The idea behind “Discount usability methods,” like Expert reviews (a.k.a. heuristic evaluations),
is that it is better to uncover some usability issues early--even if you don't have the time or budget to test actual users.
Despite the rise of cheaper and faster (and even un-moderated) usability testing methods, it still takes a considerable amount of effort to conduct a usability test. If an expert can inspect an interface and uncover many of the problems users would encounter in less time and for less cost, then why not exploit this method?
Food for thought: An Expert Review will uncover many issues: Usually all of the top ten most common usability issues and most ( around 75%) of the 20 most common issues are discovered using this technique. An Expert Review will miss some issues: There is really no substitute for a real user performing real tasks in a real environment.
We like to think of an Expert Review like an appetizer to a gourmet meal. They provide a quick insight and provide a tasty preview of savory bits of user-centered information.
Expert Reviews could be thought of as the first course in the full meal of usability evaluation methods.
For more information about Expert Reviews or to schedule a meeting: