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Heuristic evaluation


A quick way to find common, large usability problems on a website.


To quickly identify common design problems that make websites hard to use without conducting more involved user research.

Time required

1–2 hours

How to do it

  1. Recruit a group of three to five people familiar with heuristic evaluation methods.
    • Evaluators do not necessarily need to be designers, but they should be familiar with common usability best practices.
    • Ideally, they are not users or overly familiar with the site being evaluated.
  2. Provide a set of recognized heuristics for the group to evaluate the site against.
  3. Have each person evaluate the website using the provided heuristics and document problems.
    • Optionally, have them capture a severity level and potential solution (if apparent) for each problem.
  4. Review the data and prioritize problems to address.

Additional resources

Considerations for use in government

No PRA Implications, as heuristic evaluations usually include a small number of evaluators. If conducted with nine or fewer members of the public, the PRA does not apply, 5 CFR 1320.5(c)4. If participants are employees, the PRA does not apply. See the methods for Recruiting and Privacy for more tips on taking input from the public.