A heuristic evaluation is a usability inspection method for computer software that helps to identify usability problems in the user interface (UI) design. It specifically involves evaluators examining the interface and judging its compliance with recognized usability principles (the “heuristics“).

  • An agreed-upon set of usability best practices used to evaluate an interface
  • This is a usability inspection method that asks evaluators to assess an interface against a set of agreed-upon best practices or usability “rules of thumb.”
  • Unlike usability tests with actual users, these evaluations enlist team members to inspect and fix baseline usability problems before user testing.
  • When heuristics are applied repeatedly during an iterative design process, the principles will become more intuitive and usability problems easier to detect.
  • Novices trained on heuristics and evaluators familiar with the subject and usability practices conduct evaluations.
  • The method can help detect critical but missing dialogue elements early in the design process, as well as heuristics that are working well.
  • When used in the middle phases of the design process, even with low-fidelity prototypes, evaluations can make later usability tests more effective.

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