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Heuristic Evaluation

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  • Difficulty Level : Hard
  • Last Updated : 15 Feb, 2021
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The need for Heuristic Evaluation :

Heuristic Evaluation is the process of thorough evaluation/assessment where the experts in a particular domain, used to measure the usability of the user interface. Usability can be defined as how easily a specific user can use a particular design or say interface without facing any problem. In general, we can say the Heuristic Evaluation is performed to detect the issues in the design of a product. It also identifies the ways to resolve those issues present in design and meet the user expectations.

Heuristic Evaluation is an in-depth usability test that is performed by the experts. As it is also well known to everyone that better usability, higher the number of users will interact with the product. Jakob Nielsen and Rolf Molich are web usability pioneers who published the article in 1990, which contains a set of heuristics. A heuristic can be defined as the fast and practical way to approach a problem and make effective decisions to solve those problems. Experts use the heuristics approach to systematically evaluate the user experience (UX) design.

When to conduct Heuristic Evaluation :

There is no such rule when to perform the Heuristics Evaluation, but it can be performed at any stage of the design process. Most of the time the heuristic evaluation is performed after the paper prototyping and usability test. As Heuristics Evaluation helps to optimize the design of the user-interface it becomes very important to be performed to evaluate the final design.

How to conduct Heuristic Evaluation :

Define the Scope of Evaluation – 
Mentioning the budget and deadline becomes very important at the time of evaluation. One should also define the different parameters where they want to conduct the usability test.

Know the End-User – 
As we know, different groups of people have different expectations from a product. So it becomes very important to know the end-user and their interest.

Choose your Set of Heuristics – 
Without a proper heuristic, the Heuristics Evaluation will produce unreliable and useless results if all the evaluators are not going to use the same guidelines.

Setting-up an Evaluation System and Identifying Issues –
Decide the different categories in which a problem should be categories like a critical issue, minor issue, etc. Evaluators must follow the guidelines of system evaluation.

Analyze and Summarize the Results –
It becomes very necessary to analyze the issue present in the design of user interface and solve those issues before the deadline.

Advantages :  

  • Reveals many hidden usability problems.
  • It helps to determine the overall user experience.
  • Heuristics evaluation can be combined with usability testing.
  • Better Heuristics Evaluation helps to engage more users.
  • It is cheaper and faster than conducting full-blown usability testing.

Disadvantages :  

  • Sometimes it is a bit hard for even experts to figure out some problems.
  • It becomes hard to find experts to conduct the Heuristics Evaluation.
  • We will need few expert evaluators, so that it will become easier for us to stick with usability testing.
  • Flaws in design will affect the engagement of users in the product.
  • Heuristics testing depends on the expertise level of only a few experts.
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