What Is Heuristic Evaluation In UX?
Every UX designer aims to make the product in such a way that it fulfills the needs and requirement of the users, the ultimate goal is to provide the best user experience. For this extensive research and a proper process is followed which also includes heuristic evaluation.
Heuristic Evaluation in the simplest words is the process to evaluate and test the usability of the design based on a set of predefined heuristics or set of rules broadly known as set of thumb rules. It is usually performed by usability experts, who are professionals with a long career and experience in product testing and UX design thinking.
Heuristic evaluation is often confused with user testing.
User testing is done with potential users of the product to identify difficulty or friction experienced in performing a particular task, completing any process or testing the flow of any new functionality added. One primary difference is the resourcing required to run effective usability tests. It can become cumbersome to source users for a test, and once feedback is incorporated into an iteration, new users must be sourced to validate that solution too.However for the heuristic evaluation you don’t need to be the users of the product, you can perform heuristic evaluation at any stage of the product development be it beginning or middle or end stage. It can either be performed by a group of experienced evaluators or even your internal team.
Why Heuristic Evaluation?
Though the best results are driven from user testing but it is true that user testing pricey and need large resources to be performed. After user testing the results concluded have to be incorporated in the product and again we need different users to test the changes made, thus it takes longer than usual to get the final corrections done. Wherein heuristic evacuation is a process to perceive the usability issues in our product interface design and solving them based on its severity, it is based on a predefined set of thumb rules and thus is more efficient to follow. As you know user testing is done once the final prototype is ready it makes it difficult to spot the basic mistakes that could be made at the beginning of the development cycle. But if you run heuristic process at the initial stages, we can find and solve some obvious mistakes that can happen there in the beginning.
10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design
1. Visibility of system status:
The design should always keep users informed about what is going on, through appropriate feedback within a reasonable amount of time. They should now that their current status is the outcome of their prior interactions and also should be able to predict the future interactions to complete the process.
2. Match between system and the real world:
The design should speak the users’ language using terms and concepts that are familiar to the intended audience. The way you should design depends very much on your specific users. Terms, concepts, icons, and images that seem perfectly clear to you and your colleagues may be unfamiliar or confusing to your users. So it is important to check upon that whether or not the design is understandable by every type of user.
3. User Control and Freedom:
User should not feel at any point that they are lost in the design interface. There should be a proper mechanism to undo or redo the clicks. In other words user should be able to control his actions.
4. Consistency and standards:
User controls, icons, terminology, and error messaging should be consistent throughout the interface. Use terminologies or icons that are familiar to the audience and easy to understand.
5. Recognition rather than recall:
Minimize the user’s memory load by making elements, actions, and options visible. On a web form, allow easy access to previously entered information, such as serial numbers, so the user does not need to recall the information or write it down.
6. Error prevention:
Error prevention is very important in a successful design product. Keep the user informed about the wrong tasks done with the error messages, but the best practice is to prevent errors from happening at the first place by showing appropriate warnings.
7. Flexibility and efficiency of use:
Shortcuts (in any form on screen or on keyboard) can speed up the process for experienced users and thus the product can be efficiently used by both experienced and inexperienced users.
8. Aesthetic and minimalist design:
Your interface should not be overcrowded with extra or irrelevant information that can be confusing for user .
9. Help users recover from Errors:
Error messages should be presented in a simple format ( rather than confusing codes) that can be understood by the user and help user to get out of the problem.
10. Help and documentation:
It is a good and successful practice to design an interface that does not need any kind of help to be understood, but in extreme cases we can have a documentation that could explain how can the processes and tasks be done.