Mario Kart Tour Redesign

Identifying and fixing usability issues for the Mario Kart Tour mobile game.

Project Type
Interview Design Challenge
My Role
UX/UI Designer
Jun 2022
(2 Days)
The Challenge

Usability evaluation and redesign

For a recent job interview, I was given the challenge to pick any game and conduct an evaluation of its usability.

The game I chose to analyze was Mario Kart Tour, a 2019 kart racing mobile game, developed by DeNA and published by Nintendo for iOS and Android devices.
My Approach to the Challenge

Jakob Nielsen’s 10 heuristics

I used Jakob Nielsen’s 10 heuristics for user-interface design for solving this challenge. The benefits of conducting heuristic evaluations are that it helps identify and fix usability issues and also improve business metrics such as user engagement.

Image source: Medium UX Collective

Severity ratings for usability problems

Severity ratings are used to determine how serious a usability issue is. Severity ratings range from cosmetic problems to usability catastrophes.

Scope of evaluation

This evaluation report covers the following parts of the Mario Kart Tour mobile game on iOS only:
Evaluation Report

#1 Visibility of system status

Designs should keep users informed about what is going on, through appropriate, timely feedback.

What does it do well?

  • It allows users to practice playing while waiting for the game to finish downloading.
  • The progress bar tells users how much time has left to complete the download.

#2 Match between system and the real world

The design should speak the users' language, rather than internal jargon.


  • When users lose internet connection, the error message doesn’t indicate clearly to users what happened. Users have no other options besides keep clicking retry or exit the app.


  • Remove the code and replace it with the language that users are familiar with.

#3 User control and freedom

Users often perform actions by mistake and need a clearly marked "emergency exit" to leave the unwanted state.


  • On the multiple players' page, after users click “Create Room", there is no way to go back to the previous page.


  • Support undo by adding an “ X ” on the page.

#4 Consistency and standards

Users should not have to wonder whether different words, situations, or actions mean the same thing. Follow platform and industry conventions.

Violation 1

  • Users can choose to play with the Auto mode or the Manual mode, but the buttons and the naming are a bit confusing. Users might think they are on the Auto-Mode-selected status.


  • Turn the left button into the Mode Selection button, and keep the right one as the Start button.
  • Or change the text “OK” to “Manual”

Violation 2

  • Violation:The icon < is normally understood as the “Back” button. And the icon is normally understood as the “Refresh” button. However on this page < takes users to the main menu, and the icon takes users to the previous page. This might mislead and confuse users as users’ understanding of an icon is based on previous experience.


  • Replace the icon images.

#7 Flexibility and efficiency of use

Unlike website usage, video game users don’t want things to be too easy or else it isn’t fun. Therefore, games must build features that cater to both novice and experienced users.

Violation 1

  • For novice players, one-handed gameplay of holding down the screen to accelerate and sliding your finger to steer can be difficult, especially in the portrait view because half of the screen is covered by your hands. For experienced players, using just one finger to race is dull.


  • Add a virtual joystick on the bottom of the screen. (To be discussed)

Violation 2

  • Except for the game screen, all menu screens only support portrait views. If users want to play in landscape views, they must keep switching between the two views, which is not the best user experience for users.


  • Develop portrait views for other screens.

Violation 3

  • Users can only modify the screen views and the control method once they start the game. And there is no way for users to pause the game while they are changing the settings.


  • Add a setting button that allows users to change the settings before the race starts.

#8 Aesthetic and minimalist design

Interfaces should not contain information which is irrelevant. Every extra unit of information in an interface competes with the relevant units of information.

What does it do well?

  • The game screen layout is minimalist but informative, whether portrait or landscape views.  With easy-to-understand relevant game information placed in the corner of the viewport, users can focus on driving while using the information to complement and enhance their experience.

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

Error messages should precisely indicate the problem and constructively suggest a solution.


  • When users try to unlock some characters that require purchasing the Gold Pass, they can’t access to purchase on the current page, which can cause inconvenience for users, and the game can lose potential business opportunities.


  • Uses simple language to diagnose the problem and provides a clear call-to-action: Subscribe to the Gold Pass.

#10 Help and documentation

It may be necessary to provide documentation to help users understand how to complete their tasks.

What does it do well?

  • As the game with complex interactions, users might forget how to do something. It keeps Tips & Tricks documentation accessible and visible in the bottom left corner of the “game items selection” page.

Other Observations

It may be necessary to provide documentation to help users understand how to complete their tasks.


  • As a free-to-play game, users can't access the game without a Nintendo account. This unfriendly onboarding experience will prevent many mobile gamers from playing Nintendo games for the first time.


  • Supporting users to sign in as a guest.
  • Allow users to play a series of trial games before asking them to sign up for a Nintendo account.

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