Summary: How to Conduct a Heuristic Evaluation
This is a short summary of Jakob Nielsens Arcticle on nngroup.com questioning "How to Conduct a Heuristic Evaluation".
Definition: Heuristic evaluation is a method for finding usability problems in a user interface design
Heuristic evaluation is intended as "discount usability engineering" method. This is per se not bad as it is very cost efficient: Nielsen found out, that costs were about $10,500 and expected benefits $500,000.
- three to five evaluators are recommended (throwing people on the problem does not inevitable lead to additional information)
- Evaluator inspect the interface alone
- Evaluator are only allowed to communicate with other evaluators after they have done the evaluation
- Domain-related questions of evaluators are allowed and should be answered (Contrary to traditional user testing)
- Evaluations sessions typically last one or two hours (Complicated interfaces should be splitted in several sessions)
- Iterative approach (at least two times): the evaluator uses the interface several times and compares it with defined heuristics
- Heuristics can be
- own expectations to usability
- heuristics retrieved by competitive analysis
- usability principles
- Visibility of system status
- Match between system and the real world
- User control and freedom
- Consistency and standards
- Error prevention
- Recognition rather than recall
- Flexibility and efficiency of use
- Aesthetic and minimalist design
- Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors
- Help and documentation
- Ideally formalized as written reports
- "List of usability problems in the interface with references to those usability principles that were violated by the design in each case in the opinion of the evaluator."
- Explanation of each violation and link to the heuristic
- As detailed as possible
- Nielsen, J. (1995), How to conduct a heuristic evaluation, January 1, 1995, Accessed on March 13, 2015
- Nielsen, J. (1995), 10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design, January 1, 1995, Accessed on March 13, 2015
- Nielsen, J. (1994). Heuristic evaluation. In Nielsen, J., and Mack, R.L. (Eds.), Usability Inspection Methods. John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY.