What an Expert Review Won’t Tell You

expert review

Why Expert Reviews are not a replacement for usability testing

Expert reviews offer a cost-effective UX solution for organisations on a budget. They are a quick and easy way of getting your designs checked over for usability issues, without the sometimes prohibitive costs of full scale usability testing.

 

What is an Expert Review?

Put simply, an expert review is when you engage the services of a usability professional to cast an expert eye over your website or app. They will then go through it as though they were a typical user, finding issues that detract from the experience, reporting them and making recommendations of how they can be fixed.

The findings of an expert review can then be used to improve your website’s usability, making the user journey less fraught with frustration and abandonment, ensuring an experience which trumps that of a rival site with zero usability input.

If the budget will stretch, an expert review is also an excellent way of preparing your site for more intensive research, such as testing, eliminating the more obvious problems first, before usability tests tackle the deeper issues.

What an Expert Review can’t tell you

With all that said, it is important to understand that expert reviews are limited in their scope. Whether your website is audited by one expert, or by a small group, the fact is it can’t replace the richness of insight you get from usability testing with actual users.

The key difference is that no matter how much experience and knowhow the expert has under his or her belt, they are, at the end of the day, just guessing. User behaviour is one of those unpredictable variables that has a habit of throwing a spanner into the works when you least expect it and with the expert nine times out of ten not belonging to the group at which the website is targeted, they can still miss things, or find an issue where a real user/test participant wouldn’t. And vice versa.

The fact is empirical data beats simple prediction hands down every time. It can also gauge emotional responses to a UI – which can have a bearing on how a user interacts – something outside the remit of an expert review. What can be discovered by observing, listening and experimenting will lead to better design decisions and a more user-centric website.

As we’ve already said, expert reviews have a place. They are affordable and ideal when the timescale won’t stretch to more extensive scrutiny. They are also a great way to remove obvious design mistakes prior to in-depth, qualitative research. Just don’t expect it to be a comprehensive substitute for real usability testing.

If you are want to improve the usability of your website, but your hands are tied by time and budget, an expert review could be the answer. To find out more, contact us today on +44(0)800 0246 247, or email hello@ux247.com.

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