How to develop usability heuristics: A systematic literature review

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Numerous sets of usability heuristics have been designed for specific domains, as traditional heuristics do not evaluate the specific features of particular applications. A substantial portion of the existing research focuses on designing new sets of heuristics, demonstrating the interest in heuristics that might identify specific usability problems for specific application domains. This article presents an exhaustive review of 73 studies related to usability heuristics for specific domains and methodologies; the objective is to identify the approach that is used to create usability heuristics and whether a formal and systematic process is involved. We conducted a systematic literature review of papers published between 2006 and 2016. The review was based on the guidelines proposed by Kitchenham (2007) [13] and shows that most studies use an informal process to develop usability heuristics. The creation of heuristics is mainly based on existing heuristics, literature reviews, usability problems, and guidelines. However, a few studies apply a methodology to define, validate and refine the set of heuristics proposed. Nevertheless, these methodologies should be formalized in order to help the process of creating usability heuristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-122
Number of pages34
JournalComputer Standards and Interfaces
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2017


  • Heuristic evaluation
  • Methodology
  • Systematic literature review
  • Usability
  • Usability heuristics


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