BLOG POST ·
3
min read ·
3.2.2021

A Guide to Heuristic Analysis - Running A Usability Evaluation

Team member conducting a Usability Testing session

Quality assurance in custom software development comes in many different aspects to consider. Focusing on the user experience and interface design is one of the components that many companies tend to brush off as less important, which often leads to optimisation issues. Developers have to pay attention to the bottom line of design, where they must realise that the user is at the centre of everything. 

Software engineering is a complicated process that isn't only because of the coding and programming that goes into things. Teams working on cutting-edge programs and applications have to consider how they design user interfaces to ensure that all needs are met. One way to determine if a user interface works as intended is to conduct heuristic analysis procedures. These methods will show usability and the overall quality of software. 


Running a Heuristic Evaluation for User Interface Design

An application's usability requires a good design philosophy and the features' functionality. It can help by viewing design as a systematic and data-driven process rather than purely aesthetic or artistic, especially when it comes to user interface design. Software developers have to seek out methods to fill in the gaps of what users require to complete daily tasks with speed and efficiency. Developing teams can find user's needs through various forms of discovery, which is where a heuristic evaluation of an application comes into play:


Nielsen and Molich’s Design Heuristics

Jakob Nielsen and Rolf Molich are some of the fathers of great and usable user interfaces. Their expertise is often sought after by any software development company to ensure that their products meet their target audience's standards. Here are some of the more critical points from their list of UI design heuristics:


1. System Status Visibility

Interfaces should always display any new updates or other vital system operations with an easy-to-understand layout that gives ample time to react. The application areas are meant to be quickly navigated and leave the user without much guesswork. 


2. User Freedom Capabilities

While custom software development often includes style guides with consistent patterns to ensure the user's experience is straightforward, interfaces should also consider freedom. Functional design means giving users control and freedom of use, which can come in features like undoing or redoing an action, or navigating through pages with ease. 


3. Recognition Optimisation

Recognition is more critical than recall in terms of user interface design. Instead of having various features and buttons that look unique to your software piece, nothing beats recognisable elements. UIs that consider recognition helps users access functions quicker and easier, leaving the guesswork behind. An example is how people know that a backwards arrow means going to a previous page compared to reinventing the wheel and finding a new way to design this element. 


4. Simple User-centric Design Is Key

Modern software aesthetics evolved to favour minimalistic designs. Complex and cluttered apps are a thing of the earlier custom software development days, as there was no bible for UI and UX designers, and the system design often didn't consider its end users. Trends shift all the time, which means users' needs today are different from the youthful days of applications. Quality assurance means investing in good design and implementing interface design best practices for a friendly user experience.


5. Efficiency and Flexibility Are Essential

People want fast-loading applications that are equally fast to use. Fewer interactions are often better, contributing to an efficient software piece. Some people will appreciate the flexibility to tailor-fit some aspects of the interface to fit their needs, especially power users who perform repetitive tasks. An example is how users might change up their app taskbars on their phone to put the most-used apps first to allow easy access. 


Conclusion

Heuristic evaluation entails looking at the usability and viability of functional changes to an app. Software developers need always to keep these theories in mind, as they act as the designer's bible to provide people with the things they need to tackle daily tasks. A software development company's best way to reach their goals with a design is to tackle the foundations of having user-centred theories and philosophies. 


Fabric Group is a software development company in Australia that works with clients to provide custom software solutions. Our team is well-equipped to handle various app development elements and are ready to provide you with quality assurance. Get in touch with us to learn more about our work with the field of usable technologies. 

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