Heuristic analysis

Ground yourself at the beginning of a project by:

  1. Understanding the current state of a design
  2. Understanding key competitors
  3. Conducting Stakeholders* interviews
  4. Conducting Heuristic analysis

Heuristic analysis

  • Heuristics: "rules of thumb" (best practice) for design
  • Heuristic analysis:
    1. Is: a review of a product against a set of rules (heuristics) for usable design
    2. Used to: evaluate the usability on an existing design. Not a replacement for a true user research. Provides general understanding and helps to identify potential design issues.
    3. Applied to: existing, redesign, competitor
    4. Conducted by: experts
    5. Also called: heuristic evaluation, expert review
  • Heuristic analysis report includes:
    1. heuristics violated (problem area),
    2. descriptions,
    3. impact/importance ratings,
    4. recommendations (for improvement)
  • Heuristic analysis process:
    1. Background check on the product
    2. Choose heuristics, e.g. Nielsen's (see his book "Usability Engineering")
    3. Conduct analysis on prioritized sections of the design
    4. Share results with your team and primary stakeholders


  • *Stakeholder: anyone who has a significant interest in an enterprise. For example:
    1. Your bosses (Specialists in UXD, ID, HCI, psychology; Investors; Project Leaders)
    2. Development team (Programmers, engineers, etc.)
    3. End users (People who use the interface the most)


  1. Russ Unger and Carolyn Chandler "A Project Guide to UX Design: For user experience designers in the field or in the making" (2009), pp 70-73: Heuristic analysis
  2. Human-Computer Interaction & Cognition: reading list