Sometimes a fast, cost effective review is all that’s required for a relatively small project or may be the ideal starting point to help decide on the direction a more in-depth analysis should take for a larger project. In these cases a heuristic evaluation may prove ideal as it requires analysis by a single usability expert and therefore does not involve the time or cost of user testing and all the associated tools and techniques which often go with that.

The heuristics are a set of defined usability principles that can be applied to a website, or anything else being tested, in order to discover if any of those principles have been breached. The results can then be combined with the experience of the evaluator in order to suggest which issues are likely to cause the greatest difficulty in real use and therefore either aid correcting the problems or being used as a starting point to design user testing procedures for further evidence where a redesign may prove time consuming and costly.