Expert reviews is a very broad term and each one is different.

I have somewhat of a dilemma at work where my job title is "UX strategist" and my clients often demand/expect strategic solutions to their websites. Note: not because of my job title but because of their current demands.

I view an expert review as a usability review - evaluating the heuristics of the website from a usability and persuasive standpoint. This is not strategic, but more tactical with the best definition coming from the famous Paul Boag (if no one has read his work, strongly recommend it)

What content do you believe should go into an expert review when you're structuring it? (say top level headers?) How many pages should it be (estimated). Most importantly, does anyone have any examples; I understand these will be somewhat difficult to find online due to confidentiality.

I don't see this as a duplicate of the other expert review question because I don't believe it answers the above questions. The other question focuses on usability heuristics not the content of what I define as an expert review.

  • 1
    possible duplicate of Help with expert reviews
    – Matt Obee
    Jun 7 '13 at 14:01
  • I more view an expert review as being a Cognitive Walkthrough, whereas completing a heuristic review is slightly different. Expert reviews are more task based - using heuristics as some of the areas to look at during those tasks, whereas a Heuristic Review takes a more general look at the system as a whole. However it depends who is doing the evaluation and what level you want to go to. It's pretty common to combine them together into one report.
    – JonW
    Jul 24 '13 at 9:11

The original intent of the term "expert review" refers to a heuristic evaluation performed by usability experts. Nielsen discovered early on that usability experts were better at finding problems than non-usability experts.

The traditional set of heuristics (http://www.nngroup.com/articles/ten-usability-heuristics/) is more concerned with usability than UX (though, the two are related of course). So, an expert review, is typically considered a usability inspection method.

An expert review should contain:

  1. Executive summary of findings
  2. Explanation of terminology in the document
  3. Explanation of priority levels (usually 2-4 levels are used from low to high, plus positive findings)
  4. Categories of issues (e.g. for a website, I often organize issues as "global" or by page they are on; you could also organize by severity)
  5. Issues with severity ratings, screenshots, applicable heuristics, and recommendations
  6. Appendix: full list of heuristics used

As Michael mentioned, clients will hesitate reading long expert reviews. However, you will likely have difficulty fitting everything into five pages or less. My expert reviews typically range from 5-20 pages.

Unfortunately, I do not have any examples of mine to share, but there are some examples I found via Google that are close to what I would produce. Here is a Slideshare that is pretty good: http://www.slideshare.net/mandidavis/lake-health-website-expert-review

Some notes/tips: I recommend kicking off your expert review in-person with your client so that they have buy-in. I call this a "participatory expert review". See my uxmag article for more details: http://uxmag.com/articles/all-together-now

Also, an expert review should be completed by multiple usability experts. This will help lessen the "evaluator effect"(http://www.citeulike.org/user/bangb/article/1624397). It is often beneficial to include senior and junior members on the expert review team.


I think the content should either be based on standard usability guidelines (you need to pick out the categories that apply to your client) or what I normally do is create something based on the main issues/concerns they have with the product or service (since I assume this is what they are paying you for). I find that anything more than 5 pages won't be read very thoroughly by the managers, but you need to be able to provide specific details that will address an overall shortfall. I think the reason why examples are not usually provided is that you have to tailor the review to the client, but I suggest you put down some of your own headings and ideas and let the people critique it. This way you will get better feedback.

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