To improve user experience, designers use usability heuristics. UX designers assist users in understanding the logical sequence of actions that they might perform on websites or in software programs.
What are Usability Heuristics?
These guidelines are used to ensure that the user interface design is clear, simple, and intuitive. These heuristics can be used as a guideline when creating new apps or websites, and are a good way to ensure that the user experience is prioritized. These principles help to prevent user errors and encourage simple, clear designs that make it easy for even beginners to understand digital products. Companies that adhere to usability heuristics ensure that the visual design is easy for both novice and expert users to use.
10 Usability Heuristics
Rolf Molich, Jakob Nielsen and other usability consultants created the most widely-used set of Heuristics in 1990. They were tasked with understanding user problems and establishing design guidelines that promote clean and efficient controls. This usability inspection method determines how efficient the user experience is in human-computer interactions.
- Real-world conventions should be used. Design should make icons and images easily recognizable by users. If your app is used to book hotels, for example, the graphics should clearly show images of queen-sized beds vs. twins. It is useful for the user to compare the system operations with real-world objects.
- Include emergency exits. Users should be able to clear their screens or retake steps if they make mistakes during an action or purchase. Users will feel more confident if they have access to emergency exits.
- Establish clear guidelines for users. You must ensure that there are no inconsistencies in the user’s tasks. To minimize cognitive load and user need to learn new information, establish the rules and standards for your website or program. Companies can use usability testing to ensure designs are user-friendly. This involves having real users perform tasks on the website or app.
- Create clean designs. Simple interaction designs ensure that the page only contains the relevant content and icons. Too much clutter can confuse the user.
- Include error recovery. User testing is incomplete without error recovery. Make sure that errors pop-ups are clear and identify mistakes so users can follow the correct path.
- Build-in error prevention. Although error messages are helpful in guiding users in the right direction they should be avoided by designers.
- Transparency with the system status is key. Users will benefit from visibility of the system status. Transparency is key when it comes to software updates, interface changes, and any improvements or upgrades that are in progress.
- Make sure to include recognizable information. Each page and profile should have clear information so users don’t need to remember previous pages. Each page should have key content that explains how to use each feature and complete each step.
- Provide help buttons. Your software should be so easy to use that users don’t need any help. However, users should still be able to access help via the search bar or menu navigation. You should be able to give feedback and ask questions.
- Incorporate shortcuts. While keyboard shortcuts are not necessary, more skilled users can use them to accelerate their work. Shortcuts enable customization and enhance user experience.