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Overview: Usability expert reviews: Take control of auditing systems for usability

Usability expert reviews are a great way to identify "usability bloopers" with a product or web site. They are quick, cost-effective and provide an immediate sanity check for the design. Expert reviews are also an ideal way to ensure that a product or web site will meet usability standards.

But many people find it difficult to identify specific usability issues from generic usability heuristics. Beginners also find it hard to derive action-oriented recommendations that can be passed to the design team. This seminar reveals the practitioner secrets behind expert reviews and will teach you how to think like a usability expert. As well as a set of comprehensive notes, you will leave the seminar with detailed usability checklists, workbooks and step-by-step instructions to help you carry out the most valuable techniques.

"I wish I'd been at a course like this 6 months ago. What I've learnt today I can begin to use as soon as I get back to my desk."
– Elaine Pearce, Yahoo!

Printable pdf course description for this seminar

Suggested business case to convince your boss (MS Word format).

About your trainer

David Travis

This seminar is led by Dr. David Travis, the author of Think Like a UX Researcher. David has more than 20 years experience in the field of user centred design and has delivered over 100 seminars in usability for a range of private and public sector organisations. He has carried out expert reviews for dozens of clients including Orange, Nottinghamshire County Council, Yahoo!, Skype, The Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, Greater London Authority and The Solicitors Regulation Authority.

David Travis Dr. David Travis (@userfocus) This seminar is led by Dr. David Travis. David has more than 20 years experience in the field of user centred design and has delivered over 100 seminars in usability for a range of private and public sector organisations. He spent 12 months coaching business analysts in HMRC to transition to a user research role and was commissioned by GDS to create this course and deliver it to user researchers throughout Government.

This seminar is aimed at

This seminar is for you if you are looking for practical, cost-effective methods to evaluate designs. This is a hands-on course and is most effective for delegates who have day-to-day responsibility for ensuring product or web usability within their organisation. The course will also be valuable for designers who want to understand usability principles or who want to see examples of usability checklists.

You will learn how to

  • Appreciate the difference between a usability inspection and someone’s personal opinion.
  • Learn and practice some quick techniques for carrying out usability reviews of prototypes and finished products.
  • Find and fix usability bloopers before they become hard coded.
  • Apply Jakob Nielsen’s “heuristic evaluation” technique to software, products and web sites.
  • Uncover the elements of your design that lead new users to make errors, using the task-based “cognitive walkthrough” method.
  • Learn to spot usability problems in prototypes and finished products.

Seminar content

Introduction – What is an expert review?

  • Syndicate activity: Expert review
  • Strengths and weaknesses of expert reviews
  • Jargon alert: alternative terms for expert reviews

How to carry out a heuristic evaluation

  • Heuristics compared: ISO’s 7 dialogue principles, Shniederman’s 8 golden rules of dialog design, Tog’s 16 principles of interaction design and Nielsen’s 10 usability heuristics
  • Case studies: How Nielsen’s principles reveal good and bad practice in user interfaces
  • The importance of multiple evaluators
  • Example heuristic evaluation checklists
  • Class activity: Which heuristics are being violated?

How to log usability problems

  • Processing the results of a review
  • How to record the usability defect
  • The three factors to consider when defining severity
  • Suggested severity scale
  • Syndicate activity: Heuristic evaluation

How to carry out a cognitive walkthrough

  • Norman's 7-stage Theory of Action
  • Common mistakes in carrying out a walkthrough
  • Mapping out the "happy path": the designer's intended route
  • The four questions to ask at each step
  • Case study: The four-stage walkthrough template
  • Syndicate activity: Cognitive walkthrough

Presenting results

  • Feedback techniques: from an Excel bug list to a management walkthrough
  • Report formats compared

What delegates say about this course

  • "I learnt how to evaluate a site without just basing it on my opinions and experiences... A fantastic course." – Clare Shields, Marks & Spencer.
  • "I was amazed that I could find so many problems in one web page that at first glance looked OK." – Vicky Burnett, RBS.
  • "The course clarified a major sticking point for me – the difference between a heuristic evaluation and a cognitive walkthrough. The course focused on practical application and experience, rather than information that you could learn out of a textbook." – Emma Pickering, Ordnance Survey.
  • "I can now use a sytematic approach to web site reviews, rather than an ad hoc approach." – Gero Bertolone, MORE TH>N.
  • "One of the best 1-day courses I have attended. It will be of immediate value to me and my charity." Bob Chase, Arthritis Care.
  • "A great introduction to carrying out expert reviews for UX professionals and project managers alike. One thing that stood out was the way the trainer catered for the needs of everyone in the group." – Jo Frudd, Cambridge Assessment.
  • "A concise course without any waffle or information overload." – Nigel Morse, Red-Gate Software.
  • "The most useful thing I learnt was how to go about a review in a structured, formal way." – Jordan Hill, Dig For Fire DMG.

Free refresher training

Our usability training continues after you leave the seminar. People that attend this seminar are eligible for free refresher training. After the seminar, we'll send you a series of follow up articles highlighting different aspects of the training, specifically written to help you apply what you learnt. See an example lesson.

What do I get when I book this course?

  • 1 day training course with a usability expert.
  • Practical checklists, worksheets and extensive notes to take home.
  • Free, follow-up refresher training.
  • A proper, air-conditioned learning environment.
  • Lunch and refreshments throughout the day.

More details on what you get.


This course lasts one day.

How do I book?

There are no scheduled dates for this course. If you want us to run this seminar as a public course, click on the button below. Once we get 8 like-minded individuals we'll organise a public course and let you know.

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