UX 101: Five Heuristic Evaluation Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make as a Newbie

Heuristic Evaluation, or simply Heuristic Evaluation, is one of the easiest and most effective tools you can use to evaluate if an interface works well or not. With it, you can assess your users’ experience and improve their engagement with your product in a matter of minutes. But if used improperly, this technique can lead to some critical mistakes. Here’s a guide on UX 101 mistakes you don’t want to make when doing Heuristic Evaluation as a newbie designer.


The 5 Biggest Heuristic Evaluation Mistakes

  1. Assuming everyone will interpret your design in the same way you do. 
  2. Not considering what users might do if they find something hard to use. 
  3. Making your design too complex, so that people can’t understand it without reading the instructions first. 
  4. Assuming that every user is equal in their abilities and understanding of how things work, when in reality different users have different needs and preferences for using technology (i.e., some may be more technically savvy than others). 
  5. Not testing with enough people or at all before launching your product on a platform like Sketchfab or Steam


The first step is understanding your goals and objectives. The goal of heuristic evaluation is to identify usability problems that may not be evident during the design process. As the evaluator, your objective will be finding these problems and reporting them back to the designer so they can make #1. Not Understanding Your Goals & Objectives

adjustments in order to improve the user experience. It’s important that you understand what you’re looking for before running through all five heuristics because it will dictate how you go about evaluating each one. By understanding your goals, you’ll know what type of information you need from each heuristic in order for it to be successful, which will ultimately make for a more efficient process.


#2. Lack of Context

Lack of context for the users is one of the biggest mistakes that inexperienced heuristic evaluators make. The first step in evaluating a product is asking yourself, Who are the users? If you don’t know who the users are and what they need, it’s impossible to evaluate if your design is meeting those needs. 

One way to evaluate how well your design meets user needs is by looking at it from the point of view of someone who has never seen it before. Imagine your new design as if you were walking into an electronics store and had never seen any electronic devices before – how can you tell if this device would meet your needs or not?


#3. Not Testing With Real Users

One of the most common mistakes newbies make when running heuristic evaluation is not testing with real users. This can be particularly problematic if you are working on a site or app that has never been seen by anyone other than yourself and the team. Testing with real users will help you identify potential problems in your design, such as confusing navigation or content that is difficult to understand. It also helps you validate your design decisions, such as color and layout choices, before investing too much time and energy into them.


#4. Ignoring Common Senses

  1. Skipping the formal review process. Skipping the formal review process is one of the biggest mistakes newbies make when performing heuristic evaluations, or any type of evaluation for that matter. It’s possible to have too many cooks in the kitchen, but in this case it may be just what you need! The more perspectives you have on your design, the better off you’ll be. Plus, it’s always good to get an external opinion on your work and see if there are any ways you can improve.


#5. Skipping the Formal Review Process

Mistake #5: Skipping the Formal Review Process. 

Even if you’re new to heuristic evaluation, it’s important not to skip this crucial step in the process. It is often hard for beginners, but taking some time out of your day to review your work will help you catch mistakes before they become big issues. Although heuristic evaluation is not an exact science and it may be hard for beginners with no experience, it is still worth investing time into learning about the formal review process.


Final Note

Heuristic evaluation is an assessment of your product for usability and user experience. The process typically entails testing your product on users who are representative of the target market for your product. In order to complete this task successfully, it is crucial you know about heuristic evaluation mistakes so that you can avoid them. It’s also good practice to hire a UI/UX design company in India before conducting any kind of usability testing or heuristic evaluation.

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