A UX Expert Review is an expert-based evaluation method to determine the usability of a software product using guidelines, standards and heuristics. The review can be conducted at any stage of development. It does not matter whether it is a prototype, a wireframe, or an already (partially) functional application.
- Both pragmatic and hedonic quality aspects should be considered.
- Positive and negative aspects should be considered equally by the reviewers.
- The aspects to which the reviewers should pay attention are selected based on the application being evaluated.
The acquired experts should have knowledge in the UX field and ideally in the product's domain. 3–4 experts are sufficient.
The basic concept of all usability review processes is to have a product or application assessed by a small number of experts. The goal of the experts is to identify weak points in the product and document them in a structured form.
These weak points are then discussed with the developers of the application and (ideally) rectified. Two methods can be used to uncover any usability problems.
In a cognitive walkthrough, the experts walk through the application together. Here, the most important use cases and wireflows are identified in advance, which are then jointly performed and discussed by the experts. Questions for orientation can be developed here in advance, which the experts consider again for each use case.
Will the person using the application notice that the right action is available? (These questions depend on the use case)
The heuristic evaluation uses 10 usability heuristics (see www.nngroup.com). The heuristics are very generic in order to fit as many application contexts as possible. A more comprehensive list of UX aspects can be found here: www.uer.ueq-research.org (Download: UX Aspects)
However, it is also possible to capture your own context-specific application problems if they are not covered by the given heuristics. The experts should examine the product independently during the review in order to maintain as neutral a view of the system as possible and not influence each other. During the subsequent discussion, the experts discuss the found usability problems together. These are evaluated and prioritized according to their severity. At this point, suggestions for potential solutions can be made and discussed.
Selection of UX aspects/heuristics for the heuristic evaluation:
- Card sorting of aspects with people who know the product (UX designer, product owner, customer, etc.)
- or interview with the mentioned persons
It is important to also select UX aspects that are also in the interest of the customer (not only the users) e.g. marketing
Stages during the review
The results are then reviewed and compared together. The usability problems found are prioritized according to severity. Initial suggestions for improvement can be discussed. It is important to transfer the problems into a format so that they can be communicated to the product team, including the customer and the developers.