Heuristic evaluation is a (usability) inspection method originally developed for computer software. The idea is to have experts discuss the software and try to identify problems in the user interface based on their knowledge and experience; i.e. “heuristics”. (see Nielsen & Molich, 1990). Research indicated that a group of 5 experts reveal 75% of issues (Nielsen & Landauer, 1993).
The advantage of Heuristic evaluation is that you can apply it to the initial stages of the development process, i.e. having the experts discussing early prototypes or product sketches. All it takes are a few experienced users, a room, some good pizza and drinks.