google home

Google Home Mini

Usability Evaluation of the Google Home Mini

Team Sonorous: Tori Cox, Bonnie Lee, Katy Lewis, Ruchi Ookalkar, Yu Qin

Team Sonorous evaluated the usability of the Google Home Mini for University of Michigan college students. The team evaluated the product during the spring 2018 course of SI622 with Professor Joyojeet Pal. Project progress was presented to a
UX research team at Google monthly. Partial research results and recommendations are available below.

Research Questions

  • How do college students consume media on different devices?
  • What are the student’s expectations and perceptions of the Google Home Mini?
  • How do students prefer to discover new features and what features could assist students?
  • Is the Google Home Mini an effective tool for students?

Needs Assessments

Google Home Mini Interaction Map

Interaction Map

System evaluation by creating a map of possible user interaction paths.

Google Home Mini Interaction Map


  • Recruiting: Identify students that fit population criteria, high proximity bias.
  • Interview Process: 20-45 minutes, 1 note taker, 1 audio recording
  • Demographics: Ages 20-29, 5 different majors, 4 masters & 1 bachelor
  • Data Analysis: Affinity Diagram, personas, and spreadsheet pivot tables
Comparative Evaluation

Comparative Evaluation

  • Evaluated 5 different categories of comparative products.
  • 10 competitors identified based on similarities in functionality, size, price, and usability.
  • Measured 10 metrics defined by data from user interviews and feedback from project stakeholders.
  • Scored products based on online reviews and product specs.
Google Home Mini Interaction Map


  • Delivery: University Email Lists & Facebook Groups (~ 14,000 people).
  • Requirements: UM Student
  • Respondents: 100
  • Age: 18-30
  • Degree: 43% Undergraduate / 46% Graduate

Usability Evaluations

Heuristic Evaluation

Evaluation using Nielsen’s Heuristics:

  • Feedback: What happens when it doesn’t understand the user?
  • Accessibility: Can it understand user’s accent?
  • Navigation: User control and freedom
  • Consistency: Consistency in response personality
  • Prevention: Error prevention
  • Memory: Support follow-up queries?
  • Efficiency: Mini v.s Phone/Laptop

Usability Tests

  • Target Population: University of Michigan Student Google Home Mini Users
  • Recruiting: Email Questionnaire + $10 gift card
  • Demographics: Age 23-29, Graduate Students, School of Information & School of Pharmacy

Test Setup

  • Introduction
  • Pre-questionnaire
  • 4 Tasks
  • Debriefing
  • Post-questionnaire


Support University Wifi connections and Enterprise Google Accounts

Students are unable to connect the Google Home Mini through the University wifi accounts. Additionally, Enterprise Google Accounts do not have all the available features, like adding a shopping item or an event. [Interviews][Survey][Heuristic Evaluation][Usability Test]

Create a way for users to send friends feature recommendations

Current Mini users rely on recommendations from friends to discover new features. [Interview][Survey]

Support Social Communication

Expand feature options on the mini to include more social communication. [Interviews][Survey]

Create a Privacy Mode

Provide a way for the account holder to turn a privacy mode on and off or give the account holder an interaction log or request history for their account. [Heuristic Evaluation][Usability Tests]