• 2016/12/02

Heuristics in the Real World

To put an idea into place when it comes to a designing project, we must first take some important steps.  The choices we make to communicate effectively are not taken at random.

Understanding heuristics helps us make better decisions in terms of the topics at hand. These are the three steps that must be followed to properly apply heuristics. There are thousands of heuristics. So, which ones should a designer use, which one should I use? We do not necessarily have to use all of them, there are different ways that let us make our selection. We don’t have a defined process, which guarantees the best user experience, but we do have an efficient way to apply it.

The selection of heuristics is not done day by day, but little by little.  It is an evolving process that relies on specific user tests throughout the project. By doing so we can identify what parts of the project need more attention and if there are any anomalies we must consider.

Heuristics are not only rules we must follow to satisfy user experience but also an analysis of client behavior (simple and efficient rules-mental shortcuts-that people use to form judgments and make decisions).

There are three types of heuristics:


The heuristic of availability tells us that the easier it is to think of an example of something – an event, an entity, or whatever – the more likely it is to be.

The mind uses the subconscious to help it make decisions when we are short on time to perform an action. The idea is created as a puzzle game, often focusing on a single piece that gradually grows by finding other pieces and adding them the others. In this way heuristics help us accommodate the ideas that are generated from the subconscious.

What we should consider is the following:

  1. Remind a user of a problem they face, and they will consider it a problem that is worth solving
  2. Always provide feedback, that helps the user stay calm and not get lost in the whole process.
  3. Show the necessary and fair information. Today we often find it very frustrating to get additional documentation, when solving a problem.  Therefore, remove all irrelevant information out of your design, each irrelevant message dilutes the relevant ones.

Affective heuristics:

The heuristic of affection encompasses how we feel and think after we have done something. We do not always react in the same way. One day we may experience seeing a painting in a positive manner and the next day it can produce rejection or dislike.

The same scene can be viewed very differently by two people, depending on their moods. So, try to convey a positive message from the beginning to bring about a positive mood beforehand. Keep emotion at the forefront of your design with powerful language. It’s equally important for both appearance and usability. A user’s emotional response to your images and content determines if they will use your product.


In this case, it is the one that deceives us into thinking when thinking that objects, people or actions “fit” into images of objects. For example, in Coca Cola ads you see thin, young people full of life and happiness. But it does not show the other side of the coin that is totally opposite, maybe obesity and even addiction. You will never see an average or overweight body advertising this fuzzy drink. It therefore automatically evokes a better look from you, and the ads align themselves with these assumptions.

We use representative heuristics to prevent anxiety by establishing ourselves as an authority, to establish authority we need to compare other products with something that the target audience already enjoys.

When designing, we should never put aside users’ thought patterns, after all, they are fair patterns – things that people get sidetracked with. So, you’ll still want to run usability tests to make sure your design stays in the real world.

Taking these concepts into account helps us create products that are more real and closer to the emotions of users. Either by being more affective or more psychological.