Tumblr Heuristic Evaluation
Introduction & Context
Tumblr is a microblogging and social networking platform founded by David Karp in 2007 and owned by Yahoo! Inc. since May 20, 2013. According to Business Insider, Tumblr users are young and extremely engaged (3). Tumblr is especially popular among young adults between ages 18-29 (5).The site is extremely user friendly and offers useful functionality for both beginner and advanced users. Auto-formatting of text, photo, gif, quote, link, chat, audio, and video content facilitates fast posting for users of all experience levels and customization through code editing and API forwarding provides advanced users total creative freedom. Tumblr integrates the experiences of processing content and curating content. Users can find content by browsing the dashboard feed (which continuously updates to include posts from following tumblrs), start following who the user’s following tumblrs follow, and see users who have liked or re-reblogged a post. Tumblr’s dashboard feed facilitates content curation and content sharing.

I first broke the site down into its component parts: the user’s dashboard feed and other user’s tumblrs. I took multiple passes through the interface to carry out common tasks in both component parts to evaluate the interface’s compliance with Nielsen’s usability principles. While more evaluators could certainly improve this heuristic evaluation, my domain knowledge of the site enabled me to navigate the site without any additional help and perform an effective evaluation. The following usability problems are described from most to least severe.
1. Reblog Hashtag Functionality
2. Dashboard Feed Post Link Functionality
3. Theme Changing Recovery
4. Dashboard Feed Generation and Update Functionality
1. Reblog Hashtag Functionality
A. Problem: when a user initiates reblogging a post, the hashtags of the previous poster aren’t included in the dialog box. Additionally, the pop-up dialog box covers up the hashtags created by the following user’s post (displayed in the dashboard feed).
B. Heuristic violation: a user must recall hashtags used by previous users is reblogging from rather than just recognize if the user wants to tag the post as such.
C. Problem Description: When a user initiates reblogging content, the dialog box where a user has the ability to type in hashtags doesn’t display the hashtags of the previous user. A user must recall the hashtags, which increases the margin of error in spelling and reduces meaningful relationships between content since each user must construct a tagging system independently.
D. Priority: While hashtags are not a necessary part of the tumblr experience for users, and this feature certainly doesn’t hinder users from using the site, making hashtagging easy for users would make the content on the site more meaningful and therefore enhance the user experience.
E. Potential Solution: A quick and easy short-term improvement could involve making the tumblr feed move downwards when the pop-up reblogging dialog box comes up. This would allow users to see the hashtags written for the post underneath the dialog box and offer users the option of typing these tags in.Another solution could involve placing the highest ranked hashtags used by previous reblogs at the bottom of the dialog box previous re-posts of the content, at the bottom of the dialog box. Users could quickly hashtag things by clicking on tags to add them and additional tags could be typed into the text box.
Reblog Hashtag Functionality2
2. Dashboard Feed Post Link Functionality