Dec 08 2017

Affective Heuristic Evaluation

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To use Affective Heuristic Evaluation, here is what you do:

  • We review the heuristics, explore, and then reflect on the software
  • We then write comments about the environment filling in a table with respect to the different heuristics
  • For heuristic severity we can adapt Nielsen’s severity ratings for usability problems (1995),
    changing their emphasis to reflect emotional educational impact

The Affective Heuristics (Version 3)

H1: Design elements and modalities should support the affective learning strategy
H2: Ensure help and documentation is provided where needed but does not
distract from affective learning strategy
H3: Maintain visibility of progress, affirming challenges already overcome, and
those remaining
H4: Allow the user freedom to explore but also to return to the previous step
H5: Avoid or prevent actions with neither feedback to help overcome, nor affirmation
when success
H6: Visualize options clearly to encourage exploration
H7: Tailor actions to be encouraging at first and efficient later, while learners
are attempting to overcome challenges
H8: Challenge learners and provide constructive feedback if they fail, and affirming
success when they succeed
H9: Match the learners world view in affective strategy and multimodal support
H10: Maintain interface cohesion to support affective strategy
  • The affective heuristic evaluation is based on Nielsen and Molich (1990), and adapted with affect supported by Norman (2004) and Kort et al.’s emotional cycle of learning model (2001) as well as multimodal design based on Sankey (2007)
  • To review your software and compare it against accepted principles
  • The analysis results in a list of potential issues
  • It explicitly emphasized the learning objective and the modality that was employed
  • It helps to identify emotional educational aspects in the system


Evaluating’s Minecraft Hour of Code that was created to encourage and support people initial learning of computer programming. In this study, we applied the evaluation method as discussed earlier (pdf).