Heuristic evaluation

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The heuristic evaluation is a technique developed in the 90 to evaluate designs and detect usability, by Jacob Nielsen and Rolf Molich. It lies in the evaluation by several people (3 to 5 tends to be a good number) separately to share their result afterward.

Heuristic matrix

One of the ways to classify the errors is the heuristic matrix that allow us to visualize quickly the more common errors:


The columns identify the errors: less to more commons errors are represented from left to right. The rows identify each one of the items to evaluate: the number of errors is represented top-down in increasing order.

The process

By using a common classification for the problem and its importance, the data will be easier to process. For example, we could have a description such as:

  • Problem description
  • Design heuristic affected: could use the 10 usability heuristics, other set related to the domain, etc
  • Prioritization:
    • 0 – don’t agree this is a problem
    • 1 – cosmetic problem
    • 2 – minor usability problem
    • 3 – major usability problem, it’s important to fix it
    • 4 – catastrophe, it’s necessary to fix this

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