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Glossary » heuristic evaluation

heuristic evaluation

a technique for finding usability problems with a user interface. A small number of trained evaluators (typically 3 to 5) separately inspect a user interface by applying a set of “heuristics”, broad guidelines that are generally relevant. They then combine their results and rank the importance of each problem to prioritize fixing each problem. In Jakob Nielsen’s work, he identified 10 heuristics which are broadly helpful in spotting the vast majority of problems (though others may at times be useful). The 10 that Nielsen identifies are:

  • visibility of system status
  • match between the system and the real world
  • user control and freedom
  • consistency and standards
  • error prevention
  • recognition rather than recall
  • flexibility and efficiency of use
  • aesthetic and minimalist design
  • help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors
  • help and documentation