Suzanne Collins

The purpose of this study is to re-design her website based on targeted user research.

Quick Links



Suzanne Collins is a well-known American television writer and author of The Hunger Games Trilogy. Her personal website is predominately used to showcase her journey as a creator. Although the functionality of the site is there, there's some external links that don't work and some optimizations are necessary to improve the user experience. The content itself is effective, with coherent English grammar and relevant sections about the author’s life.

The website serves its purpose to provide information about Suzanne Collins and her reviews from highly acclaimed publishers. It also follows some of the essential elements of web design such as a header, top navigation bar, and a 3 column layout. Images are provided, which is a good thing; however, some are scattered around without proper alignment, making it look messy.

Additionally, some of the code was disorganized while inspecting the page source. For such a simple personal website, I'd expect the code the be cleaner and easy to read. By effectively going through the 5 planes of the web design process, we can expect an overall improvement in usability.


Heuristic Evaluation

During a heuristic evaluation, usability experts review the site’s interface and compare it against accepted usability principles. The analysis results in a list of potential usability issues to further look into. Although it's a great methodology to obtain feedback early in the design process, it requires knowledge and experience to apply the heuristics effectively.

The evaluation was broken down into the following sections: Home Page, Task Orientation, Navigation & Information Architecture, Forms & Data Entry, Trust & Credibility, Writing & Content Quality, Page Layout & Visual Design, Search, and Help, Feedback & Error Tolerance.

The rating system is 1 (fully compliant), 0 (partially compliant) and -1 (non-compliant). Each guideline has a rating (if applicable) and thorough comments; supported with examples from the pages to justify the rating.

Collins: Insights


The image below shows the corresponding graphical results from each category. The summary of results indicate an overall score of 67 out of 100. Three categories were not applicable: Form & Data Entry, Search, Help, and Feedback & Error Tolerance.

Collins: Results

User Interviews

Another methodology used to determine usability is by conducting interviews. For this instance, the usability testing materials includes a pretest questionnaire, scenarios/tasks, a post-test questionnaire, and an observation sheet. The prior heuristic evaluation was used to develop corresponding scenarios based on qualifying, prioritized issues.

Pretest Questionnaire: Five questions are demographic-type questions and questions to help assess the experience level of the participant as it relates to the website.

Scenarios/Tasks: The test includes three scenarios, and each scenario includes two tasks. The tasks relate to usability issues that exist within the website, and the scenarios are appropriate with the tasks.

Post-Test Questionnaire: The post-test questionnaire includes five questions. These questions ask the participant about their opinion of the website as it relates to their experience in completing the tasks.

Observation Sheet: The observation sheet contains individual tasks with the most likely path the participants will take. Space is leftover for any comments or questions that the participant asks to record.


Collins: Insights


Collins: Scenarios

Balsamiq Mockup

Collins: Balsamiq Mockups

Web UI Design

Collins: Web UI Design

Mobile UI Design

Collins: Mobile UI Design

Design Explanation

Redesigning the home layout was crucial since it’s sometimes the first screen a user sees. The previous design was disorganized and caused users to wonder the purpose of the site because it contained navigation links and multiple external links that lead elsewhere. Not only would decreasing the number of external links on the homepage increase retention, but it also needed to focus more on Suzanne Collins and her work. The page got revamped into a more minimal, eye-catching format, with few distractions.

The color palette for the redesign remained similar, capturing a slight background tint of orange, dark gray text, and complementary borders with tangerine color. The focus point is directed towards the welcome textbox, represented inside a curved rectangle box. During the analysis of the usability test, various participants mentioned “colors” as one of their three critical items needed for improvement. With 50% of participants rating the navigation usability less than a four on a scale of 1-10, our solution was to dedicate a screen solely to navigation. The menu icon located on the upper left hand would serve this purpose.

Repetition, a principle of design, is a great way to unify a model that brings together a lot of different elements. Repetition can be done in several ways: via repeating the same colors, typefaces, and shapes. For the works screen, we included the same top navigation from the home screen and legal footer note. We also incorporated a simple pattern to provide a list of all her books with one glance.

The previous design required users to scroll continuously over a handful of highly-acclaimed published reviews. Removing all of the distractions as before, we were left with a scrolls view containing all of her published books. On hover, a tangerine-colored border will appear inside the element to indicate its current state. If selected, it’ll take the user to the product screen view to obtain further details.

A recommendation during usability testing was to “create an on-site purchasing platform” because there are links within the current site that lead to Amazon’s homepage instead of direct links to her work. To solve this issue, we placed book options and a button “buy on Amazon” to facilitate purchases. Creating an on-site purchasing platform was significant since optimizing the click path can lead to an increase in sales.

The biography section had the least amount of issues, with all being minor improvements. The main difference done was to match the top navigation and footer note to the updated design, including the font family. PT Serif, the selected font, has a more significant number of weights and forms and looks pleasantly professional. We also enlarged the images of Suzanne Collins and moved one of her interview pictures to this section, as well.