If time or budgetary constraints are an issue with your project, expert analysis and/or heuristic evaluation might be right for you. These techniques require less investment of time and money but can still provide useful and applicable results.
About Expert Analysis
In expert analysis, a field expert from 8-bit Bear will evaluate your product and point out major design pitfalls that might impede customer use. With heuristic evaluation, “rules of thumb” are used to evaluate your product to ensure compatibility with the anticipated mental model of your customers.
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Although these techniques can provide good data, they do not fully replace actual user testing. 8-bit Bear suggests that, when time and funds are available, real user testing with your target customer group should be conducted to ensure the best results.