6 Picking the Most Important Heuristic

Aside from identifying the violated heuristics, it is important to know how to pick the most important heuristic as well.

For example, an interface may violate the following heuristics:

  1. Match between system and the real world.

  1. Consistency and standards.

  1. Recognition rather than recall.

  1. Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors.

However, it is likely that this interface violates specific heuristics more than the others. Additionally, some heuristics are inherently more important than others. For example, if this interface is not consistent (i.e. violates heuristic 4), but it also does not match the real world (i.e. violates heuristic 2), then it is likely more important to ensure that the interface matches the real world than to ensure that the interface is consistent. Additionally, this lack of consistency may imply that the rest of the system also does not match the real world.

A Heuristic Evaluation would be less effective if an expert listed every heuristic as important. This is because we want to focus on fixing issues that violate the most important heuristics, as there likely isn’t enough time to fix all of the issues.

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