Peculiarities of Heuristic Evaluations and Search for Software Usability
As we know, heuristics is a special process of self-learning something specific. Heuristics techniques are a set of approaches to resolving specific dilemmas.
To put it simply, if you look long into a design, you’ll stop paying attention to small defects of the graphical interface. In such a situation, you have to see the product with fresh eyes. But what if there is no one else to show your product for a new assessment? In such a situation, you should resort to the help of so-called heuristic evaluations. In this material, we will talk about how this happens in practice, and what typical features may arise when searching for the usability of the software.
Basics of Heuristic Evaluations
Its author is considered to be Jacob Nielsen who developed them to be used exclusively for desktop applications. Sometime later, they began to be used for mobile applications created for direct interactions with users.
The basic essence of heuristics evaluation is: to use heuristic frameworks to develop a current plan of action and deviate from the methods by which you detect problems. Such an evaluation is a completely objective opinion about the graphical interface, which makes you find specific defects in the software.
Of course, heuristics are not a benchmark, and they are certainly not perfect. But they are better than the trivial attempt of many outsourcing testing companies to do usability checks with their eyes closed.
Applying Heuristic Structures in Practice
Because different users test different ideas during the testing process, heuristics help not to deviate from clear-cut patterns. We should also keep in mind that heuristic evaluation cannot replace effective usability testing. Users are different people, and the single results we get in testing can differ from the evaluations of the end web users (and it probably will).
Use so-called notes to organize ideas and clearly follow your goals. Also, these notes allow managing you during software testing by setting specific goals for the person – the test will be better, and the results will be more complete and informative.
Also, it’s worth analyzing different website functionality separately, evaluating the uniformity of their performance:
- Navigation blocks;
- Availability on mobile devices;
- Registration forms and interactive components;
- Typography and web content clarity;
- Different communications and contacts.
First of all, try to analyze the sites you’re most interested in. Take Nielsen’s notes and your own testing goals that are better suited to current usability issues.
You can also think about handling bugs, reducing the load on the user’s memory, and resolving interactivity issues by reducing the steps necessary to implement the action. Heuristics can be both in a vague form and in a rather detailed representation. It all depends on the product under test exactly.
By using them on other project sites, you will definitely lose your preconceptions and be well prepared to apply this method on all subsequent projects.