The 10 Usability Heuristics

Heuristic in computer science, mathematical optimization and artificial intelligence is a technique designed to solve problems more quickly when certain classic method is too slow. Its usability is also used to find approximate solution when certain classic method fails to look for an exact and specific solution in rising problem. Below are the ten heuristics you can use for user interface design.

Visibility of System Status

Within the reasonable time, the system must always inform the users regarding the arising happening, through an appropriate feedback.

Match Between System and Real World

Using words, concepts or phrases, the system must speak the language of the user that can be familiar to them when optimizing user experience, rather than relying to the system-oriented terms. By following the conventions of the real world, the information can appear in natural and logical order.

User Control and Freedom

The users often opt for wrong system function to use and need a vivid mark “emergency exit” in order to leave the unwanted state, without going anywhere else, such as extended dialogue. It supports undo and redo.

Standards and Consistency

The user must not need to wonder if different words, situations or even actions are meaning the same thing. Just follow the platform conventions.

Error Prevention

Even better than a good error message is the careful design, that has the ability to prevent the problem from happening in the first place. Either eliminates the error-prone conditions or investigate for them and present the user with option for confirmation before they take step to commit the action, thus user experience is enhanced.

Recognize Rather than Recall

Minimize the memory loads of the user by making the actions, objects and options apparent. The user will no longer have to remember the data from a part of a dialogue to another. The instruction for use regarding the system must be visible and easily retrievable as much as possible.

Flexibility and Efficiency to Use

The accelerators, which can be unseen by the new users can often speed up the interaction to the users who are expert such that system can deliver to both experienced and inexperienced users. Allow the users to tailor frequent actions pertaining to a certain situation.

Aesthetic and Minimalist Design

The dialogues must not contain data that is irrelevant and rarely needed. Even the extra unit of information in a certain dialogue competes with relevant units of data and diminishes their relative visibility.

Help to Recognize Diagnose and Recover

Error message must not be expressed in a plain language, constructively, indicate the problem precisely and suggest a specific solution for usability.

Assistance and Documentation

Although its better is a system can be used even without documentation, it can be necessary to provide assistance and documentation. Any data must be searchable, concentrate on the task of user, list concrete procedure to be used, and not be too huge.

Theses heuristics are refined based on factor analysis of the 249 usability problems to derive set of heuristics, with a maximum explanatory ability, which results on these revised set of heuristics.

— Slimane Zouggari