Usability Heuristics

What are usability heuristics?

A heuristic is a practical approach to problem-solving. Usability heuristics help designers assess the usability of user interface (UI).

10 Usability Heuristics Every Designer Should Know

Jakob Nielsen and Rolf Molich (Danish web usability experts and consultants) published a set of principles or heuristics based on their many years of usability engineering experience. These principles are widely used in the design industry to create effective UI design.

Here is the list of 10 usability heuristics for interaction design described by Jakob Nielsen and Rolf Molich.

1. Visibility of system status

Users should be kept informed about their system status until a process is completed. An example of this is the progress loading bar you see on websites – the bar displays a load percentage to demonstrate how much progress has been made and is still to go.

2. Match between system and the real world

Concepts and information should be familiar and easily understood by all users to avoid confusion. For example, when you see a trash bin icon, you know you can move unwanted files there to dispose of them. This is consistent with the purpose of a trash bin in real life, therefore familiar to all users.

3. User control and freedom

Sometimes users accidentally click something they didn’t intend to. It’s important to have both undo and redo functionalities within an interface to remedy the mistake. Every system should offer a clear opportunity to undo errors quickly and conveniently (a simple example of this is the back arrow).

4. Consistency and standards

Avoid confusing users by using different terminology or icons. Be consistent. Users should have confidence that words or actions used in one area of design will have the same meaning or action in another area.

5. Error prevention

Notify users of errors. For example, if a user is typing in a postal code in Canada,