Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Heuristic Evaluation

Heuristic Evaluation (HE) is defined as "Inspection of an interface against usability heuristics, with the goal of identifying usability issues." It is conducted by 3-5 trained evaluators and it does not involve end users.

Problems can be identified across several UI categories - Branding, Site Strategy, Navigation, Layout, Wording, Graphics, Animation, Color, Fonts, Control Elements, Web Standards, Error Handling etc.

Usually following severity types are considered:
  1. Showstoppers – Catastrophic issues that prevent people from accomplishing their goals.
  2. Major Issues – Issues that cause waste of time, increased learning and error rates
  3. Irritants – Minor cosmetic or consistency issues that slow users down slightly / are a minimal violation of usability guidelines

Here are couple of examples of a typical HE: