CS 552, Spring 1998
Guidelines of Using UI Evaluation Techniques
Derived from Robin Jeffris, etc, 1991, "User interface evaluation in the
real world: a comparison of four techniques", Proceedings of CHI, 1991,
(1) Always ask developers to do evaluation by using guidelines and
Explanation: These two techniques are not costly. They can help
find problems in the early phase of software development. Developers don't
need to wait for the results from user interface specialists.
Example: Give the development team the guidelines of user interface
in details. Let them check if the designment of the user interface
the guidelines. Once the user interface has been designed using the guidelines,
let the development team "walk through" it.
Exception: No exception. It's always a good idea to let
guidelines when they evaluate the interface. And let them accomplish the
typical tasks done by
(2) When user interface specialists are available, ask them to do
the heuristic evaluation.
Explanation: The UI specialists can find more serious problems in
the interface by using heuristic evaluation. It's also the best bet when
concerning the benefits vs. cost rate.
Example: After the software product is finished, send it to a UI
specialists group and get problem reports from them.
Exception: UI specialists can be hard to find. When they can find
many serious problems, they also report many not-so-important problems.
Some of problems reports is just a problem of taste. The development team
have to wait until the final phase of software development to get the
report. There will be some organizational issues when developers work with
(3) When having enough budget and time, do usability testing.
Explanation: Usability testing is also good at finding serious problems
in the user interface. It doesn't find too many problems like heuristic evaluation
Example: Choose typical users of the software product as the
subjects. Let them learn to use the interface for some time. Then
give them user tasks to accomplish and record the problems.
Exception: The usability testing can be too expensive or time-consuming.
It also need to be done by UI specialists, so it has the same problems
as the heuristic evaluation.
Xinju Wang, May 13, 1998