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How to Conduct Heuristic Evaluation for Usability

In conducting a heuristic evaluation, you are looking for flaws in the user experience and comparing your product/website/app to usability best practices. Heuristic evaluation is essential to know how to improve the product's usability performance. The process of conducting heuristic evaluation is a step-by-step approach that needs careful attention.

Process of Conducting Heuristic Evaluation

Define what you want to evaluate

The first thing is to know what you want to evaluate and what you want to achieve with the evaluation. Will you be assessing the complete package? When evaluating a product, you must evaluate each page and interaction.

You can even divide the heuristic evaluation into smaller sections, such as focusing on the registration process, checkout, or navigation. It is better to concentrate on one section at a time when analyzing a product is better. It ensures being thorough and meticulous with the process.

Know your user's behaviors and motivations

Understanding your users' goals and reasons for utilizing the product is essential. If you do not approach the review from the perspective of your users, you can miss critical issues that might improve their experience.

Select the heuristics you will use

There are several different types of heuristics. If you are a skilled assessor, you can also make your own. The Jakob-Nielsen heuristic is the most recommended because it is widely used and validated. Among the other heuristics are Jill Gerhard's 10 cognitive engineering principles, Alan Cooper's face 2.0, and Ben Schneiderman's eight interface design rules.

Set up a system for identifying problems

People may have different perspectives on problems, and the severity of each issue may differ from one evaluator to the next. It is crucial to establish the various severity levels of each issue.

For example, minor usability problem; the user can still finish the work. Major usability problem; the user struggles to complete the task. Critical usability problem; the user is unable to complete the task.

Conduct the evaluation

Sit alone and review each encounter in the part you have chosen to evaluate. Interact with each element to discover if any of the heuristics are broken. It is advisable to have a sheet of paper with each heuristic's definitions (and examples). It may take one or two days to undertake a heuristic evaluation of a complete product. You may keep track of the heuristic evaluation in a few ways, some of which are:

  • A google sheet with each interaction and a list of heuristics per evaluation.

  • Google doc with each interaction and the violated heuristics

  • Google doc with each heuristic and the interactions that violate that heuristic.

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