Usability Heuristics for UI designers + Web Entrepreneurs

To UI designers, usability heuristics / principles is like receipts to chefs. You gotta know it!

Poor Usability costs you countless nightmares.

Just like a speed dating, you only have one chance to get that gorgeous girl.
But, if you ain’t good, she won’t give you the second chance because you’re just one of the ten.

Same story here, users have so many choices out there and they are picky, what makes them want to come back to you?
Beautiful layout, matched colors, legible contents, useful information + user-friendly!!

Here’re TEN Usability Heuristics for UI designers or Web people:

1. Visibility of system status
The system allows users keep on top of what’s going on. (feedback / warnings.)
i.e. “You just received a new message from Jade”)

2. Match between system + the real world
The system allows users to use their language ( familiar words, phrases and concepts).
i.e. Flickr has Chinese language support.

3. User control + freedom
Users make mistakes. They need a clear and quick “emergency exit” to escape.
i.e. Support “undo” + ‘redo”

4. Consistency + Standards
Users don’t have time to think if different words, situations, or actions mean the same thing.
i.e. If the link is in “blue” + “underline” on your HOME page, “blue” + “underline” all the links
on the rest of you pages.
If your search bar is on the top right corner of your HOME page, keep it there for every
single web page.

5. Error prevention
Errors.. are evil!
Eliminating your error-prone condition as much as you can. OR, send users an error message / confirmation before they take the next step.
i.e.”STOP: 0x9384933.. please contact your system administrator…”

6. Recognition rather than recall
Users are busy + lazy. Don’t overwhelm their memory loads.
The system should remember users’ information from one action / dialogue to another; provide a clear instruction to direct the users.
i.e. “Remember Me”, “address input”

7. Flexibility + Efficiency of use
Design for both experts and dummies, experienced and inexperienced users. Users can tailor frequent actions.
i.e. upload photos one by one for dummies; multi-upload for experts.

8. Aesthetic + Minimalist Design
Minimizing irrelevant or rarely used information or diminishing their relative visibility. They’re competing with the important information.
i.e. Google Ads. (be compatible with your site at least in terms of the layout and color, for money’s sake)

9. Help Users Recognize + Diagnose + Recover from Errors
Deliver a simple, direct error message in plain language (NO codes) and give a solution.
i.e. User input: “Hotdag”
System spelling check Solution: “Hotdog”

10. Help + Documentation
Provide accessible help and documentation: easy to search, users-centered list, small / short.

Reference: Ten Usability Heuristics by Jakob Nielsen.

(About Jakob Nielsen:


About Jade Liang

This blog is created by Jade Liang - a cross-cultural graphic, web designer. Jade has been spending her life lived in Shanghai, Amsterdam and now in San Francisco pursuing her dreams and interests in design and art. Her daily life starts with a fresh cup of green tea as well as a pile of "strange" ideas. This blog is all about art, design and lifestyle that Jade finds in her everyday life. Thanks for visiting and enjoy!
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