Ten Usability Heuristics

The ten Usability Heuristics by Jakob Nielson for user interface design (UI) are some of the wildly used Heuristics utalised in this field. They are referred to as Heuristics as opposed to anything else as they are more basic guidelines than direct rules of thumb when creating a user interface.

1. Visibility of system status

Thu user should always be aware of what the system is doing at any time.

Ten Usability Heuristics

2. Match between system and real word

As much as possible the system should match as much as possible the real world.
E.G. You will find a book on Amazon in the same category as the section you would find it in store.

Amazon Catalog
Amazon Categories the same as the sections within a traditional bookshop.

3. User control and freedom

Users often end up in certain areas by mistake. There should also be a route for the user to exit these areas. Ideally you should support ‘undo’ and ‘redo’.

Back to Safety
User who navigates to an insecure page has a clear root ‘Back to Safety’

4. Error prevention

Better than good error messaging is error prevention in the design. Secondary warning message’s such as ‘Are you sure you want to leave without saving’ are good practice.

Ten Usability Heuristics
Trying to exit a page without saving changes.

5. Help users recognize, diagnose and recover from errors

Error messages and ways of recovering from them should be written in plain language so that the user knows how to recover from them.

Ten Usability Heuristics
Users Session has expired. Clear direction on how they can recover.

6. Consistency and Standards

The user should never have to think what the terminology means. Clear text should be used, and as much as possible should remain consistent across the product, both in terminology and layout.

Ten Usability Heuristics
Menu Terminology and placement consistent site wide.

7.Recognition rather than recall

The user should never have to recall from a previous page or communication. The system should detect and present options from the users previous actions.

Ten Usability Heuristics
Recognizes most likely search based on my previous actions.

8. Flexibility and efficiency of use

Allow users to tailor their frequent activities. Make the system adjustable, without notice, for both inexperienced and experienced users.

Ten Usability Heuristics
Netflix Continue Watching

9. Aesthetic and minimalist design

The design should be aesthetically pleasing and minimalist. Avoid unnecessary clutter and confusion.

Google User Interface
Google largely uses minimalist interfaces.

10. Help and documentation

How to get help should be easily evident and available to the user in a variety of formats. These would typically include self help documentation/videos as well as a means of getting in touch with the product owner.

Help and documentation
Help and documentation

I hope you enjoyed this post on the Ten Usability Heuristics. If you have any questions or comments, please use the form below.

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