit.


Forgive me if there is a rule against it, havn’t really seen it anywhere, so…


Perhaps @HAWK or @Piper_Wilson could tag a pro that might be able to
tell me if I’m headed in the right direction with this plan? :slight_smile:


Hi Porco,

I believe when doing a redesign, you need to first identify the issues in the existing product. This could be done either through a heuristic evaluation, a usability testing(of the flows) or both. If you know existing users, you can ask them for pain points as well. Doing this would make sure you address the weak points in your design as well be useful in the competitor review as you can see how others have handled them.

Also few queries
What do you mean by platform assessment?
How will you be prototyping the design?
How will you be validating the design? Usability testing?


That’s why we’re here! It’s all good – we all learn from each others questions and without questions communities fail.[quote=“Porco, post:2, topic:4576”]
Forgive me if there is a rule against it

It’s all good – you caught me over the weekend (and I have a new rule to try not to work in weekends!).

In short, I think your process looks good. I agree that it would make more sense to do some user testing rather than tree sorting for step 3. Until you know what the issues are there is no point in redesigning the IA. It is also a VERY important skill to demonstrate.

This post will help with the initial heuristic analysis.


Very good input! I got so blinded with the card-sorting that I forgot to look into the alternatives. I am still not 100% familiar with all the different approaches yet, so I am glad you could nudge me in that direction.
Since Heuristic evaluation seems impossible to do because of the criteria for experts, I will be doing some guerilla usability tests, asking people in public to use the site on their smartphones. It seems obvious that people would want to order movie tickets on the go, and it is much less expensive/intrusive for me (as an individual) to conduct.

By platform assessment, all I meant was that I will be looking at- and mapping out the information architecture of the site.

I will be prototyping the site through paper prototypes first, and if there is time for it, a mockup prototype of higher fidelity, later.

I had intended to validate through looking at time-to-complete on a blocked set of tasks, tested iteratively through the stages, but I am not quite sure which other ways to validate. Is eliminating pain points a form of validation?

Thank you for your reply! That makes total sense, I had gotten so dead-set on using tree sort as a benchmark for later tests.

Guerrilla test vs. traditional usability test & how do I record PHONE usability tests?