Heuristic evaluation of websites

May 19, 2008

According to Nielsen etc., users ignore approximately 80% of the content of a webpage. Doesn’t really surprise, does it?

Scannability of pages becomes more and more essential and is on the top of my list for heuristic evaluations. Other key criteria: orientation, consistency, relevance, and controllability.

    Where am I, what do I get?

  • Site ID
  • Communication of site goal (e.g. in tag line)
    How can I navigate?

  • Signposting: Where am I, where can go, where have I been? (e.g. breadcrumbs)
  • Amount of menus manageable? Competing navigation systems?
  • Categories and subcategories sensible and logically coherent?
  • Consistent labels?
  • search function?
    How do I find my way within the page?

  • Screen real estate: content first?
  • Overall hierarchy apparent and sensible? Visual hierarchy, Headers, subheaders, lists
  • Granularity of content chunks consistent?
  • Makes content sense as a ‘narrative’ or answer to the user’s interest?
  • Visual weight of irrelevant elements (Ads, banners etc.)
    General usability

  • Adheres to conventions for layout, navigation and technical features?
  • Visual cues to support navigation and communication? Links clearly highlighted?
  • User centred approach: personalisation, control of page layout, reflection of user needs?
    General accessibility

  • Standard compliant with W3 standards?
  • Clear structure?
  • HTML syntax?

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