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A heuristic evaluation is a usability inspection based on testing a system in a very easy and quick manner. It was first introduced in 1990 by Jakob Nielson. It requires a team of evaluators to examine an interface based on simple "heuristics", or common usability principles. This evaluation can be performed at the beginning of a design process, or during the middle of a design process. The team, usually consisting of four or five members, first evaluate the design individually and try to find any issues related to usability. This team could consist of people who are experienced with using the system or even inexperienced. Afterwards, the individual evaluators meet as a team to review the problems that they find and rate the severity of each issue. There are many advantages to this inspection. It is inexpensive, and does not require much effort. Also, there is not much planning required. On the other hand, there are disadvantages to this inspection system as well. Heuristic evaluations do not identify as many issues as other methods, for example cognitive walkthrough. Also, it does not always suggest solutions for issues that are identified and may cause false alarms that are not necessary.
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