UX Heuristics: What the Heck is a Heuristic, Anyways?

UX Heuristics: What the Heck is a Heuristic, Anyways?

Wikipedia defines heuristics as “strategies using readily accessible, though loosely applicable, information to control problem solving” . The origin of the word itself lies in curiosity and inquiry. In user experience design, this means applying a specific set of common principles to uncover problems and identify areas for improvement. At DevFacto, we use them to evaluate, facilitate, and in some cases predict the strength, quality, and effectiveness our work.

The set of heuristics we use are based on the well-regarded work of Abbey Covert, whose list was built in consideration of Nielsen & Molich, Peter Morville, Lou Rosenfeld, Ergonomics of Human System Interaction and most recently Resmini & Rosati.

These are the 10 heuristics we use:
* Findable
* Accessible
* Clear
* Communicative
* Useful (Effective)
* Credible
* Controllable
* Valuable
* Learnable
* Delightful

Your first consideration of them should be in how they can drive you to ask the right questions. You can gain value simply by asking questions like “is (some important thing) findable in my current project?” or “is the solution I am building communicating the right things to people using it?”


“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” 


It becomes more powerful when you can identify the most applicable heuristics against a particular task or user goal, based on knowledge of the user attempting to complete that goal. Suddenly you’re honing in on what will make a great interaction for that user, and creating a really valuable piece of work.

At DevFacto, we offer a heuristic assessment, in which we use heuristics to break down issues in an existing solution and provide insight into what can be done to improve them. For each finding, we list applicable heuristics, severity of the issues, propose a solution, and list the benefits of that solution.

Interested in diving deeper into UX Heuristics? Download our Heuristics in UX Design eBook – it’s a great introductory guide to UX Heuristics and how to succeed using them.

Download eBook here.

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