One of Nielsen's famous heuristics is "The system should speak the users' language, with words, phrases and concepts familiar to the user, rather than system-oriented terms".

With no disrespect to Mr Nielsen, of course, I can think of no less familiar a term with the people I work with than "heuristic."

I'm trying to introduce heuristic evaluations as a tool in our toolkit, but no one is going to have the faintest idea what I'm talking about without more explanation.

The only idea I keep coming back to is "Usability checklist".

  • So, what exactly is your question?
    – FrankL
    Dec 11, 2015 at 18:26
  • What do you call a heuristic evaluation when you're talking to an average human being? Dec 11, 2015 at 18:29
  • What if you add a subtitle to the title. For example "Zip compression algorithm" (title) with "makes things smaller" (subtitle). Sure, it's redundant for someone who knows what the title means - they can ignore the subtitle. But this also affects how the user experiences the application. "Makes things smaller" sounds really inprofessional and personal. I wouldn't chose this wording for a finance application. Maybe I would choose this language for an for-everybode tool such as an easy-to-use image crop tool.
    – BlueWizard
    Dec 12, 2015 at 21:33

3 Answers 3


We call them Expert UX Reviews. That helps clients understand that this is something done internally by our own UX people. (We had a client get upset becaue we didn't do them with users.)


Teach them

Call it a heuristic review, since that's what the industry calls it. If you pick up and leave, they'll know what to ask the next guy or the consultant.

Technically, "heuristic" is rooted in finding things. In application, it's about how naturally a system can be learned and it's features discovered.


Usability Review

  • 1
    I definitely explain what it is and what the industry calls it when I get the opportunity, but for that one-liner, that email subject line or elevator pitch to the uninitiated it would be nicer to have something more intuitive. And isn't that what we do all day anyway, find intuitive solutions? Dec 11, 2015 at 18:37
  • I get it. I also think teaching is what we do much of our day (organizationally, at least). Answer updated. Dec 11, 2015 at 18:42
  • Unfortunately, the folks who sell projects don't always understand what HE's are. By the time this UX guy gets to talk with the client, they've already got expectations. So I agree with you that we need a better name for HE's for the pitch and sales process. Dec 11, 2015 at 19:39

Whats about: "Inspection by experts based on ten golden usability rules" or in case of ISO 9241-110 seven usability rules

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