Heuristic Psychology in UX Design

Yash Rawat
5 min readJul 10, 2021

Every designer in this universe wants to have a design that should be unique and user-friendly and the one way to do that is to understand “Human Psychology”.

taken from thesaurus.plus

Everyone in this world needs someone who can understand their behavior. This is somewhat difficult to find in humans but what if we find that in a real-life product. Being a Product designer I always try to see things through user’s perceptions and honestly this is the only way you can make your product stand out.

So our today's topic is to understand the Heuristic behavior in UX design.

What is a Heuristic?

This is a mental organic behavior of taking quick decisions and passing quick judgments regarding any problem or any condition.

Heuristics are rules-of-thumb that can be applied to guide decision-making based on a more limited subset of the available information because they rely on less information, heuristics are assumed to facilitate faster decision-making than strategies that require more information

Heuristics don’t always lead to an optimal outcome, but they work well in situations where speed matters more than precision.

The heuristic behavior can be simply determined when the person is in high-stress, high-uncertainty environments, where they have to make quick decisions.

This can also be observed in hospitals when doctors make a patient’s family sign the agreement regarding the possible survival or not of the patient, then too decisions are made irrespective of knowing the outcome.


What is the need of using Heuristics?

taken from corporate finance institute

Being quick in nature, Heuristics has its importance both in “problem-solving” and in “decision making”

  1. This is an assumption that few people think that heuristics are more accurate in certain conditions or contexts.
  2. This might also help to get quick relief from the mental effort based on making long-term choices.
  3. Sometimes people tend to change the context of complex conditions with that of a simple one.

Why we apply heuristics in UX Design?

taken from makeameme.org

Heuristic analysis is a technique used in the User Experience design process to test usability. It helps you in understanding the user interface usability status. Now the question arises how will this work? A group of usability experts reviews the product by comparing it to several other same products. they use several pre-defined principles of heuristics to point out some of the obvious errors. This is a great way of analyzing your product that enhances its quality.

Important injunctions for good analysis

  1. User Control.
  2. Human Limitation.
  3. Modal Integrity.
  4. Consistency.
  5. Avoid Errors.
  6. Clear Instructions for performing a particular actions.
  7. Flexibility.
  8. Help
  9. A proper list of concise steps
taken from Designorate


Technical clarity, Fulfillment, Cultural Propriety, Suitable Tempo, user support, Precision, Forgiveness, Responsiveness, and etc.

Pros and Cons of Heuristic Analysis

Method of Conducting the Heuristic Analysis

  1. Try to choose the heuristics that suits best for your evaluation or analysis.
  2. Now the second step is to choose the evaluator, who has some experience in usability testing and allow them to evaluate the heuristics correctly.
  3. Try to highlight all the possible issues like minor or major issues because this is considered as one of the best practices under UX design where you will get to know about the faults of your application at a very initial stage.
  4. Now let the evaluators use the product freely and let them analyze the faults in the product.
  5. Now Collect the information from the evaluator and try to fix them as per their suggestions.

or (for more brief)

  1. Know what to test and how — Whether it’s the entire product or one procedure, clearly define the parameters of what to test and the objective.
  2. Know your users and have clear definitions of the target audience’s goals, contexts, etc. User personas can help evaluators see things from the users’ perspectives.
  3. Select 3–5 evaluators, ensuring their expertise in usability and the relevant industry.
  4. Define the heuristics (around 5–10) — This will depend on the nature of the system/product/design. Consider adopting/adapting the Nielsen-Molich heuristics and/or using/defining others.
  5. Brief evaluators on what to cover in a selection of tasks, suggesting a scale of severity codes (e.g., critical) to flag issues.
  6. 1st Walkthrough — Have evaluators use the product freely so they can identify elements to analyze.
  7. 2nd Walkthrough — Evaluators scrutinize individual elements according to the heuristics. They also examine how these fit into the overall design, clearly recording all issues encountered.
  8. Debrief evaluators in a session so they can collate results for analysis and suggest fixes.


  • It can be quick and cost-effective if there are internal resources.
  • It can be used early in the design process (even in wireframes).
  • It can give a comprehensive usability status of a product’s UI.
  • With the right heuristic measurement, the best corrections can be made.
  • It can be used together with other usability testing methods.
  • Afterward, usability testing can further examine potential issues.

While employing the Heuristic analysis, this is very crucial to know about all the false positives that are experienced during the walkthrough and try to reduce the biasedness in the output zone.

Thank you for reaching so far :)