Formative Evaluations

Formative evaluations are a type of usability evaluation that helps to "form" the design for a product or service.

Formative evaluations are a cost effective way to find potential usability issues with your project. Formative evaluations involve evaluating a product or service during development, often iteratively, with the goal of detecting and eliminating usability problems.

One important aspect of formative evaluation is that the audience for the observations and recommendations is often the project team itself, used to immediately improve the design of the product or service and refine the development specifications. Results are typically less formal than in summative evaluation, as suits the needs of designers, developers, project managers, and other project participants.

Heuristic evaluations (aka Expert reviews) , user interface inspections, thinking-aloud testing, pluralistic usability walkthrough, and cognitive walkthrough are some methods that can be used for formative evaluation.

The Usability People can provide formative evaluations with actionable feedback that you can take directly to your development team for implementation.

For information about Formative Evaluations: