Category: Feature Descriptions

Feature Descriptions Feature Descriptions are compiled into a document and are based upon client requirements and ideas, internal brain storm sessions, and any research that has been performed. The idea is to gather all of the “expert” opinions on what the software “should do” before development begins, and to hold this document up after that work is done to see if the application works as described afterwards.
Answers the following questions:

  • What features support the client's business objectives?
  • What kind of information does the target need and want to know and how can that be presented on the site?
Provides the following benefits:

  • Captures ideas for features in easy-to-review format
  • Begins process of deciding which features will be on the site
  • Ensures consensus on what the client would like on the site

  1. Feature Descriptions Feature Descriptions (PDF)
  2. Feature Descriptions Feature Descriptions (WORD)

To determine the level of usability for a website, one or more usability experts “walk” through a set of the most typical user tasks supported by the website, one-step-at-a-time. At each step in a task procedure, the evaluator(s) asks themselves the following four questions[1] about their expectations of users’ behaviors:

  1. Will the user try to achieve the right effect?
  2. Will the user notice that the correct action is available?
  3. Will the user associate the correct action with the effect to be achieved?
  4. If the correct action is performed, will the user see that progress is being made toward solution of the task?

The evaluator(s) attempts to come up with a “success story” for each step in the process. If she cannot come up with one, she instead creates a “failure story” and assesses why the user might not accomplish the task based on the interface design. These insights are then used to improve the usability of the website or application.


[1] Wharton, C., Rieman, J., Lewis, C., and Polson, P. (1994). The cognitive walkthrough method: A practitioner’s guide. In Nielsen, J., and Mack, R. (Eds.), Usability inspection methods. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.