Validated Usability Heuristics: Defining Categories and Design Guidance

  • Beth F. Wheeler AtkinsonEmail author
  • Mitchell J. Tindall
  • Gregory S. Igel
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 528)


Heuristic-based usability assessment is a popular approach to assessing system usability in the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) [1]. Despite the benefits of the approach (e.g., flexibility across time and platform, efficiency, utility of feedback) [1], it is also associated with sub-par reliability, validity, and comprehensiveness and requires a Human Factors (HF) expert for the analysis and interpretation of subjective feedback. While this approach has a place in the usability lifecycle of a project, tight budgets and schedule constraints can limit the variety of usability approaches that teams can implement. The purpose of the current effort is to develop a validated heuristic approach based on a review of past literature and practice and integrate this information to inform an improved system. Leveraging previous efforts as a baseline (i.e., [2] ), this approach extends previous work by improving the comprehensiveness of the system by broadening the scope of past usability research and providing end-users with specific practical examples of do’s and don’ts to better define broad heuristic-based categories for non-expert end-users. The logic is that broad heuristic categories have little practical meaning to end-users not familiar or educated in HF/HCI. The provision of practical examples should improve their ability to identify important usability issues while helping them communicate this information in language that is understandable to system designers. The result of this research is presented in this poster, and provides a method for the assessment of system usability that is more flexible, efficient, comprehensive and useful than past approaches.


Usability assessment Heuristic-based assessment Usability heuristics Validated approach 



The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not represent the official views of the organizations with which they are affiliated. The NAVAIR Section 219 program sponsored this research. We wish to thank interns who facilitated data collection and analysis, and colleagues who provided input throughout this process. Gregory Igel conducted this work while under the employment of KAEGAN Corporation.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beth F. Wheeler Atkinson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mitchell J. Tindall
    • 2
  • Gregory S. Igel
    • 3
  1. 1.Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems DivisionOrlandoUSA
  2. 2.StraCon Services Group, LLCOrlandoUSA
  3. 3.Worldwide Embry-Riddle Aeronautical UniversityDaytona BeachUSA

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