Journal


Evelina Suzdaltseva
  • 2016/11/03
heuristics_blog

Usability Heuristics

One of the ways to evaluate the usability of a site is to evaluate a given flow, interface or platform exploring their given functions and any errors they may have. This process is refered to as Usability Heuristics. Jakob Nielsen, has come up with  10 rules to consider when designing an interface to make user the user has a successful experience.  

 1- Visibility of the system status:
The system should always keep users informed about what is going on, through appropriate feedback within reasonable time.
Example:
Provide users with clear information about what is happening and where exactly you are in the system.


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2- Correlation between the system and the real world:

The system should speak the users’ language, with words, phrases and concepts familiar to the him or her, rather than in system-oriented terms. Follow real-world conventions, making information appear in a natural and logical order.
Example:
The icon buttons in this case correspond to the real world, so the user can identify with the real world and each corresponding object.

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3-User control and freedom:

Users often choose system functions by mistake and will need a clearly marked “emergency exit” to leave the unwanted state without having to go through an extended dialogue. Support undo and redo.
Example:
Here you can see the step by step process of information loading, so you need to provide tools to overcome the learning curve of the user, without compromising the ease of use for advanced users as well.

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4-Consistency and Standards:
The site should be consistent in the use of language and aesthetic design. Menus and functionalities should maintain the same performance criteria in all parts of the site.
Example:

The language in this case creates a unification with the color palette.

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5- Error prevention:
There must be a direct spatial relationship between the controls and the object on which they operate.
Provide adequate and easy to understand feedback within reasonable time.
Example:
The system should offer the user the proper information in terms of  requirements, in this case the field clearly indicates what must be filled.

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6-Recognition before memory:

Minimize user memory load by making objects, actions and options visible. The user should not have to remember information from one part of the dialogue to another. Instructions for use of the system should be visible or easily retrievable whenever appropriate.

7-The flexibility and efficiency:

Allow users to customize their experience. Provide shortcuts and alternatives to experienced and inexperienced users. They can often speed up the interaction for the expert user so that the system can cater to both inexperienced and experienced users.
Example:
In this case the user uploading files has the freedom to make multiple decisions, having  shortcuts available at the time of decision, for example close tab, view more details, etc.

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8-An Aesthetic and Minimalist Design:
Dialogues should not contain information that is irrelevant or rarely needed. Each additional unit of information in a dialogue competes with the relevant units of information and diminishes their relative visibility.

9-Help users recognize, diagnose and recover from errors:
Error messages should be expressed in plain language (no codes), hey should indicate the problem and suggest a constructive solution.
Example:
Provide adequate and easy to understand feedback, with language that is used in the real world and a relationship of color to identify each feedback.

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10- Help and Documentation:
Although it is better if the system can be used without documentation, it may be necessary to provide help and documentation. Such information should be easy to search, focused on the user’s task, list concrete steps to carry out functions, and not be too large.
Example:
It is important that the system offers no alternative to the user, providing information at any given time that is lost the user.

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Finally, it should be noted that the heuristic evaluation will never be able to find all usability problems in an interface, nonetheless past experience in many projects has shown that different people find different usability problems.

Therefore, it is possible to further improve the method and propose many more heuristics thus improving the user experienceHeuristic