10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design

In this article, we have described the 10 usability heuristics that can cater to the needs of the users. Have a look at them and their application:

Jakob Nielsen has initially come up with the 10 usability heuristics in the year 1994. However, these are the guidelines basically used for usability in interaction design that was for basics only. Nowadays, the heuristics are used more as a general rule rather than fixed determined rules; still they are not in use as such for design practices in the past few years.

Heuristics generally organize a format with which the designers can perform a usability audit. On the basis of 10 heuristics, a designer can easily evaluate whether the project is according to the needs of users or not.

The usability heuristics is a focused approach that is more prominent now in contrast to earlier times. In the present time, users are more influenced by the technological changes and inventions that have made their work too easier. Therefore with the help of 10 heuristics you can give a confidence to your users that you can preparing the design and can help them naturally.

Visibility of system status
The term heuristics was first coined by the Nielsen which is simply referred to the device users are using. The basic objective behind the same was to inform the users regarding whatever is going on and keep them updated with suitable feedback. Nowadays, designers can help the users through a wide variety of tool and software.

Match between system and the real world
This type of heuristic refers to have a deep knowledge and understanding of your user’s needs so that you can help them in a way that is suitable for them without any interference or confusion. This heuristic talks to user and ethnographic research. The variety of users expresses themselves in their different comfort areas which might be different from rest of the users. It also boost the performance of the designers to deliver the information in an appropriate or natural manner to better understand the learning process of the users.

User control and freedom
This heuristic is dedicated to provide the users an option to undo a mistake without the need of any extended dialogue. It encourages the users to fix the mistakes they did by lack of knowledge or by doing a wrong action without your interference. In this way the prior important information of the users can be saved irrespective of fixing the error.

Consistency and standards
The basic rule to be followed here is to follow the certain platform conventions. It means that you should remain out from the specific areas where users are well confidence and familiar with the ongoing procedures. Here your task is to keep the language easy to understand so that the users can complete their actions easily.

Error prevention
This heuristics is useful in gaining insights about where your users are making mistakes or facing problems. It focuses on providing a good error message with which the usability experience of a user can improves. However, at the same time keep in mind, a design which could prevent the errors that are more likely to occur.

Recognition rather than recall
A popular usability book – Don’t make me think by Steve Krug is a popular one. The book depict that the users should not struggle hard to get best usability experience which could easily be possible with heuristic. Everything should be made clear to users like objects, actions and options. In this heuristic, Nielsen wrote that users should not have to recall all the information. All the instructions and processes involved in the system should be made visible through heuristics.

Flexibility and efficiency of use accelerators
This heuristic promotes the needs of all levels of usability experiences. Generally, these accelerators are made invisible and unseen by the users; however, they can be very advantageous in providing best usability experience to different users operating on a single platform. It further improves the communication and provides intuitive experience to the users who are accessing the platform for the first time.

Aesthetic and minimalist design
Minimalist is always a trend but it is mainly about consisting of limited information that is relevant for the user. It facilitated a list of UX trend predictions and minimalist aesthetic is in use since times. They were brought with time sites like GeoCities and Angelfire and are popular.  Now this heuristic is redesigned to fulfill the special requirements of the users. So only important information can be made easily visible to the users and they don’t have to go through everything mentioned on the platform.

Help users recognize, diagnose and recover from errors
Along with giving necessary information to the users regarding prevention of errors, it is also relevant to make them learn on how to recover from the errors. It is the task of designers to create a simple language to recover from mistakes like landing on a wrong page, incorrect phone number and so on. It will boost their confidence of coming up with simple solutions to correct their own mistakes without your need.

Help and documentation
This heuristic says that even though the platform can be accessed without documentation, still it is essential to provide help and documentation. It would be helpful to search, focused on user task and to list important steps to perform.

So these are the top 10 usability heuristics that still holds up over two decades later.

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