1. in cognition, an experience-based strategy for solving a problem or making a decision that often provides an efficient means of finding an answer but cannot guarantee a correct outcome. By contrast, an algorithm guarantees a solution but may be much less efficient. Some heuristics, such as the availability heuristic or representativeness heuristic, involve systematic bias. Also called cognitive heuristic. [introduced by Herbert A. Simon; developed by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky] 2. in the social sciences, a conceptual device, such as a model or working hypothesis, that is intended to explore or limit the possibilities of a question rather than to provide an explanation of the facts. Also called heuristic model. See also as-if hypothesis; construct. 3. in ergonomics, a procedure in which several experts, working independently, evaluate a product or
system according to established usability guidelines and produce structured reports noting any failings. The advantage of this type of evaluation is that it is relatively simple and cheap. The chief disadvantage is that it does not involve testing among target users and so may not identify problems experienced by particular groups (e.g., those with a different cultural background). Compare task analysis.