Apologies in advance for the long post. The agency where I work as an
IxD recently started an employee driven lunch and learn series where I
had the opportunity to introduce the idea of Heuristics to the group.
I covered off the basics and background from Nielson on and it was
all very well received. Following the session we opened up the floor
and had some great dialogue on the personification of software and
it's application to Heuristics. As a follow up I have been asked to
present a more 'human friendly' version of Heuristics to the team
using personal traits as a guide for non-expert use. We will most
likely begin to guinea pig this idea into our process next week. I
thought to myself today - 'what a great chance to finally post an
IXDA discussion thread'. I have been reading along for a very long
So I would love any feedback you have to offer. Here is my first pass
at a new take on Heuristics based largely on Nielson's originals as
well as the ISOs ergonomics of human system interactions:
Begin each Heuristic with 'A design should be...'
At all times a person should understand where they are, what actions
are available and how those actions can be performed. Information and
objects should be made visible so that a person does not have to rely
on memory from one screen to another
â¢ Where am I?
â¢ What are my options?
Whenever appropriate, useful feedback should let a person know what
is going on within a reasonable amount of time. If a person initiates
an action, they should receive a clear response.
â¢ What is happening right now?
â¢ Am I getting what I need?
A person should understand the language, words, terminology and
phrases presented to them. Error messages should be expressed in
plain language, precisely indicate the problem and constructively
suggest a solution. Predictable contextual needs and commonly
accepted conventions should be followed.
â¢ Does this make sense to me?
A person should feel supported in the effective and efficient
completion of their task. A person should feel enabled to focus on
the task itself as opposed to the technology chosen to perform that
â¢ Can I focus on my task?
â¢ Do I feel frustrated?
A person should not have to wonder whether different words,
situations, or actions mean the same thing. Additionally a person
should not discover that similar words, situations or actions mean
different things. Establish and maintain conventions.
â¢ Are my expectations accurate?
Despite evident errors in input, a person should be capable of
achieving their intended result with either no or minimal corrective
effort. Damage control, error correction, or error management should
be handled by the technology as opposed to the person using that
technology whenever possible and appropriate.
â¢ Are mistakes easy to fix?
â¢ Does the technology blame me for errors?
A person should feel capable of learning what is required to
accomplish their goals. Help documentation and information should be
easy to locate and search, focused on the task at hand and be only as
long as necessary.
â¢ Do I know where to go for help?
A person should be able to initiate and control the direction and
pace of an interaction until the point at which the goal has been
met. Emergency exits should allow a person to leave any unwanted
state without having to go through an extended process. Support undo
â¢ Am I in control?
â¢ Am I afraid to make mistakes?
A person should be able to modify the interaction and presentation of
information to suit their individual capabilities and needs.
â¢ Can I customize my experience?
The technology should be able to recognize usage patterns and adapt
itself to accommodate the individual. The person should experience an
improvement of quality over time with repeat visits.
â¢ Does the technology know who I am?
â¢ Did the technology remember the way I left things?