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Heuristic Evaluation - Nitya Malhotra


Heuristic Evaluation

There are many ways one could evaluate UI. One of these methods in Heuristic Evaluation. Heuristic Evaluation works well because the team of evaluators first individually evaluates the UI and then integrate their findings. One person can very rarely find all the usability bugs in an interface. Having multiple users improves the effectiveness of the evaluation.

The steps :
• Gather all the information you require. Make sure you all have the necessary resources to evaluate.

• Reach a consensus on the heuristics in order to have some consistency between all the individual evaluations.
The heuristics refer to a list of recognized usability principles. The heuristics are general rules that describe common properties of usable interfaces. For example, Nielsen list http://www.useit.com/papers/heuristic/heuristic_list.html

• It is also useful to provide a scenario that all the evaluators could run the interface through

• Now starts the independent evaluation. Make sure you go over the interface several times before you actually start evaluating. The first time is to give a feel of the interface. The next few times allow you to focus on the details and seeing how they all fit in the system as a whole.

• Now start rating the UI based on your predefined rating scale and heuristics.
Note – This is a usability evaluation. You should ignore any functionality issues and only focus on the interactions between the interface and the user. Also, do not think of how the issues will be resolved. It is your job only to evaluate the UI and point out usability bugs, not fix them. Usability bugs – anything can classify as a usability bug. If you think it’s a usability bug then it probably is. For example – flashy colors that serve no purpose, the UI not specifying the format of input it wants, not having clear error messages etc. These bugs can range from anything very insignificant to very extreme.

• Once everyone has evaluated the interface individually, organize all the found problems. Filter out any unwanted issues.

• Analyze the issues and rate them based on their severity and urgency to be fixed. For example – 1 means the usability bug is very insignificant and should be fixed only if time permits, while 5 means that the usability bug is a big issue and it is imperative to fix the bug.

• The usability bugs should be as specific as possible, mentioning why it is a usability bug.




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