A simple checklist for a Heuristic Reiew

3rd January 2018 in , by

A simple checklist for a Heuristic Reiew

What is a Heuristic Review?

Okay, jargon alert! Heuristic just means self-educating, so  by a person or team doing a heuristic review, they are learning in the process what works and what doesn’t. They’re also known as Expert reviews, just because I guess the people completing them like to think of themselves as experts (or convince others they are experts!).

When should I use one?

Recently, my team and I completed a little bit of concept work which looked into a redesign of the site for the company I currently work with. We explored how to improve the readability of the site with changes to the UI, however we soon uncovered a couple of changes which could negatively affect the usability overall.

To get the best result, I suggested the UX team objectively look at some of the suggested changes and work together to suggest ways of achieving the same goal – all whilst having the usability of the page remain unaffected or preferably, improved.

I read a few different resources which helped compile the below quick checklist which I sent to the team and gave examples of the things I might look for. I couldn’t find one which gave a quick overview like this so I thought it might be useful to create one!

It’s grouped into areas which can not only be used to review existing designs, sites or apps but areas which can be kept in mind as fresh designs are being made.

You can get a set of great step-by-step instructions for running a Heuristic Review at UX Mastery – How to run an evaluation

Hope you find this quick checklist helpful!

Visibility of System Feedback

  1. Does it tell you what’s happening?
  2. Does it tell you where you are?

How do I check system feedback?

  • Title, Header
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Animations
  • System response to input e.g. rollovers, wait state
  • Page loading


  1. Does it support the primary goals and tasks you need to complete?
  2. Does it use familiar language?
  3. Is it organised naturally and logically?

How do I check complexity?

  • Groups of similar things
  • No technical jargon (user jargon is fine)
  • Prompts and examples when entering information

Navigation and Control

  1. Can you move around non-destructively?
  2. Can you go back and undo easily?

How do I check navigation and control?

  • Error recovery
  • Clarity of destructive actions
  • Reduced typing through Auto-filling
  • Easy to undo
  • Allow back and forth navigation


  1. Does it use the same words for the same thing?
  2. Are things in familiar places?
  3. Does the UI look the same for the same actions?

How do I check for consistency?

  • Similar page layout
  • Consistent calls to action, naming conventions, buttons, links, colours, grammar, active voice, abbreviations and placement

Error prevention and correction

  1. Does it stop you from making mistakes?
  2. Do you know what’s happened?
  3. Are there any suggestions to fix or explanations about how to correct it?

How do I check error prevention and correction?

  • Auto-fill
  • Validation
  • Clear error messages with suggestions
  • Favouriting/recent
  • Show range or format in fields


  1. Are there any obvious patterns?
  2. Are items grouped together?
  3. Does it have helpful auto suggestions?

How do I check for recognition?

  • Clear inactive states
  • Help and tooltips
  • Suggestions
  • Common design patterns


  1. Can I do what I need to quickly and easily?

How do I check the efficiency?

  • Accelerators e.g. hitting enter to send a message (a novice is not slowed down by it, and an expert is sped up)

Simplicity and Appeal

  1. Is it streamlined?
  2. Does it feel simple?
  3. Does it feel nice?

How do I check how simple and appealing it is?

  • Don’t create icon’s for their own sake if they are not recognisable
  • Colour and Layout
  • Visual Simplicity balanced with information density
  • Progressive disclosure

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