How to do a heuristic evaluation

The seven steps in a successful heuristic evaluation or a usability inspection are:

1. Prepare heuristic evaluation

Determine goals in cooperation with stakeholders.

Write a brief evaluation plan: The goals of the evaluation; who will be involved; time plan; the set of heuristics chosen for the evaluation; how the results will be reported.

Ask stakeholders to review and approve the evaluation plan.

2. Select evaluators

Evaluators can be user experience professionals and people with knowledge of the subject matter, for example users and other stakeholders.

3. Present the interactive system to be evaluated to the evaluators

4. Evaluate the system in solitude

Each evaluator evaluates the interactive system in solitude based solely on the heuristics. Evaluators should report only usability findings that can be clearly related to a heuristic.

Each evaluator writes down their usability findings.

5. Build consensus

The evaluators meet and try to reach consensus on highlights and lowlights.

This consensus building is of particular importance. It weeds out any usability findings that are peculiar to a specific evaluator. Only usability findings that a majority of the evaluators support are included in the usability inspection report

Only usability findings that a majority of the evaluators support are included in the usability inspection report

6. Present and discuss findings with stakeholders

The evaluators present the usability findings on which a majority agree to  interested stakeholders.

The stakeholders and the evaluators discuss the findings.

Any major disagreements that remain after the discussion can be resolved in a usability test.

7. Write usability inspection report

One of the evaluators writes the usability inspection report, whose format and content is similar to the format of a usability test report.