Nielsen and Molich introduced the heuristic evaluation method in 1990, and it was reviewed by Nielsen until 1995, when he exposed his 10 Heuristics for User Interface Design that currently still are a reference.

About user testing, the first reference that I could find is from Nielsen & Landauner (1993), but I'm not sure if it was invented at or before 1993.

Which one of these methods was invented first?

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    It would probably be hard to pinpoint which was invented first, since there would be concepts and experiments with these methods that led to the formalization of these methods. However, if you are looking for a reference to when these methods were first published or publicly known then you will probably find some source to indicate the dates.
    – Michael Lai
    Aug 2, 2018 at 21:22

1 Answer 1


I used user testing for my dissertation, published in April 1989.

The key idea was the use of 'Thinking Aloud Protocols' which I credit to a 1975 paper by J Morton and R Byrne called 'Organisation in the Kitchen' ( from issue 5 of a journal called "Attention and Performance").

I expect there were other people talking about testing at about the same time.

A key book of the period ( actually a collection of papers ) is D Norman and S Draper (eds) User Centred System design (1986).

The same D ( Don ) Norman who pretty well invented the UX field...

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