What is Heuristic Evaluation?

Heuristic evaluation is a usability investigation procedure performed on computer software with an aim of identifying usability complications in the user interface design. It particularly involves evaluators inspecting the interface and concluding its compliance with acknowledged usability concepts.

Advantages of Heuristic Evaluation 

This method of determining usability complications is not meant to replace usability testing. It comes with some benefits including easy, cheap and fast to use. Another good thing about this procedure is that it can be combined with other usability testing techniques. There is also a possibility of getting a response in the beginning of the design process. By appointing the appropriate heuristic, it can help propose the ideal corrective quotas to designers.

How to Strategize Your Evaluation

Since it is difficult for a single individual to entirely discover the usability complications in the interface, this makes the method impossible to be conducted by one person. Research from various projects has proven that different evaluators discover different usability complications. Consequently, by involving various evaluators there is a higher opportunity of improving the effectiveness of the procedure.

There are usability problems, which are so uncomplicated and can be easily found by almost everyone, yet also there are some, which are difficult and can be only traced by minority of the evaluators. On the contrary, it is impossible will not say that you will seek an experience evaluator and depend only on that person’s verdicts. Always work with multiple evaluators if you are looking for a positive outcome with heuristic evaluation.

Choosing Heuristics

If you are planning to evaluate your own site, there are a few things that you will need to know before doing it. These include:

1. Visibility of System Status – The system should be able to keep users up to date with what is happening through suitable feedback within the right period.

2. The System and the Real World should be Compatible – The system should be familiar with the user’s language in terms of concepts, phrases, and words instead of system revised terms. Suppose you use a topic that is considered standard jargon make, sure you include a further explanation of the terms you have used. Your evaluators should ensure that you are in line with the real world conventions and your facts emerge in a logical and natural arrangement.

3. Prevention of an Error – A carefully design will prevent a complication from resurfacing at the first place. The only way out of avoiding mistakes is by conducting tests and even more testing. However, in case if complications emerge, the heuristic should be able to offer user friendly responses in a natural language instead of codes.

4. Recognition Vs Recall – Decrease the user’s memory load by making options, objects and actions more visible. The visitors of your site should not recall information between varying parts dialogue to another. The instructions on how to use the system should be retrievable and visible in case when users require them. Heuristic evaluation highly increases the chance of your visitors, identifying where they are thus erasing the need of retracing their course from the homepage.

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Jessica Miller
Jessica is the Lead Author & Editor of UsabilityLab Blog. Jessica writes for the UsabilityLab blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to usability.
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