5 Performing the Heuristic Evaluation

There are three main stages of performing a heuristic evaluation.

1. Preliminaries

Before performing the heuristic evaluation, we need to set up the system. We do this by:

  1. Agreeing on the set of heuristics to use.

  2. Assigning a team member (usually one who oversaw the programming) to overview the system.

  3. Assigning a team member to be available throughout the evaluation.

  4. Producing a set of tasks that the expert should go through.

2. Evaluation

After the system is set up, we can begin the evaluation. The evaluation steps are as follows:

  1. Each expert works independently through the UI.

  2. Team member records problems, so expert can simply state them (single person works well, so they bring all details together).

  3. Team member answers any questions (e.g. expert gets stuck, cannot find how to do a task, may need help with domain expertise aspects).

  4. Expert does multiple passes of the system (first an overview, and then a detailed pass).

  5. Compile results as a set of identified failures to match the heuristics (part of interface, violated heuristic).

3. Concluding Summary

Finally, we can summarise the results and form conclusions. We do this by:

  1. Summarising all the flaws of the system.

  2. Rating each flaw in terms of severity.

Example Results


This image shows an example table that summarises the results for a 3-person Heuristic Evaluation (i.e. 3 experts do the Heuristic Evaluation). Note that different experts have different ratings for the severity. It is important for each expert to do these severity ratings separately so that they aren’t influenced by each other’s rating.

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