In addition to the Claims Analysis posted earlier another popular method of inspecting a design is the Heuristic Evaluation. The aim again is to uncover usability issues earlier in the design process. This can prevent them from showing up later in a live usability test. These later tests can then delve deeper uncovering other issues that might have otherwise been hidden. In the evaluation process a group reviews the design and judges it against a set of established criteria - the "heuristics". The heuristics can vary depending on the specifics of the design but ten common ones are listed on the website of usability professional Jakob Nielsen.
- Visibility of system status. The system should always show state and provide adequate feedback.
- Match between system and the real world. Speak the language of the customer's domain.
- User control and freedom. Provide clear ways to get back or exit a feature when things go wrong.
- Consistency and standards. Follow platform conventions re-use appropriate workflows.
- Error prevention. Try to design out conditions where the customer can easily get into trouble.
- Recognition rather than recall. Do not overload the customer's memory. Make possible actions visible.
- Flexibility and efficiency of use. Support both novice and expert users through alternative command access (accelerators)
- Aesthetic and minimalist design. Keep it simple. Remove any elements that serves no clear purpose.
- Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors. Use plain language and state the problem and potential solutions.
- Help and documentation. Do not rely on help but ensure it is readily available, easy to search, and uses real tasks in examples.
Recent efforts have made progress on applying these principles during new design work. Tooltips and task dialogs were re-written to remove jargon and use natural language. A consistent icon language was applied to commands and pointers. Massing tools provide new in-view manipulation controls.
Future efforts involve applying these not just in new designs but revisiting existing features.