How to conduct Heuristic Evaluation

Heuristic principles

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 ").

It is really necessary for any Usability analyst/ UX designer to know proper way to conduct 'Heuristic Evaluation'. lets see the process step by step.

1. Understand Participants and Facilitators 

First step in conducting Heuristic Evaluation is finding 'Participants' who will be contributing actively in this process. Generally design team members/ domain experts / stakeholders becomes participants for H.E. Facilitator is the person who manages and conducts this process and prepares evaluation reports. (Recommended 'Participants' counts 3-5) 

Make sure all the Participants understand Heuristic Principles, if not brief them about Heuristic Principles.

2. Prepare use-cases 

For conducting H.E. prepare the use cases of primary features of application. Use cases should be real scenarios in which application is currently being used. You can conduct H.E. of any kind of application like, website, mobile website, mobile or tablet app etc. 

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3. Prepare Participant's and Facilitator's sheet 

Now your task is to prepare Participant's sheet and Facilitator's sheet. Both the sheets are same but being used at different steps. Sheet includes below mentioned fields,
- Use cases
- Problem description
- Severity 
- Heuristic Principles affected

Ex. of a sheet is shown here,

Heuristic Evaluation template

4. Individual Evaluation 

Now ask your participant to use application on the basis of use cases mentioned in 'Participant's sheet' twice or tries. While using the application if they find any problem or finding then ask them to make a note. Also ask them to provide 'Severity' rating to each problem they found and associate with affected heuristic principles. 
Severity rating scale
1 - Cosmic or minor problem
2 - Moderate problem
3 - Major problem
4 - usability disaster  
Perform this step with all the participants individually.

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5. Sit together and consolidate findings 

Once all the participants have evaluated application individually now we start the 'Group activity'.
Ask all the participants to tell their findings/problems with severity and discuss about it. This step will provide you unique problems and finalized severity.
Now you have problems, severity and heuristics principles which are affected.

Now next step is reporting and presenting the insights from this activity.

About Author

Abhishek Jain
Design Lead UX Researcher
Co-founder of UXness 
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