Heuristic evaluation is a form of usability inspection where usability specialists judge whether each element of a user interface follows a list of established usability heuristics. Usually two to three analysts evaluate the system with reference to established guidelines or principles, noting down their observations and often ranking them in order of severity. The experts should be aware of any relevant contextual information relating to the intended user group, tasks and usage of the product. If two or more experts are assessing the system, they should not communicate with one another until the assessment is complete. After the assessment period, the analysts can collate the problem lists and the individual items can be rated for severity.
The purpose of heuristic evaluation is to identify usability problems based on established human factors principles. The method will provide some recommendations for design improvements. However, as the method relies on experts, the output will naturally emphasize interface functionality and design rather than the properties of the interaction between an actual user and the product. The heuristic evaluation can be conducted at various stages of the development cycle.