Heuristic Evaluation

What is
heuristic evaluation?

In UX design, heuristic evaluation refers to testing the usability levels of a website/app or any digital platform, aka, how usable the website is as reviewed by a usability expert (in most cases, a UX or UI designer). Unlike usability testing, where users are asked to evaluate the user-friendliness of a digital platform, in heuristics evaluation is the designers who conduct the testing to gain an understanding of an existing design. Heuristic evaluation in UX design is often done keeping in mind a set of predefined criteria & usability guidelines (rule of thumb). In reality, there are more than 200 heuristics evaluation criteria which include visibility, match between system & real world, user control & freedom, error prevention, in addition to others.

Benifits of
heuristic evaluation

  • Helps optimize usability 
  • Reduce design errors
  • Guarantees efficacy of a digital interface
  • Validation of design direction & decisions 
  • Helps resolve issues related to security 
  • Lays groundwork for accessible & inclusive design 
  • Inexpensive method to implement & improve usability
  • Detects minor problems that go unnoticed 
  • Evaluates the impact of interface design errors on overall user experience

Elements of
heuristic evaluation

  • Visibility of system status, aka, what’s happening at each step
  • System should mimic real life entities as much as possible
  • There should be a clear “emergency exit” option for users 
  • Consistent visual design language that users can easily understand
  • Reduced cognitive load, should not rely on recall 
  • Aesthetically pleasing 
  • Easy to navigate, scroll, & find the right information
  • Hassle free & easy to complete tasks 
  • Intuitive & user friendly
  • Readability, accessibility, & simplicity 

How is heuristic
evaluation done?

In ideal cases, heuristics evaluation should be performed by at least 3 usability experts. Initially, a set of predefined heuristics or guidelines are agreed upon and then each usability expert performs the evaluation separately. Once the evaluation is done, the reviews are recorded & documented from all the usability experts. The main advantage of having multiple evaluators is that there are fewer chances of any error being missed out.

does it?

UX Designer

Heuristics Expert

Heuristic evaluation parameters UX research